Curriculum Intent

St Francis Xavier’s strives to build a Catholic Christian community of love and respect to educate young people to meet the challenges of life confidently, to develop their unique talents to the full, and to live out the values of Christ and his Gospel. It is our belief that it is the educational right of all pupils to receive a comprehensive education committed to academic excellence, regardless of background or social standing.

All staff at St Francis Xavier’s College are dedicated to delivering an inclusive, high quality curriculum which enhances the life of every student and inspires them to achieve excellence. Our curriculum is designed to develop the personal attributes needed to be safe, happy, and considerate of others. We raise aspirations and tackle the challenges of social mobility by providing all our students with the skills, knowledge and qualifications needed to be prosperous members of society who make a positive contribution to those around them.

St Francis Xavier’s College is committed to:

  • providing the core skills, knowledge and understanding that are required for the 21st century.
  • developing a sense of social and moral responsibility; encouraging students to be respectful of others, mindful of their role in their community, in society at large and in the global environment.
  • providing subject choices that support students’ learning and progression, ensuring that our vision, mission and values are realised, thus enabling students to have the cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
  • providing every child, regardless of social background, with the opportunity to succeed.
  • developing students’ independent learning skills and resilience, with coherently planned and sequenced curricula, enabling the development of knowledge and skills for further/higher education, training and employment.
  • embedding fundamental British values and social, moral, spiritual and cultural purpose.

Our Curriculum is underpinned by our core values and our Xaverian standards:

Top 10 Xaverian Standards 

Xaverians are DIFFERENT 

Xaverians want to make a DIFFERENCE

Xaverians have a PLAN 

Xaverians NEVER GIVE UP 

Xaverians know THEIR WORTH

Xaverians look after THEMSELVES

Xaverians care for OTHERS 

Xaverians PLAY FAIR 

Xaverians WIN 

Xaverians know when to ask for HELP

We are Xaverians


Our teachers have jointly planned our curriculum (Learning Journey) ensuring it is logically sequenced to inspire a thirst for knowledge, to build on students’ prior learning and to develop deep knowledge. Our Curriculum focuses on developing expertise over time and embedding a core knowledge that will maximise cognitive development and long-term memory.  Students learn from repeated activities which help knowledge to become long term memories.  This requires repeated visits to concepts and vocabulary through reading that not only supports greater comprehension, but also increases word mastery. This development of metacognitive skills can act as a foundation for future academic success.

Our curriculum is delivered through a common lesson format: Xaverian Teachers. All staff follow this format so that students benefit from a consistent approach to teaching and learning.

The development of our students as young people; raising their awareness of the society in which they live and their roles within it; and preparing them for life after school are of fundamental importance to us, and are key drivers in our Mission Curriculum: PSHE, Citizenship, Collective Worship, Critical Thinking and Character Development.

Towards the end of the summer term 2021 the Government confirmed the move away from bubbles and restricted pupil groupings. This allowed us to bring forward pupil grouping plans across the curriculum. These plans have been developed to give a greater balance of mixed ability and setting throughout the curriculum. We have moved away from a single vertical structure of sets throughout to a blended double structure of two halves of the year or bands: The bands are Oak and Bear. 

The rationale for banding is to ensure all pupils have equitable opportunities to make progress. It allows pupils who were historically in the lower band classes (5-8) the chance to be placed in higher classes if they have a particular aptitude in a core subject.  The bands have been constructed to ensure equal ability distribution on both sides of the year group and are essentially identical. Set placements will be reviewed after each assessment point.

National research says: 

On average, pupils experiencing setting or streaming make slightly less progress than pupils taught in mixed (ability) attainment” classes.” Education Endowment Fund

Building on proven research, at SFX, we now have a blended approach across the curriculum and year groups. Year 7 is mixed ability for all subjects; Year 8 is mixed ability except for mathematics, Year 9 are in English, mathematics, and science sets. Years 10 and 11 are in sets for core subjects. All practical and option subjects are mixed abilities.

Our Y7-9 (KS3) curriculum is designed to offer students broad and balanced opportunity to experience a wide range of subjects. All students will study the following subjects during their first three years at SFX:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Religious Education
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Spanish and French
  • Humanities: History and Geography
  • Creative Arts and Design:  Music, Art, Design & Technology
  • Computing
  • Physical Education
  • PSHCE/Mission Programme
  • At Key Stage 3 students enjoy reading for pleasure through our  Reading Programme.
Subject Number of Lessons

Per Fortnight (60)




Number of Lessons

Per Fortnight (60)

English Y7 = 10

Y8 = 9

Y9 = 10

French 2
Maths Y7 = 9

Y8 = 10

Y9 = 9

Spanish 3
Science 9 Computing/ICT 4
Religious Education 6 Art * 3
Geography 4 Design Technology * 3
History 4 Music 2
* Art and Design Technology are taught on a carousel PE 4

Our Y10-11 (KS4) curriculum offers a breadth of subjects open to all students. Students are advised which subjects best suit their skills and ambitions through the pathways we offer during the options process. We aim to provide a curriculum that allows students to meet academic thresholds that are highly regarded by employers, universities and the government. Therefore, we strongly advise students with high academic attainment to study a humanities subject and language. In addition, our Special Needs Department will also provide personalised programmes of study support and alternative courses for students who are not able to access a full programme of GCSE courses.

Our Y10-11 Core Curriculum consists of English, Maths, Science, PE and Religious Studies. In addition to option subjects consisting of:

  • Art (GCSE)
  • Biology(GCSE)
  • Business Studies (GCSE)
  • Chemistry (GCSE)
  • Computer Science (GCSE)
  • Engineering (Vocational Award)
  • Film Studies (GCSE)
  • French (GCSE)
  • Geography (GCSE)
  • History(GCSE)
  • IT (Cambridge National)
  • Music (GCSE)
  • PE (GCSE)
  • Psychology (GCSE)
  • Physics(GCSE)
  • Spanish(GCSE)
  • Sport (BTEC)
  • Technology (GCSE)
  • PSHCE/Mission Programme
Subject Number of Lessons Per Fortnight (60)
GCSEs English Language and English Literature 10
GCSE Maths 10
GCSE Science (Trilogy) 10
GCSE Religious Education 7
Core PE 5
In addition to the core compulsory offer above pupils are guided and choose 4 Option Subjects. They study each option for 6 lessons per fortnight in Y10 and 5 lessons per fortnight in Y11.
Option A Option B Option C Option D
GCSE Geography GCSE Computing GCSE French GCSE French
GCSE History GCSE Film Studies GCSE Geography GCSE Psychology
Engineering Vocational Award GCSE Geography GCSE Technology Cambridge National ICT
GCSE Spanish GCSE History  BTEC Sport GCSE History
GCSE Separate Science Engineering Vocational Award GCSE PE GCSE Geography
Cambridge National ICT GCSE Business GCSE Spanish GCSE Technology
GCSE Art GCSE Psychology GCSE Business GCSE Music
BTEC Sport GCSE Spanish

In Years 12 and 13 (KS5) we believe it is vital to offer a broad and balanced curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. We have a very rich and diverse 6th Form curriculum where we are able to offer three broad and distinct pathways. Purely academic, purely vocational, and a combination of both. This allows students complete flexibility and the opportunity to study a wide range of courses that complement their future aspirations and talents. We offer 15 A levels,  3 BTECs, 1 CTEC and 2 Cambridge Technicals. Our curriculum is further enhanced with the opportunities of further study at St Julies, our collaborative partners where students have access to a further 6 A Levels, 1 BTEC and 1 Technical Certificate.

Sixth Form students study a curriculum chosen from the following 28 courses:

  • Art (A Level)
  • Biology (A Level)
  • Business (A Level)
  • Business Extended Certificate (OCR Technical)
  • Business Diploma (OCR Technical)
  • Chemistry (A Level)
  • Computer Science (A Level)
  • Economics (A Level)
  • English Literature (A Level)
  • Film Studies (A Level)
  • Geography (A Level)
  • HistoryAQA (A Level)
  • IT Extended Certificate (CTEC)
  • Maths (A Level)
  • Psychology (A Level)
  • Politics (A Level)
  • Spanish (A Level)
  • Sport Extended Certificate (BTEC)
  • Sport Diploma (BTEC)
  • Technology (A Level)
  • BTEC Travel & Tourism (BTEC)* collaborative
  • Dance (A Level) * collaborative
  • Sociology (A Level) * collaborative
  • Drama (A Level)* collaborative
  • English Lang/Lit  (A Level) * collaborative
  • Digital Media (Technical Certificate)  * collaborative
  • Health and Social Care  (A Level) * collaborative
  • Music (A Level)* collaborative

Y12 Options (not including Collaborative offer)

Option A Option B Option C Option D
A Level Chemistry A Level Physics A Level Maths A Level English Literature
A level Computing A Level Business Studies A level Geography A Level Biology
BTEC Sport Extended Certificate (single) OCR Technical  Business Studies Extended Certificate (single) A Level Politics A Level Technology
A Level History BTEC ICT Extended Certificate (single) BTEC Sport Diploma (double)
A Level Spanish A Level Film Studies
A Level Art
The following  subjects are available via our collaborative provision:BTEC Travel & Tourism, Dance, Sociology, Drama, English Lang/Lit, Digital Media Level 3 Technical Certificate,  Health and Social Care and Music.In addition to the core offer, our Year 12 students will have additional study allocated as required from the list below:

  • Core RE
  • Resit English
  • Resit Maths
  • 1842: Volunteering
  • Personal Study
  • KS5 Subject intervention lessons if required
  • Faith in Action

Offering our students learning experiences beyond the classroom is a key part of our curriculum and our enrichment programme is firmly embedded within every day school life. We have a strong tradition of providing outdoor education opportunities, leadership opportunities, after school activities and educational visits. We track the attendance of our students at these experiences and endeavour to ensure that all students take part in enrichment during their time at SFX.

Examples of our wider curriculum offer include:

  • Student Leadership Opportunities
  • Student Council
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Outdoor education trip
  • Residential trips
  • Music celebration
  • Theatre visits and workshops
  • Sports teams and fixtures
  • Visits to Universities
  • STEM activities and events
  • Public Debating Clubs and competitions
  • Musical tuition, clubs and workshops
  • Art and Computing clubs
  • Annual school productions
  • Ski trip
  • Tall ships 2022


Students at St Francis Xavier’s College will have aspirations and know that by achieving excellent outcomes, they will have a choice of destinations. Our students will feel engaged in learning and will take responsibility for their learning within a culture of success. We are confident that our curriculum will produce life-long learners with the skills and attributes of our core values: leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication. Student voice data will indicate that students feel included in curriculum planning and that the curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of all students. Progress for all students will be evidenced by excellent outcomes and destination measures.