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Teaching & Learning



The curriculum at Cottingham High School is based upon The National Curriculum. We operate a three-year Key Stage 3 and a two-year KS4.  

The National Curriculum

It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

CHS vision

Cottingham High School seeks to provide all pupils with exciting opportunities that build confidence, develop skills and promote academic excellence.

Vision which underpins our SDP

Establish a culture of shared responsibility for the holistic and educational development of all our students where we believe, and instil in our students a belief, that irrespective of background, parental wealth, disadvantage, educational or emotional need or prior attainment, they can achieve according to their potential and that they can therefore succeed in realising their ambitions and aspirations.

CHS slogan

Believe. Achieve. Succeed.

CHS Curriculum Intent

We are a true comprehensive with an eclectic mix of learners. All students at Cottingham High School are entitled to an engaging, broad, balanced, rich, appropriately challenging and ambitious curriculum, with a strong academic core, delivered by specialists who are passionate about their subject. This will include classroom-based learning, independent learning outside the classroom and an exciting and inclusive range of extra-curricular enhancement and enrichment opportunities designed to ignite and inspire our students. 

Our curriculum clearly sets out the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each key stage, how this knowledge and these skills will be taught and assessed and how effectively pupils apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired. Our aims are to provide an effective and enjoyable education where pupils achieve highly and are equipped with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to be confident and succeed in life. Our curriculum is designed sequentially so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before through a mastery approach. It builds towards clearly defined end points. We have designed our curriculum to reflect our context and to combat social disadvantage by addressing gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills. This includes an emphasis on reading and vocabulary-rich programmes of study and a focus on careers education in each curriculum area, which will raise aspirations.

Above all, we want all our students to be enthusiastic about their studies and to instil in them a self-belief and an appetite for life-long learning.

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Our KS5 curriculum is designed to fully develop students’ skills, values and interests beyond the classroom, so they can develop into mature, confident and articulate young people. We pride ourselves at Cottingham High Sixth Form on the wide variety of opportunities we offer our students in conjunction with their academic study, ranging from British sign language courses to health and safety awards, from team leader awards to opportunities for paid work. We place great emphasis on pre-course guidance and the Sixth Form is committed to ensuring that all students start on the programme of study that is right for them – an academic pathway, a vocational pathway, or a mixed pathway.

Our curriculum is regularly reviewed to ensure it meets a range of progression pathways, based on the aims and aspirations of each individual student. Post-18 opportunities are forever changing and we ensure that we keep up-to-date with national changes, and adapt our curriculum to suit the ‘state of the nation’. This is achieved through the types of subjects taught, alongside understanding and promoting new opportunities to students such as degree apprenticeships or additional courses, which will complement their Post-18 progression route. We also work extremely closely with local employers, universities and apprenticeship providers to ensure our students are fully aware of their options Post-18. To support our students in applying, we provide UCAS guidance including personal statement clinics, CV and letter writing workshops, aptitude testing and specialist led apprenticeships / careers sessions. All our students take part in a work experience placement to ensure they have meaningful encounters with the world of work. The aim of this placement is to ensure our students gain useful skills and an understanding of particular professions, so they are fully prepared for future employment. We also have links to Hull York Medical School and a Consortium programme to support students applying for Medicine. Students applying for Oxbridge have opportunities to take part in HE+ events to support the application process.

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with SEND receive additional support to ensure academic success and that we meet their specific learning needs. This is achieved through a variety of methods ranging from academic mentoring, additional enrichment opportunities and 16-19 bursary funding.

Each A-Level subject taught at the Sixth Form is planned in a schematic way so that the course is constructed in a way to suit the linear model and academic rigour of A-Level teaching. This includes a mapping of the curriculum, identification of the different components, the explicit teaching of study skills, recall opportunities and student led tasks. Students are provided with subject handbooks so they can assess and monitor their own learning journey.

Students are taught the importance of academic rigour, which promotes a high level of knowledge and understanding beyond the curriculum specification. This ensures that our students are ready for transition to university, apprenticeship or work. This is enhanced by providing additional courses such as the Extended Project Qualification (preparing students for the rigour of academic research), Core Maths and a wide-range of accredited qualifications. Students follow as PSHE programme that allows them to further explore Fundamental British Values, Relationships & Sex Education, road safety, finance and internet safety.

Support for learning and success extends beyond the classroom. Built into the timetable are opportunities for independent study and enrichment opportunities, along with time to meet with dedicated tutors who act as mentors.


All subjects are taught by specialist teachers. They adapt their pedagogy to meet the needs of individual students through clear differentiation. Students are also encouraged to develop their memory retention and independent study skills. In addition, extended networking opportunities across the Consortium Sixth Form Partnership are taken to ensure that teachers have the opportunity to exchange best practice, resources and to moderate student performance.

Opportunities to check students’ understanding are regularly taken through a variety of AfL strategies and techniques. Both summative and formative assessment techniques are used to inform planning. This allows any misconceptions to be addressed as well as providing the opportunity for clear and direct feedback. This is done through subject specific assessments and progress tests. Students, in a timely manner, are expected to engage and act on the feedback to improve their outcomes. In addition to their timetabled lessons, students partake in independent learning sessions, which gives them the opportunity to review and adapt their own study techniques.

The course of study is designed to allow students to remember the long-term content of the course. Teachers ensure lessons are differentiated to suit the needs of each individual student. Opportunities for recall are embedded in a variety of ways, and teachers have been exposed, through inset, to the various theories regarding the power of recall, cognitive overload and techniques that support long-term retention.

The Sixth Form offers an exceptional learning environment, which allows students to focus on their academic study. The university style ICT suite (Independent Learning Centre) develops study skills ready for transition to higher education post-18.


Students achieve well at Cottingham High School Sixth Form – including those subjects taught at Consortium sites - as they develop extensive knowledge and skills from their programme of study. This is corroborated in public examinations, which meet and exceed government expectations. Students leave the Sixth Form equipped with qualifications and personal skills, which have been enriched by a progressive Sixth Form provider.

Aspirations and expectations across the Sixth Form are extremely high. A significant proportion of students go on to study at their first-choice university, with a high number of students (significantly above national average) studying at one of the Russell Group universities. The Sixth Form maintains strong working relationships with local and national HE institutions and employers. This ensures that all students are provided with exceptional guidance and support in following either an academic or a degree apprenticeship route as part of their next phase of learning. We measure this success through destinations data and the number of alumni who share their experiences with current students.