Cockburn School’s curriculum intent is to meet the needs of everyone.
This page presents comprehensive information about our curriculum including:

  • detail of the curriculum studied in each subject area for each year group

  • information about our Guided Destination process moving students from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4

  • timetable allocations for Years 7 to 11

  • current exam qualifications studied by our Year 11 students

“The school’s curriculum is broad and balanced. Over recent years the school has reduced the number of vocational courses in Key Stage 4 and adopted a more academic offer. The school prepares students for life in modern Britain effectively” (OFSTED 2014)

If you would like more information about the Cockburn School Curriculum please email
and mark your email ‘For the attention of Mr A M Smith (Assistant Headteacher)’.

Academic Year 2020-21 COVID Curriculum Changes:
Due to COVID we had to make some changes to our normal timetable but we maintained the offer of a broad & balanced curriculum. All students continued to study all subjects as outlined below.  As a result, some units had slightly different running times.

  • Staggered start times & students go straight to Unit 1 instead of form.
  • No breakfast provision
  • Staggered breaks so only two year groups on break at any one time (15mins).
  • Staggered lunch times so only two year groups on lunch at any one time (25 mins).
  • Personalised staff timetables, so some classes had slightly extended lessons to reduce movement around school.
  • Staggered end times.
  • Y11 had Unit 7  Tuesday – Thursday.
  • Extra-curricular timetable on hold and phased in during summer term.
  • Online curriculum available for students who needed to self-isolate (paper versions available for students that do not have access to ICT at home).
  • Collective Worship/ Assemblies held virtually.

As departments planned delivery of learning during national lockdowns/remote learning, some alterations may have been made to the order/sequencing of the curriculum.

Academic Year 2021-22 Return to normal school day.

The curriculum:
Our curriculum zones provide students with exciting learning experiences that are designed to fit the needs of all. Every subject has a destination plotted for students that is rich in the development of knowledge and skills and that leads towards the good qualifications needed to succeed in life.

Click here to download our 2021-22 Curriculum Destination guide that gives information on what is studied in each subject area. This is given to prospective parents/carers at via our Open Evening.

The timetable is a 30 unit week with each lesson 50 minutes long. There is a form period of 20 minutes at the beginning of each morning. Break (20 mins) is between Units 2 and 3 and lunch (35 mins) is between Units 4 and 5. The school day starts at 8:30am and finishes at 2:45pm.

Students are taught in progress groups set by ability according to their Key Stage 2 average scores in the core subjects, English and maths (some Year 10 English classes are taught in mixed ability groups). There is flexibility in the system as students can be moved between progress groups if this is deemed appropriate following the outcomes from regular Key Assessment Points. Such organisation means that personalised learning is more effective and intervention is more efficient. There is a broad balance of traditional and vocational courses, including carefully chosen courses giving students a wide range of opportunities to gain qualifications.

At the end of Year 8, students choose from Guided Destinations blocks, where a mix of GCSEs and Vocational qualifications are on offer. In every case, decisions are ‘guided’ by the subject teachers and data is examined to ensure students are maximising their chances of getting the best possible grades, leading them onto appropriate Post 16 courses. Where appropriate, those students who speak English as an additional language are entered for GCSE in their first language, irrespective of which year they are in. This decision is based on how well students can speak, read and write in their first language.

The curriculum offer is reviewed on a yearly basis to ensure that we continue to provide a personalised curriculum that offers both breadth and academic rigour, whilst maximizing opportunities for progression to Post-16 education.

Curriculum Top Level Overview:
CLICK HERE to view our 2021-22 Curriculum Top Level Overview
where you can see the whole school curriculum on one page.

(Click link above to view full size)

SMSC and Modern British Values:
We are fully committed to improving our students’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) mindfulness and we work tirelessly to develop the Modern British Values (MBV) within all areas of Cockburn School life.

Our students understand the five key values of democracy, rule of law, mutual respect, individual liberty and tolerance, the curriculum as well as enrichment activities support this. Student planners detail all five areas and they are covered at length within the PSHCE/RS curriculum.

Subject teachers all have a role to play in modelling and promoting both SMSC and MBV every day, they do this in a variety of ways. The majority of work is completed within an extensive PSHCE/Citizenship and Religious Studies curriculum but all areas of the school support the strands.

For more information about SMSC and Modern British Values click here to go to our SMSC &MBV page.

Careers Education:
Careers education is delivered through the Citizenship curriculum. In Year 10 and Year 11, all students have the opportunity for an individual careers interview with our careers team. Year 10 also experience the workplace during their fortnight of work experience. A well-resourced careers library is maintained and a careers adviser is available to help students make the right choices. For more detailed information go to

E Learning:
Cockburn School is well resourced with new technologies, including Interactive White Boards in all classrooms, and several computer rooms. We also have the benefit of a wireless network along with a class set of iPads and laptops which further enhance the E Learning opportunities for all. Students benefit from the use of technology during lessons to give a variety of activities and methods for them to engage with the curriculum. This is extended beyond school with our Frog VLE, which gives students access to resources from home.

Subject Areas:
Click the links below for detail of the curriculum studied in each subject area for each year group 2021-22.