Curriculum and assessment

Mission Statement

Cumberland Community School (CCS) is a learning community where our students have high aspirations. We want our students to grow into well-informed, well-balanced and confident citizens. We also want our students to strive for the best grades for their GCSEs because this will help them to maximise their life chances at college, university and beyond. We aim to provide a disciplined, safe environment where children learn effectively and respect each other. 

Curriculum Rationale Overview

Our curriculum aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  • The best GCSE grades possible for students, given their starting points in Y7 or on arrival to the school
  • Resilient, confident and responsible citizens
  • A supportive and inclusive environment
  • Positive destinations for our students beyond school
  • Rich learning experiences centred on mastery of knowledge and skills

We provide a high-quality curriculum and ensure they capture the following principles:

  • The curriculum is content-rich/knowledge-rich
  • The learning objectives are  specific, cumulative, well rounded, preparatory and rigorous
  • The curriculum is standards-aligned. It is suitable for learners at different stages of their learning journey
  • The curriculum supports effective, research-based pedagogy such as formative assessment,  feedback, and metacognition 


Points 1 to 4 below demonstrate how we work to achieve this:

1. Main Principles

The main principles behind our curriculum set out to achieve the following

Allow students to Identify core knowledge and skills to be learned, retained and recalled over time. 

  • This is done primarily by covering the KS3-4 programmes of studies between the Years 7-11. 
  • We make this core knowledge transparent and ensure that it is easily accessible to the students, teachers and parents through the web-based Dynamic Progress Reporting platform (DPR).

Carefully identify components of learning and sequence these across different years, which leads to students being able to access composite knowledge later on in their shared journey.  

  • Important knowledge which we call ‘key learning objectives’ (KOs) is built on progressively, with increased difficulty, throughout the school years. Our long term plans (LTPs) for different subjects demonstrate how we do this.

Our mid-term plans (MTPs) expand upon the learning captured in the LTPs.   

  • Our MTPs are  essentially a unit plan, which typically may last between 2 to 6 weeks. 
  • MTPs support teachers with planning their lessons and highlight important considerations such as tier 2 and 3 vocabularies, typical misconceptions associated with a particular topic, and may include other related content from KS3-4 programmes of studies the LTP may not cover.

Provide a truly personalised curriculum. 

  • This is done through differentiated ‘pathways’ for different groups of learners who join the school with different KS2 outcomes. 
  • Learning can be further personalised for individual students by their class teachers through the DPR ‘personalised Key Objectives’ tab.

Support students with essential skills for memory recall. We help students develop a knowledge and understanding of the National Curriculum by:

  • explicitly identifying knowledge and facts students need to be able to recall,
  •  providing homework linked to memory based knowledge and tracking the progress of this through the DPR memory tab,
  • deliberately revisiting previously taught key learning objectives, for example through lesson starters,
  • teaching students how they can train their minds to be able to recall knowledge to consolidate learning,
  • providing frequent low stakes tests for students to demonstrate their ability to recall.

Create independent learners who can self-regulate.​ 

  • One of the ways we do this is through the DPR ‘resources portal’ where teachers upload resources linked to a specific KO. 
  • These resources can be categorised as ‘learning’ or ‘testing’ resources, encouraging students to take ownership of their learning by embracing the processes of ‘diagnosis, therapy and testing’. This is a process students engage with to self diagnose their misconceptions, re-visit and learn the affected components of learning and finally re-assess their understanding until they get it right.

To develop ‘examination literacy’, application of knowledge, self-regulation, stamina and resilience amongst other important skills required to be successful in the GCSE exams. 

  • This is typically done in Y11 during ‘exams skills’ sessions which take place after school

Develop behaviour and attitudes reflective of responsible citizens, able to read, write and communicate well, to allow them to play a positive role in Society. 

  • For example, our Master Mission  programme develops cultural capital in all our students. There are three milestones to the Master Mission programme of study: ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ and ‘gold’, which is monitored and reported through the DPR.


2. National Curriculum Subjects

Students study the following National Curriculum subjects at CCS:

Curriculum table

We offer a broad and balanced curriculum.

  • All of our students take GCSE English Language, GCSE English Literature, GCSE RE, GCSE Mathematics and (for most students) GCSE Statistics. Studying GCSE Statistics, alongside Mathematics, enables our students to understand real-life applications of Maths. 
  • Additionally, all of our students will complete GCSEs in either triple or combined Sciences. 

We allow our students three option choices in their GCSEs.

The vast majority of our students will choose highly academic subjects which will qualify them to meet the standards required for the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

  • This is 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 and they are given additional time to improve their literacy and/or numeracy skills which will help them to access the full curriculum.

We offer the following subjects as an additional GCSE option choice in year 8:

  • History,
  • Geography,
  • French,
  • Spanish,
  • Business,
  • Computer Science,
  • Art,
  • Drama,
  • Music,
  • Sociology,
  • Design and Technology,
  • Food
  • BTEC Sports
  • BTEC Child Development.

In Year 11, we expect all our students to practise examination skills after school for their different subjects.

  • This is a timely strategy to ensure students develop self-regulation, stamina and resilience among other essential skills required for their GCSEs and beyond

Our mentoring periods are 50 minutes long and we have a clear agenda which takes the following into consideration: 

  • PSHCE programme of study.
  • Developing our students’ cultural capital and resilience through our Master Mission programme incorporating our Big Question assembly schedule.
  • Carousels with a clear programme of study to develop students who are talented in Music, Art and Drama; our carousels are currently open to all year 9 students.


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

We have taken guidance from the ‘Final report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels’.  We appreciate that ‘different forms of assessment may serve different purposes for different people and organisation’ and therefore adopted the following three broad overarching forms of assessment approaches:

Formative Assessments in every lesson Summative Assessments - Three times a year Nationally standardized summative assessments

These will be done in the following ways for all year groups:

AfL techniques:  Teachers deploy various AfL techniques to assess students' understanding of  what has been taught. This includes question and answer and formative verbal and written feedback, including ‘live marking’

DPR as a real-time assessment tool: this will facilitate learning collaboration between students, teachers and parents about the extent of students learning against what has been taught.

Low-stake quizzes: Regular re-cap quizzes to help students recall previously taught key objectives and memory contents. This is done primarily during lesson starters.

Homework: Students will be expected to do homework in order to rehearse core knowledge.

Memory Maps: to aid knowledge recall.

These will be done in the following ways for the following year groups:

(Years 7-9) assessing the expanding domain: We will formally assess our students three times a year to help us understand how much learning they are able to successfully recall.

(Years 10-11): all interim assessments are directly linked to GCSE specifications.

The results from these tests can be used to further 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 Years 7, 8 and 9). They will be used to support our own verdict on student academic progress.
  4. National Y11 Reference Test (If selected)
  5. End of KS4 Examinations

Please see our summative assessment map by following this link.

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 key learning objectives, which are carefully linked and sequenced to both KS3 and 4 programmes of study.

Students are expected to demonstrate a ‘secured’ understanding in these key learning objectives within the course of a year.

Teachers are encouraged to assess students’ learning every lesson through the deployment of various forms of AfL strategies

  • We also expect our teachers to ‘live mark’ students’ work during lessons.

As part of our CST teaching and learning framework, teachers are encouraged to use the DPR when appropriate

  • as a live tool for assessment for learning during lessons via plenaries
  • or whenever they check for understanding throughout the lesson.

We assess students summatively three times a year

  • For Years 7-9, the tests are designed by subject leaders to assess the taught key objectives on an expanding domain basis.
  • For Years 10-11, we expect students to demonstrate their understanding of complex composite knowledge as reflected in GCSE style questions.

Students and parents receive real-time assessment judgements on the extent of student learning through DPR

  • These judgments tend to change regularly and therefore we encourage parents to login to DPR frequently and have conversations with their child about their progress.
  • During parents’ evening, we provide the child’s DPR in printed form, which reflects the progress made by students at that specific time.

For all students, we record and report a judgement on the key learning objectives which we colour code to mean the following:Screenshot 2021 09 09 at 16.04.44

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

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


On/Off Track

The professional judgement made by teachers indicating if the student is on/off track against what they are expected to learn


Years 7, 8 and 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 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 and 11

If a child makes the expected progress between Year 7 and Year 11, it will look something like this:

Students’ starting points at KS2, upon entry to CCS

Allocated pathway(s) for the student

Expected Year 11 GCSE grades

Progress significantly above the expected level of attainment at KS2

X 9
A 7, 8, 9
Progress the same as the expected level of attainment at KS2 B

5, 6

Progress below the expected level of attainment at KS2 C 3, 4
Progress significantly below the expected level of attainment at KS2 D 1, 2
S Up to 1

4. How we provide Careers Education Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) to our students

How we provide careers information, advice and guidance to our students:

Our Careers  and Aspirations Manager  facilitates a drop-in session as well as face-to-face interviews for students about their career needs​. 

  • All of our Year 11 students receive at least one face-to-face impartial careers information and guidance interview by external careers officers
  • Students who require additional follow up interviews receive more

We organise a week’s work experience for our Year 10 students and our Year 11 students take part in a careers fair organised by our Careers  and Aspirations Manager.

  • Approximately 25 providers consisting of colleges, sixth forms, universities and apprenticeship providers attend the annual careers fair each year

Our Careers  and Aspirations Manager meets with parents regularly and we offer parents timely information to help students make informed decisions about post-16 education.

Careers  and Aspirations Manager promotes careers education learning in the school by working closely with educational providers and employers.

  • Our students regularly visit educational establishments and places of work to broaden their understanding

We also promote ‘employability and university skills’ and deliberately teach our students how to be polite, respectful, organised and confident individuals. 

We have a clear programme of studies to support our students to successfully attend prestigious colleges.