Key Stage 3 curriculum

“English, Maths, Science, PE, and languages are also delivered as separate subjects in addition to the projects to reinforce the learning.”

In Project Based Learning (PBL) students study English, History, Geography, ICT, RE and Citizenship through themes, allowing them to make valuable links between subjects and ensuring a smooth transition from KS2.

English, Maths, Science, PE, and languages are also delivered as separate subjects in addition to the projects to reinforce the learning. The subjects are taught by a specialist team of learning and personal coaches who plan together to ensure that knowledge and skills are built upon across subjects and throughout the KS3 experience.

Projects are designed to meet the needs of the National Curriculum and to be creative and academic, whilst also preparing students with the necessary life and study skills required to ensure a smooth transition into KS4 and beyond. PBL provides a fantastic stepping stone from the wrap-around primary school setting to the larger scale secondary setting as students are challenged academically and supported pastorally through the PBL Team.

The supportive environment allows students to explore a range of learning experiences and trail new ways of thinking and working. They are encouraged to learn from their mistakes and take risks, making alterations or trying new methods in order to improve outcomes. The use of ICT is integral to the delivery and students use technology widely to aid their learning. Studio West has an interactive central area for team teaching and breakout work and the PBL Resource Centre will host students weekly to develop their enjoyment of reading.

Year 7

In Year 7 students will study the period from the Roman Empire through to the WW1, developing source analysis skills and the ability to consider historical significance.

In Geography they will develop map and atlas skills, as well as graph analysis and comparative writing skills while studying topics on South America and Extreme Environments.

In RE students are taught the importance of tolerance by comparing a number of religions and creation theories.

Students have the opportunity to use a range of programs in ICT and Computer Science such as Presentation, Word Processing and Spreadsheet software as well as image editing software such as Photoshop. Students will also develop their understanding of programming through programs like Scratch and Kodu. They are taught the importance of e-safety both at school and beyond throughout the course.

In Citizenship they have the opportunity to develop group work skills to raise money for charity through the Christmas Faire as well as learning about the political system in the UK and the countries of the Commonwealth.

All students in Year 7 have the opportunity to participate in a number of enrichment activities including a residential trip to an outdoor activity centre.

In Maths students build upon the skills they learnt at KS2 and develop understanding in new areas such as algebra. They also continue to develop their mastery, problem solving, reasoning and fluency skills.

Year 8

In Year 8, teaching and learning in PBL builds on the previous year and extends learning by developing students' abilities to rationalise, make judgements and justify their opinions using evidence.

In History students will study Victorian Britain and WW2, developing their ability to build balanced historical arguments in response to sources.

In Geography they consider the future of the planet, tectonic hazards and the geography of conflict, augmenting their analytical skills and researching topical events.

In RE further religions will be studied and compared and links will be made to religious beliefs and the environment.

ICT and Programming introduced in Year 7 is developed through the use of Photoshop, Presentation, Word Processing and Spreadsheet Software as well as writing code using languages such as Python or C#, ensuring that they are producing work against success criteria and suitable for the audience and purpose specified.

Year 8 students will also participate in fundraising for the Christmas Fair in Citizenship and will be taught about the justice system in the UK and the operation of Parliament.

At the end of Year 8 students PBL studies will be celebrated through a graduation ceremony where students will be awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze recognition based on their achievements throughout their time in Year 7 and Year 8.

In Maths students develop their understanding of mathematical concepts and understanding allowing them to further their mastery, problem solving, reasoning and fluency skills.


In English students extend their reading writing skills in response to a number of set texts, which are the focus of the year groups project based learning. The texts aim to prepare students for the challenges of GCSE and expose them to a range of authors and genres from different periods.

Year 7

  • Term 1: Morpurgo’s War Horse

  • Term 2: Shakespeare’s The Tempest

  • Term 3: Stephenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Year 8

  • Term 1: Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

  • Term 2: Shakespeare’s Hamlet

  • Term 3: Beowulf


At Studio West we are committed to developing students’ awareness and understanding of the world and to attaining strong life-long linguistic skills.


When we start MFL in year 7, the focus is on developing confidence when speaking another language. In lessons, students are given many opportunities to practise, with regular independent learning tasks set to reinforce key vocabulary and concepts. We contribute to project-based learning where possible, discussing topics and themes relating to the core texts. Students gradually become more confident and adept at presenting themselves and their ideas. Listening, reading and writing skills are developed gradually throughout key stage 3.


By the end of year 8, students can use a range of tenses to describe and discuss events and opinions. An opportunity to practise all skills is given in the French or Spanish trip in the summer term.


In Music, KS3 students are given the opportunity to perform, compose and listen to a range of music from different times, places and cultures. They are asked to consider the use of the elements of music and the purpose of different styles, genres and traditions of music when both discussing and creating their own music.

In Year 7, students embrace project based learning by studying and performing the music associated with ‘War Horse’, ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. They look at how the elements of music are used by composers to create mood, incidental music, classical music, programme music, folk music and world music. They compose through notation and also embrace the use of music technology in creating their own music. They complete understanding music theory assessments based on the use of the elements in the topics they have studied.

In Year 8 look, students continue the project based learning theme through the study and performances of Music associated with ‘Narnia’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Beowulf’. They look at how the elements of music are used by composers to create leitmotifs, the influence of spirituals and blues music, improvisation, world music and soundtracks. They compose through notation and also embrace the use of music technology in creating their own music. They complete understanding music theory assessments based on the use of the elements in the topics they have studied.


The Technology department will try and cover a wide range of skills at Key Stage 3 and 4.

Year 7

  • Textiles: Ugly doll project

  • Design: Kite design and make

  • Graphics: Pop up card

Project based learning will link with English and Art to produce a War Horse figure.

Year 8

  • Resistant materials: Lion, witch and wardrobe desk tidy

  • Mechanical toy project

  • Graphics project that combines Lego and Beowulf

Project based learning will cover resistant materials as the pupils will make a Lion’s head 

from wood. They will link to Art and English to complete the project.


Our vision is to develop a learning environment which ensures employment opportunities are aligned to progression routes through the Studio West curriculum programme.

Our approach offers seamless pathways at Pre 16 and Post 16 providing for all levels of learning. We provide clear progression routes into Higher Education and therefore our partner university (Northumbria) provide pathways to foundation and undergraduate degree programmes for Studio West students.

We demonstrate how 11-19 can be a coherent phase of learning for full time students looking for continuous pathways into employment, further or higher education at different entry levels.

Pastoral Support at Studio West

We pride ourselves on the support delivered by our Personal Coach Team which is led by Miss Thompson. The team give help and support to students as well as providing information, advice and guidance. We always work in close partnership with Learning Coaches, parents/carers and community projects and services.

Our aim is to identify any concerns or issues at the earliest possible opportunity and remove any barriers to learning which may be preventing our students from reaching their potential. We pride ourselves in knowing our young people well and working alongside the teaching and support staff we aim to develop positive relationships with them and their families. We believe in “parents as partners” and will strive to maintain a co-operative relationship with them. We respond as quickly as possible to any issues and ensure that difficulties are discussed and resolved in the best possible way.

The Personal Coach team includes the school’s SENCO, Attendance Officer, and School Nurse. Offers help and support in the following areas:

  • Behaviour support/management

  • Emotional help

  • Academic support including intervention work, extended work experience specialised timetables and programmes

  • Restorative Approaches

  • Peer mediation

  • Links to specialist external agencies when needed

  • Motivational groups

  • Achieve 3000 – Literacy support programme

  • Reading group

  • Interventions for handwriting and reading

Project Based Learning

Enquiry and enterprise-based projects are at the heart of the learning and form between 8 to 28% of the timetable for Post 16 learners depending on their individual needs and abilities and over 50% of the curriculum time for Pre 16 learners.

Projects at Post 16 bring to life the core subjects and students' occupational choices, developed with the work placement providers to maximise and embed learning opportunities.

At Pre 16 students get the opportunity to work individually, in small groups or in teams as the projects are developed by local employers, subject specialists, local community groups and other organisations. The projects are planned, structured, differentiated, promoting practical, multi-disciplinary collaborative outcomes, which consider issues relevant to our community.

Dress Code

Students are expected to dress smartly as they are working towards apprenticeships, higher education or work. All students are expected to wear branded Studio West casual business wear at all times. It is the outward face we present to the community, and we expect students to wear sensible and appropriate dress without fashion accessories – this includes hairstyle and footwear.


Those who do not follow the correct dress code will be sent home after a telephone call has been made to a parent/carer.


High rates of attendance are central to the core mission of achieving high standards and maximising student outcomes. Attendance is a key variable in securing the high standards that Studio West aspires to.