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Dept: Upper School

Aims and Ethos

The Upper School prioritises learners' well-being, empowering each of our young people to become active members of society at their own level. 

Our approach to supporting our learners is grounded in the knowledge that every interaction we share provides the foundations for personal, social and academic growth.  

As a team committed to developing our young people, we: 

  • support learners to access and contribute to the world around them with an emphasis on kindness and community spirit;
  • prioritise the teaching of core life skills with a focus on building a future of independence;
  • teach about healthy relationships, physical and emotional well-being, developing the socio-emotional resilience to manage their responses to differing social contexts;
  • empower learners to access the knowledge and qualifications most relevant to them. 

Curriculum: Form Time 

In the Upper School, learners start each day in their form classes, which are streamed according to their level of social and emotional development.  These classes combine Year 10 and 11 students, providing each Year 10 cohort with Year 11 role models and enabling them to witness first-hand the process of preparing for their move to post-16 provision; this is incredibly successful, and our learners typically reach the end of Key Stage 4 excited to be taking their next step into adulthood.  

In their form classes, our young people study PSD (Personal, Social Development), Life Skills and Humanities. 

PSD Humanities

Physical and Mental Well-being: 

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-care, support and safety
  • Managing feelings   
  • Healthy eating
  • Mental health and emotional well-being
  • Practical health and hygiene 
  • Puberty and physical development
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Managing emergencies

Managing Social Relationships:

  • Social communication 
  • Relationships and sex education 
  • Parenthood
  • Managing pressure
  • Keeping safe online
  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Body image and media representations


  • Cooking
  • Travel training
  • Managing money 
  • Careers
  • Personal safety 
  • Politics and democracy
  • Preparation for work

Religious Studies: 

  • Places of worship
  • Religious festivals 
  • Controversial issues


  • Map-reading
  • The physical and human geography of the UK
  • The world and continents 
  • The weather and the water system
  • Responding to a major tectonic event
  • Global warming and climate change
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Tourism


  • Pre- and ancient history
  • The Middle Ages
  • Colonisation, the slave trade and apartheid
  • WW1 and 2 (including the welfare state and NHS)
  • Understanding the difference between the present and the past
  • Using a range of sources to learn about the past




By the end of their time with us, learners achieve the following qualifications at the appropriate level for them:

Level  PSD Humanities
Working Towards Entry Level 1 AQA Unit Awards AQA Unit Awards
Entry Level 1 AQA Unit Awards AQA Unit Awards
Entry Level 2 WJEC Certificate in Personal Social Development WJEC Entry Pathways Award in Humanities
Entry Level 3

WJEC Certificate in Personal Social Development


WJEC Entry Pathways Award in Humanities
Level 1 and 2

BTEC Personal Growth and Well-being

Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate 




Curriculum: English and Maths 

Year 10 and 11 pupils benefit from forty-five minutes of English and Maths daily.  Learners are streamed for these lessons to allow for targeted instruction of the core functional skills identified in the school's internal curriculum and assessment system (STapps); this is aligned with Pearson's Functional Skills qualifications for English and Maths, which we use to accredit learners working from Entry Level 1 to Level 2.  Those working towards Entry Level 1 are accredited against the AQA Unit Awards focusing on those skills which will have the greatest impact on their future independence.

Curriculum: Experience of Work

During the course of their two years in the Upper School, learners will have the opportunity to complete work experience at the Coffee on the Common or engage in our Barista programme in collaboration with Smith's Coffee. They will visit and interact with a range of targeted employers and places of work to broaden their understanding of: 

  • the rights and responsibilities of employers;
  • the rights and responsibilities of employees;
  • health and safety in the workplace;
  • application and interview processes.

Our learners benefit from collaborative partnerships and engagement with a range of local and national employers, including (but not limited to): 

  • Warner Brothers
  • Smith's Coffee
  • Barclays Bank 
  • HSBC
  • Asda
  • Coffee on the Common, Redbourn
  • Redbourn Care Home 
  • Redbourn Garden Centre

By the end of Year 11, all learners will have completed a preparation for work unit at a level that inspires and challenges them. 

College and Transition 

Preparation for college occurs from the moment students enter the Upper School, as they observe their peers’ experiences and talk with them about their college pathways. This becomes more focused in Year 11 when visits to colleges become a regular occurrence to familiarise learners with the layout, support and structures that underpin college life.  Alongside this, college tutors and representatives visit classes and EHCP reviews, talking to our learners and getting to know them and their needs. 

This provides learners with a crucial support network of trusted staff as they transition to post-16 provision, ensuring that this is an exciting next step to be approached with confidence, joy and anticipation.

Travel Training

A focus on supporting our young people to plan journeys and use public transport is integrated within the PSD curriculum, which prioritises developing learners' independence within the community.

You can apply for a free bus pass through the country council website here.