Curriculum and Assessment

Our curriculum aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  • outstanding grades

  • resilient, confident and responsible citizens

  • a supportive and inclusive environment

  • positive destinations for our students beyond our school.

Further information on our curriculum can be obtained here:

CST curriculum approach

The steps 1 to 4 below demonstrate how we achieve this:

1. How much progress do we expect from our students?

  • We provide judgements for all students against key learning objectives. These objectives are designed to be challenging and they reflect the knowledge and skills required for each student to make progress.
  • Our reports are both meaningful and helpful to parents and students because they clearly demonstrate how much progress students are making and what else they need to do in order to improve.
  • Students are allocated a pathway dependent on their starting point at the school. This is usually determined by the KS2 attainment.
  • If students demonstrate secure understanding on all of their key learning objectives before the end of the academic year, they will be allocated a new, more challenging target so that they achieve their very best.
  • If a child makes the expected progress between Year 7 and Year 11, it will look like this:

Students’ starting points at KS2, upon entry to TCS

Allocated pathway(s) for the student

Expected Year 11 GCSE grades linked to the pathway(s)

Old grade comparator (guidance only)

Progress significantly above the expected level of attainment at KS2


7, 8, 9

A to A*

Progress the same as the expected level of attainment at KS2


5, 6

C1 to B

Progress below the expected level of attainment at KS2



E1 to C2

Progress significantly below the expected level of attainment at KS2



G to E2


Video 1: New GCSE Grades Explained in 3 Minutes


2. What are the main principles behind our curriculum?

  • To identify core knowledge and skills to be learnt, retained and recalled over time
  • To facilitate opportunities for ‘mastery learning’ and encourage depth before breadth
  • To create independent learners who can self-regulate
  • To help students be able to retrieve critical learning information by deploying the process of diagnosis, therapy and testing (DTT) in our teaching
  • To help students connect different strands of learning together
  • To develop ‘examination literacy’ and the ‘application’ of knowledge
  • To develop behaviour and attitude reflective of responsible citizens, able to read, write and communicate well, to allow them to play a positive role in British life.

3. What do students learn at TCS?

The Cumberland School curriculum

  • We offer a broad and balanced curriculum. All of our students take GCSE English Language, GCSE English Literature, GCSE RE, GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Statistics. Additionally, all of our students will be doing GCSEs in either single or combined Sciences.
  • We allow our students three option choices in their GCSEs in Year 8, with the exception of a few students who have two choices as they require more support in English and/or Mathematics.
  • The vast majority of our students will choose highly academic subjects which will qualify them to meet the standard required for the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), a measure that has been identified to ensure students are prepared for academic careers. We do not believe that this route is suitable for all our students. Some students will choose two options only and they are given additional time to improve their literacy and/or numeracy skills which will help them to access the full curriculum.
  • These are the following subjects we offer as an additional option choice in Year 8: GCSEs in History, Geography, French, Spanish, Business, Computer Science, Art, Drama, Music, Sociology, Food, PE and BTEC PE.
  • The ability to use a computer effectively is an essential life skill. Almost every career in today’s world requires computer skills and Internet skills. for all our students. All students study Computer Science in KS3 and ICT skills will be delivered through all subject areas in KS4 and as an option.
  • In Year 11, we expect all our students to practise examination skills after school for their different subjects.
  • We develop our students’ cultural capital and resilience through our excellent Master Mission programme incorporating our Big Question assembly schedule.


4. How do we assess and report what our students learn?

Dynamic Progress Reporting FAQ

  • Our curriculum sets out a clear, differentiated learning journey for students with different starting points at KS2. For each subject and for each Year group, we have carefully identified approximately 10 key learning objectives, which are carefully linked to the new national curriculum for GCSE grades 1-9.
  • Students are expected to demonstrate a ‘secured’ understanding in these areas within the course of a year.
  • All teachers are required to report four times a year.
  • Students and parents receive real time judgements on the extent of student learning through our bespoke Dynamic Progress Reporting online application, after each interim assessment.


We assess our students in the following ways:

Formative Assessment

Summative assessments

Nationally standardised summative assessments

These will be done the following ways:

  1. In class: teachers are responsible for formative verbal and written feedback
  2. DPR: this will facilitate learning collaboration between students, teachers and parents about how the students are learning against expected standards
  3. Homework: Students will be expected to do homework based on poorly learnt topics

Interim Retrieval Practice:

We will formally assess our students four times a year to help us assess how much learning they are able to successfully recall. The results from these tests can be used to inform the DPR judgements



These include:

  1. New Group Reading Test (NGRT) for Y7, 8 and 9
  2. GL Pass Tests-All years. A nationally recognised, robust self-evaluation system for the standardised measurement of pupil attitudes
  3. GL Progress Tests-nationally benchmarked Progress Test Series for Math, Eng and Sci (for the Years 7, 8 and 9). They will be used to support our own verdict on student academic progress.
  4. Year 7 national entry test
  5. National Year 11 Reference Test (If selected)
  6. End of KS4 examinations


For all students we record and report a judgement on the key learning objectives which we colour code to mean the following:


NOT ASSESSED: This means the teacher has not yet assessed the understanding of the learning objective


DEVELOPING: This means your child has shown some understanding of the learning objective


CONSOLIDATING: This means your child has shown good understanding of the learning objective, but they need to practise more to secure their understanding


SECURED: This means your child has shown excellent understanding of the learning objective


The table below shows what we record and report:

What we collect

What they mean

How we show progress

For which year group?


Attitude Towards Learning

1 = Outstanding;
2 = Good;
RI = Requires Improvement;
N/A = Not Applicable



Self Regulation

The extent to which students organise themselves without intervention from teachers or adults


On/Off Track

Professional judgement made by teachers indicating if the student is on/off track to achieve their end of KS4 target


Years 7, 8, 9



Current Grade: This is the grade your child has achieved from a recent test

Projected Grade: This is our best estimate, using the professional judgment of the teacher, of what your child will achieve at the end of the KS4 course.  It is based on how well they are progressing at the moment.  

We subdivide grades thus:

7a: highly secure
7b: secure
7c: insecure

Years 10, 11


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