Academic Life

The Learning Journey

Learning is at the heart of all we do. Students must make progress and achieve the best they can. It is our job, as educators, to ensure that they are challenged and that they succeed. Our curriculum design enables this to happen.


We enjoy teaching… and the students enjoy learning. When children succeed and achieve they grow in confidence and grow stronger.


To ensure that our curriculum is right for each child it is constantly reviewed and developed and departments are guided to do this at each self-evaluation window (a month is allocated to each year group) as well as at the end of the year. Lesson reflection, student progress and student and teacher voice all feed into this. The COVID pandemic has meant that over the past few years curriculum recovery has also played a part in our curriculum review.


At Dowdales students are individuals and we work hard at ensuring that curriculum plans taught for the individual. Teachers are embracing and developing their adaptive teaching in its broadest sense (from feedback to personality types) to ensure quality for each individual in the classroom. Therefore, students have an individualised curriculum that provides equality for all: it gives variety, breath and appropriateness for their future pathways.


As a school we embrace the research of Daniel Muijs and David Reynolds particularly: “The effect of achievement on self-concept is stronger than the effect of self- concept on achievement”.


Our curriculum is grounded in National Curriculum delivery and challenges students’ thinking, thus allowing them to have creative minds and providing them with cultural capital. It is coherent and cohesive within and between subjects and enrichment meaning that ultimately students feel secure, and therefore they enjoy their learning and achieve their full potential.

SubjectYear 7Year 8SubjectYear 9
lessons per weeklessons per weeklessons per week
Science 44Science 4
Citizenship/ RS21Citizenship/ RS1
DT/ Computer Science/ IT22DT2
PE22Computer Science/ IT1
Subject Year 10
lessons per week
Year 11
lessons per week
English and English Literature 4 5
Maths 5 4
Science 6 6
PE 2 2
Life Course 1 1
Option 1 3 3
Option 2 3 3
Option 3 3 3
Option 4 3 3

To view the curriculum content of our subjects click on the icons below

If would like more information about our curriculum please call us on 01229 469800 or email click here

‘Literacy enables people to read their own world and to write their own history.’


We fundamentally believe that literacy empowers students to achieve. It is implicit and explicit in all subjects; students must be able to read with full comprehension and express themselves through their written word. We appreciate that adaptions are required so that all can access everything they need to make their full progress.


To support literacy we:


  • Have a programme of reading buddies linking higher year leaders to weaker readers in Year 7 and Year 8
  • Have an appropriate programme of phonics and literacy support where required; this links back to work in the classroom and the teaching of strategies that will enable all to access everything in the classroom
  • Give literacy it’s importance in all classrooms through adaptive teaching:

Positive approach to all aspects of literacy from all teachers

pre-teaching of vocabulary

vocabulary checks and high expectations of subject specific vocabulary acquisition

writing tasks are appropriate framed

longer writing is appropriately planned

appropriate teaching of essay voice/exam voice

oral rehearsal is used to create essay voice

oracy is planned for and framed as appropriate

correcting of SPAG as appropriate for the subjects requirements

  • Enhanced opportunities through World Book Day, author visits, work with The Wordsworth Trust, Readathon etc.

“Mathematics is a fundamental part of human thought and logic, and integral to attempts at understanding the world and ourselves. Mathematics provides an effective way of building mental discipline and encourages logical reasoning and mental rigour. In addition, mathematical knowledge plays a crucial role in understanding the contents of other school subjects such as science, social studies, and even music and art” – Maths Union


As this fractal illustrates


To support numeracy we:

  • Have a programme of maths buddies linking higher year mathematicians to weaker maths students in Years 7
  • Use the White Rose scheme of work in Years 7-9 with appropriate adaptations which links to many of our feeder primary schools
  • Cross work with Maths/Science/DT/Geography/ Computer Science/ Business Studies to allow and awareness and collaboration on number work – recognising different and similarities; teach and articulate these cross over skills to students and support staff in planning to teach these aspects of mathematics
  • Enrichment opportunities – Maths Challenge, Team Competitions, work with Lancaster University, Puzzle Day, Lego League etc.
  • Develop teaching skills through work with the North West Maths Hub


SEND – Mrs Dove

01229 469800   Email –  Click here

We provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all children, which is differentiated to meet individual needs and abilities.

We are supportive and inclusive with the needs of students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) being met in our mainstream setting.


Inclusion is an important part of curriculum offer. It fits with the school ethos of being the best that you can be and that every child matters. At Dowdales we strive to ensure that every student can be supported to reach their potential and the Inclusion team has been put in place to add an extra tier of support for the students should they need it. Students during their school career may find themselves requiring an extra boost or help to access the curriculum and this is where inclusion can be a suitable option. Students can sometimes find it hard to access education for a variety of reasons and have barriers to their learning for them to be successful within the normal school timetable. This can be for a variety of reasons be it medical, attendance, struggling with literacy or numeracy or English as a foreign language to name but a few. Students therefore need the support to be in school and accessing a full timetable. Inclusion can offer one to one support and/or small group work to support students with their particular barrier to learning. For a period of time this can enable students to have some extra time to catch up and help them acquire the skills they need to be successful in all their lessons. Inclusion aims to get the students back on track and to be successful and achieve to be the best they can be.



Mr Rushton, Assistant Headteacher, Careers Leader

01229 469800

Email: click here

Mr Ridyard, Professional Adviser, Inspira

01229 469800/ 01229 824052

Email: click here


Careers – Supporting your child

Information for Employers

Provider Access Policy


Preparing students for Post 16 begins in Year 7. Like all schools, Dowdales ensures that whilst they at the school each student will have access to:

  • A stable careers programme

  • Learn from carer and labour market information

  • Support for their individual needs

  • Curriculum learning is linked to careers, where appropriate

  • Encounters with employers and employees

  • Experience of the work place

  • Encounters with Higher and Further education

  • Personal guidance

In addition, preparation also happens when students reach Year 9. Here, they are guided in their option choices ensuring that students choose the correct options that will allow them to follow their chosen career path.

Throughout Year 10 and 11 there is an extensive careers programme, this includes all local further education establishments delivering presentations about their programmes of study to enable students to make the correct choice for them should they wish to continue studies. We have many links with universities from across the country giving our students a knowledge and taste of university life.

In addition to this, visits are made from all major local businesses, where students are given relevant information should they wish to pursue a career in one of these areas. All applications are fully supported by Mr Ridyard our specialist Careers and Inspira Adviser.

The following take place for each year group as part of our stable careers programme:

Careers Programme

Throughout the school year a number of events are integrated into the school careers programme offering providers an opportunity to come in to school to speak to students and/or their parents and carers.


Year 7

Careers Survey
University Taster Visit
World of World session with local businesses and providers (summer term)


Year 8

University Taster Visit
University Provider Assembly with Higher Education Focus
Careers talks from outside providers
World of Work session with local businesses and providers (summer term)


Year 9

KS4 Options Evening, and Careers Fair
University Provider Assembly with Higher Education Focus
World of World session with local businesses (summer term)
University Taster Days
Selected cohort visit the University of Cambridge and Oxford University


Year 10

Cohort of students enrolled on to local 6th Form College Honours Programme
STEM event organised by BAE Systems
Selected cohort visit the University of Cambridge and Oxford University
Selected cohort enrolled on the University of Warwick Unitracks Programme
University Taster Days
One to One Careers Interviews
Work Experience


Year 11

Cohort of students enrolled on to local 6th Form College Honours Programme
Tuesday morning Careers focused talks
Careers Fair for students, parents and carers
Interview practice event
Preparation for Learning Careers Focus
Further Education and Apprenticeship Provider Assemblies
One to One Careers Interviews
Supportive optional workshops
Access to dedicated TEAMS careers bulletin with open evening, course and apprenticeship information

Inspira is a specialist provider of services for young people.  Inspira services support personal development and informed decision-making that promotes positive life choices and outcomes for people at key transition points in their lives. 

We work closely with Inspira to ensure as many of our ex-students as possible enter education, employment or training.  This helps us to measure and assess our careers programme and its impact on our students.

For more information visit Inspira’s website:

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Dowdales School will be closed tomorrow Monday 4th December