At Penwortham Priory Academy the curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning from each key stage, provide challenging learning experiences that require pupils to think hard, allow them to develop leadership and organisational skills and be resilient, learners with initiative who have excellent communication skills and are ready to face the challenges beyond school. High quality academic and pastoral guidance enables this and we provide subject choices that support pupils’ learning and progression, and enable them to work towards achieving their goals. The curriculum remains as broad as possible for as long as possible. Pupils study a strong academic core of subjects through the EBacc.

There is a high focus on developing the character and culture of the pupils to be positive, committed individuals willing to evolve, and show kindness and respect to all.

Knowledge is at the heart of our curriculum and underpins our approach because we are all empowered by knowing things and being able to apply what we have learnt in varied and new situations. We believe that pupils deserve to know the detail of what they will learn, how this links to the schema of the subject they’re studying and how this in turn links to other subjects so they have a broader understanding of how the world works. The knowledge we want pupils to acquire is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently and we use strategies such as spaced retrieval practice, low-stakes testing and plenty of repeated practice for automatic responses and fluency to ensure that concepts are understood, knowledge that has been taught is remembered and it is shown through the skill to apply it to specific situations in and beyond school. We put emphasis on the acquisition and use of a broad vocabulary and facilitate this through the reading of fiction and non-fiction texts in various scenarios. 

In addition to the diverse and rich opportunities offered through the teaching, we value opportunities to take pupils out on trips and visits to help put the learning into context, expose them to experiences they might not otherwise have and encourage them to learn about the local, national and international communities of which they are a part.

For further information regarding the curriculum at Priory please email Mrs Cowell (Vice Principal)


At Penwortham Priory Academy the curriculum is split into two key stages, Key Stage 3 – Year 7, 8 & 9, and Key Stage 4 – Year 10 & 11. We have planned and sequenced the curriculum so that pupils cumulatively build skills and knowledge in each subject over time and specialise only when necessary. 


At Key Stage 3, all pupils study: 

English History Design Technology
Mathematics Geography Food Preparation and Nutrition
Science RE Learning for Life Road Map Lessons (PSHE)
French Art Learning for Life Days (PSHE)
Computing Music  
PE Drama  

We adhere to the Key Stage 3 national curriculum which sets out the programmes of study for all subjects.  

When pupils arrive with us in Year 7 we allocate them to a group with mixed prior attainment and all their lessons remain with this group. We have found many positives in this approach. 

At the end of Year 9, pupils opt for the suite of subjects that they will follow through to the end of Year 11.  

At Key Stage 4, pupils study:  

All Pupils Study These Subjects Options subjects (chosen in Year 9 and begun in Year 10)
English Language  French  Computer Science 
English Literature Geography ICT - Digital Information Technology
Mathematics History Child Development
Science (trilogy award) Sport Biology
RE/Citizenship Graphic Design Chemistry
PE Engineering Physics
Learning for Life Road Map Lessons (PSHE) Food Preparation and Nutrition Astronomy
(can be studied extra-curricular)
(Learning for Life Days)(PSHE) Art & Design Further Mathematics
(can be studied extra-curricular)
  BTec Performing Arts (Acting & Dance) Music
(can also be studied extra-curricular)
  RE Business & Enterprise
  Physical Education  

Key Stage 4 is rigorous and focuses on the high uptake of Ebacc subjects (Sciences, Languages and Humanities). Other options are relevant to major employers in the county including BAE Systems, Leyland Trucks, Westinghouse Nuclear Fuels, Rolls Royce and the shale gas industry.  

Key Stage 3 Curriculum Map

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Map

We promote ‘quality first teaching’ for all, asking that teachers plan thoroughly, pitch challenge high and scaffold learning so that all pupils can aim for excellence irrespective of their starting point. Our CPD programme is focussed on the areas of developing the quality of teaching at a whole school, subject and individual level to ensure that impact on pupil outcomes is key.  

Departments work collaboratively on curriculum development and progression, considering both pedagogy and assessment. Annually we also have a focussed day where all middle leaders collaborate on curriculum development for the coming year.  

Considerable thought, planning and time is devoted to consideration of the content and sequencing of the curriculum in each subject. Strong leadership from every subject leader ensures that relevant knowledge, skills and concepts are incorporated from Year 7 onwards, and subsequent years build on prior teaching and learning.  

Each subject has considered the rationale for the inclusion of content and the sequencing of this, then developed a long-term plan (LTP) that maps out their delivery of content from Year 7 to 11. This is shared with pupils. The LTP is broken down into schemes of learning (SOL) each underpinned by 'BIG’ questions that initiate thought and discussion and act as a hook from which to ‘hang’ other, feeder questions to explore.  Staff have considerable control in curriculum decision-making through a trusting relationship with senior leaders. Middle leaders regularly meet with senior leaders to review the curriculum and its impact.  

Key Stage 3 (KS3) 

KS3 pupils predominantly work in mixed attainment sets, an approach chosen to ensure that there are no assumptions about a child’s ability and that all aspects of the curriculum are available to all pupils. No pupils are withdrawn from subjects such as French. We pitch lessons for high challenge and scaffold learning to ensure that pupils with lower prior attainment can access the learning.

Pupils receive teaching in line with the National Curriculum and additionally have reading / literacy lessons within their English timetable. Each year, we have a small number of pupils who access a reading intervention programme at this time delivered by the learning support department.  

Reading for pleasure is supported by access to the school library and additionally through our ‘Everybody Reading’ initiative where pupils read a class reader with their form tutor twice a week. More information about this is available here

SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) and FBV (Fundamental British Values) of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths, beliefs and points of view, are embedded into the curriculum and delivered through all subjects. Information about this is in pupil planners and displayed around school.

In Y9 pupils make their option choices from the subjects displayed in the table above. To support pupils in making informed and correct option choices, each pupil meets with their head of year and the Assistant Vice Principal in charge of the options process. Final option choices are arrived at, after this consultation and the Yr 9 Parents and Options Evening. 

Key Stage 4 (KS4) 

The option choices made at the end of Year 9 ensure all pupils continue to follow a broad and balanced curriculum that is suited to their individual needs. Pupils study a sensible number of qualifications, thereby allowing appropriate curriculum time to be devoted to all subject areas. 

At Key Stage 4, pupils work towards predominantly GCSE qualifications. We offer a traditional curriculum based on the core subjects, which provides every pupil the opportunity to study a Modern Foreign Language and Geography or History as part of our commitment to EBacc (English Baccalaureate).  

We also offer a range of other approved high value 14-16 qualifications, at GCSE, BTec and Technical Award, that meet the destination profiles of our pupils, and broaden the curriculum and pathways available. Details of these can be found in the table above and in the Options Booklet. You can read more about Year 9 Options here.

In line with National Curriculum requirements, all pupils have some curriculum time devoted to non-examinable subjects PE, PSHE, RE.  

Curriculum Impact

The success of our curriculum is measured primarily but not exclusively by pupils’ performance across a range of measures. These include the headline measures of progress and attainment, progress against pupils nationally from similar starting points and their destinations post-16. 


Using a variety of formative and summative assessments, we measure the success of our curriculum throughout Year 7 – 11. These assessments are designed thoughtfully to measure progress and shape future learning. Moderation across teachers in a department is a matter of routine. 


We assess the impact of our curriculum through  


  • pupil outcomes at both KS3 and KS4. See more on this here 
  • governor meetings 
  • pupil, staff and parent surveys 
  • quality assurance of the work in pupil books 
  • curriculum review meetings with leaders 
  • attendance data 
  • staff response to CPD input 




All pupils study personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons in a series of whole school Learning for Life days. Sex and relationship education is delivered predominantly through this programme with topics such as ‘positive relationships’, ‘consent’ and ‘sexual health’; aspects of this are also covered in Science and RE. Learning for Life lessons also impact on pupils’ understanding of British values as an aspect of their personal development and this fundamental understanding of citizenship is also found throughout the curriculum and extra-curricular activities.  

Careers Guidance 

All pupils in all year groups receive careers guidance. We have access to a part time school careers adviser. Pupils can self-refer for an appointment and equally, staff can refer pupils. There are many forms of careers advice open to pupils throughout the school year e.g. guest speakers, assemblies, 1:1 appointments prior to choosing options, careers fayres, etc.  

Learning for Life Road Map Lessons

Each afternoon pupils are engaged in a twenty minute Learning for Life lesson or activity to develop skills in leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication (LORIC). These include a weekly assembly with key messages and celebrations of academic and pastoral achievement, Everybody Reading sessions, discussion topics, Year 11 additional numeracy and literacy support.  

By engaging in LORIC activities, pupils can work towards PiXL Edge Awards, nationally recognised achievements which provide valuable evidence of LORIC skills to colleges, universities and employers. 

More information regarding Everybody Reading can be found on the Everybody's Reading page.


Please visit Reading @ Priory.


English Baccalaureate (EBacc) at Penwortham Priory Academy  

All pupils at Priory study the following core subjects:

  • English language and English literature  
  • Maths  
  • Science – either combined science (trilogy) or three single separate sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) if chosen as an option  
  • In addition, all pupils will have to choose either French, Geography or History  

Penwortham Priory Academy and the Department for Education believes choosing the Ebacc suite of subjects keeps the maximum number of options open for all pupils. We therefore strongly recommend that all pupils study French and choose either Geography or History as two of their three choices.  

What is the EBacc?  

The EBacc is not a qualification in its own right – it’s a combination of GCSE subjects, including a language, that offer an important range of knowledge and skills to young people.  

EBacc Future-Proofs Your Child’s Prospects  

While your child may not have decided on their future career path yet, choosing the EBacc at GCSE gives them access to a full range of employment options when they leave secondary school and the broad knowledge that employers are looking for. If they are thinking of going to university, the EBacc is also recommended by Britain’s most prestigious universities.  

Languages Give Young People A Competitive Edge  

Languages are an important part of the EBacc. Studying a foreign language can be extremely rewarding and exciting. They provide an insight into other cultures and can open the door to travel and employment opportunities. They can also broaden pupils’ horizons, helping them flourish in new environments. If your child finds languages difficult, don’t forget that they will have been studying them for much less time than their other subjects and, while it can be a challenge, learning a language will greatly enhance their future opportunities. What’s more, we know that employers value languages, as they are increasingly important to make sure we can compete in the global market. Because of this, languages are increasingly becoming a requirement for many graduate schemes.  

Choosing the EBacc at Penwortham Priory Academy  

To choose the EBacc at Priory, your son/daughter must simply choose GCSE French and either GCSE History or Geography. They then have one further option choice where they can choose any option subject. 

Priory’s EBacc Ambition Policy Statement

Pupil Destinations

(Education and employment after Key Stage 4 for 2021 leavers)

This data is for pupils who completed Key Stage 4 in 2021, which is the most recent data available.

Pupils staying in education or employment


Pupils staying in education or employment for at least two terms after Key Stage 4


Total number of pupils included in destination measures


Pupils staying in education


Pupils staying in education for at least two terms after Key Stage 4


Further education college or other further education provider


School sixth forms


Sixth form colleges


Other education destinations



Pupils in apprenticeships


Pupils staying in apprenticeships for at least six months after Key Stage 4



Pupils staying in employment


Pupils staying in employment for at least two terms after Key Stage 4



Pupils not counted as staying in education or employment


Pupils not staying in education or employment for at least two terms after Key Stage 4


Destination unknown