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Hatcham College

Curriculum Principles & Overview

Curriculum Principles & Overview

curriculum overview

The curriculum offered at Hatcham College is fundamental to our vision of the kind of young person we wish to leave us and to our aspiration to be a school that offers the very best academic education to our local community. While the curriculum predominantly comprises the taught curriculum that takes place within lessons, it also encompasses the enrichment offer and the culture of the school - the way our College is structured, the high expectations we have of young people and overall the climate within the College.

What we offer

Hatcham College offers a broad and balanced traditional academic curriculum that leads students towards high achievement in GCSEs and A-levels, ensuring a pathway to university, including Russell Group institutions and Oxbridge. We have a long tradition of valuing aspiration and achievement, and our aim is that all our children and young people are able to achieve their full potential personally, academically and socially.

For more information on the Hatcham College curriculum, please contact Vice Principal James Heafield via the main Hatcham email address: hreception@haaf.org.uk  

Core Learning

We believe that it is essential that all children acquire mastery of reading, writing and mathematics in order to be successful in their education and in life. This is a core principle in the design of our curriculum, accounting for a weighting of timetabled time towards these subjects. The foundations of successful learning also lie in the successful acquisition of knowledge, where knowledge is not only knowing things but knowing how to do things. Therefore, we place great emphasis on the engagement of young people in discrete academic disciplines and further build cultural capital.

Modern Foreign Languages

We balance tradition with evidence-based innovation and preparation for the modern world. Most children joining us in Year 7 will be placed in groups to study either French or Spanish. However, those children at our two primaries who have enjoyed an immersive second language experience with some lessons and routines delivered in German, study German as their modern foreign language subject at Key Stage 3 on an accelerated German curriculum. Students who have an aptitude for languages have the opportunity to study a second language, including Latin, from Year 8.


Music has always flourished at Hatcham and we are continually moving from strength to strength and pushing our standards ever higher. Maintaining high standards generates the feeling that high achievement is the norm and raises the self-esteem of students involved, and this is celebrated by their peers. We deliver a specifically designed Band Project for all students at Key Stage 3 that gives them the opportunity to learn instrumental skills on guitar, bass, drums, keys and vocals before forming bands and experiencing the joy of making music together and honing their ensemble skills. 

 The Music Department continually strives to raise the profile of music within the College through weekly extended curricular clubs run by members of staff and visiting professional musicians that offer all students the chance to get involved. These include three different choirs, Symphony Orchestras, Jazz Band, String Ensemble and Samba. These are supported by regular performance opportunities which display student excellence and generate excitement and enthusiasm, both within and outside school. 

Character Curriculum

Finally, we aim for all our pupils to leave school equipped to take their place as successful members of the community they join as adults. Our curriculum, through formal College occasions such as Deputation Day and Founder’s Day, through the leadership opportunities, rewards and competition of the House system, through enrichment activities such as debating, sport, music and drama, through celebrations such as music concerts at Southwark Cathedral, through challenges such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, and through international visits, will also prepare young people with the character and personal attributes to become successful well-rounded adults in both the local, national and global communities

Transition from Year 6 to Year 7

Those pupils who are with us from 3 – 18 experience a seamless curriculum designed to ensure that every pupil makes optimal progress each year. More than half of our Year 7 population joins us from other primary schools and so our curriculum for pupils in Year 7 and throughout Key Stage 3 concentrates on ensuring no pupil is disadvantaged by their previous experience.

Key Stage 3  Years 7-9

We build on our knowledge of the primary phase to ensure that we offer an effective transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3, developing pupils in both literacy and numeracy, whatever primary school they attended. Students follow a three-year Key Stage 3 curriculum in balanced, mixed-ability groups for foundation subjects and in ability groups for the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science.

Regular assessments are used to track and monitor student progress and achievement on the Haberdashers' Assessment Framework. These are the same assessments taken in other schools in our Federation allowing us to compare every child’s progress against the very large cohort of children of the same age.

Physical Education lessons are delivered once a week at our Nunhead playing fields and Personal, Social, Health & Careers Education (PSHCE) is compulsory, taught during regular form time and on Knowledge Days throughout the year when we collapse the timetable.

Key Stage 4 - Year 10 and 11

Students follow a two-year Key Stage 4 curriculum. The core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science are compulsory, with students grouped by ability. In addition, students choose four option subjects to ensure breadth and balance in their learning.

In making subject choices students are encouraged to consider their plans for post-16 learning and beyond. While the vast majority opt for traditional academic subjects, we offer a range of curriculum pathways from traditional GCSE and GCE courses through to BTEC.

Physical Education lessons are delivered once a week at our Nunhead playing fields, and Personal, Social, Health & Careers Education (PSHCE) is compulsory, taught on Knowledge Days throughout the year when we collapse the timetable.

View our Key Stage 4 (GCSE) Subject Options Booklet 

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