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Curriculum

St Patrick’s core principle is to create a safe and caring environment in which pupils, parents and staff are encouraged to strive for academic and personal excellence.

 

It is a statutory requirement of all schools to deliver the Northern Ireland curriculum. Every school must teach the same subjects to the same rigour. No one type of school possesses a unique ‘academic ethos’; rather every school must teach exactly the same content. What is different is the pedagogy, or methods of teaching, employed.

 

As an all-inclusive school, we provide a flexible, broad, balanced yet relevant curriculum tailored to the individual needs, ability and aptitude of your child.

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We value the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, and cherish the skills pupils develop as they seek to intemperate the world and society using the moral guidance provided by our Catholic ethos.

 

Our curricular programmes in Key Stages 3 and 4 are exciting and engaging and fully meet the present statutory requirements. As an innovative school, St Patrick’s has successfully piloted the new curriculum as well as pupil profiling for the last four years. We are an exemplar used by the Education Authority, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate and the Examinations Boards, and have hosted visits from many other schools struggling with the challenges of the new curriculum

St Patrick’s takes great pride in delivering enriched curriculum experiences to help bring learning to life in a memorable and enjoyable way. We are committed to ensuring that all of our students can access the curriculum by tailoring students' learning towards their individual learning styles and preferences.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum (Year 8-10)

All pupils in every school in Northern Ireland follow by law a ‘common curriculum’ during Key Stage 3. In Year 8 (Form 1) pupils are assigned classes and enter our ‘Primary Transition Programme’. All first year pupils are taught in a special purpose-built complex in their own classroom. A single specialist teacher delivers up to 60% of the curriculum without the need for movement about the school. There is an overt focus on learning and thinking skills. This model has been enormously successful and is now much copied. In Year 9 (Form 2) pupils still receive specialist teaching in their core subjects which reduces the need for extensive movement around the school. However as pupils have successfully graduated from our ‘Transition Programme’ we gradually introduce more specialist teaching staff, while retaining the ‘feel’ of happiness and security provided during first year. In Year 10 (Form 3) pupils are fully integrated into the main body of the school. Teachers still focus on Learning and Thinking skills, and prepare students for the (optional) Key Stage 3 examinations held in the last term of year 10.

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Key Stage 4 Curriculum (Year 11-12)

Pupils in Key Stage 4 follow a common ‘core curriculum’ of seven subjects, but have the option to choose from up to fifteen other subjects. Some pupils may be presented with the opportunity to study vocational qualifications that are delivered in the school but in conjunction with the South Eastern Regional College. The Subject Options include 2/3 Academic and 1/3 Applied or Vocational, in line with the Government’s Legal Requirement. All mainstream pupils are entered for GCSE in English, Maths, RE and Learning for Life and Work. Pupils can then choose to study from the following GCSEs which include Double or Single Award Science, Technology, History, Geography, Spanish, Business Communication Studies, Home Economics, Art, Media Studies, Motor Vehicle Studies, Music, PE, ICT and Health & Social Care.

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Post 16 Curriculum (Year 13-14)

All pupils study a minimum of three A level subjects during their Sixth form years. These A levels can be a mix of “General” or “Applied” subjects and lead on to third level education. The Academy is part of the Lisburn Area Learning Community therefore pupils may opt to study a range of up to 27 different subjects offered in our home school or in collaboration with all other Lisburn schools.

To foster personal development students are offered the opportunity to become involved in:

  • Leadership experience as a senior school prefect or Head Boy / Girl

  • Debating

  • Team work as part of the School Council

  • Mentoring younger colleagues

  • Public Speaking

  • Peer Research in conjunction with YMCA

  • Voluntary Work with disabled young people with Positive Futures

  • Teaching experience with primary children as part of ‘reading recovery’

  • Charity Fundraising

  • Young Enterprise small business challenge

  • BT Young Scientist Competition

  • Voluntary work in Romanian Orphanages

  • Pope John Paul II Award

  • Retreat

  • Catholics Caring

  • Serving Christmas Dinner for the elderly at the Parish Centre

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