The Curriculum at IVC
We are very proud of the curriculum that we offer at Impington. It sits at the very heart of the College’s ethos and ensures that students are fully equipped to be highly successful young people and effective independent thinkers with a genuine passion for learning:
our staff pledge to deliver inspiring and engaging lessons, leading to outstanding achievement for all students and a genuine passion for learning. Our curriculum is innovative and unique within the state sector; it combines academic excellence with enrichment and personal development, creating young people with a range of transferable skills, who are rounded, caring and highly motivated to succeed.
we offer a totally inclusive programme of qualifications, from entry level and vocational subjects to more traditional GCSE subjects, the IB Diploma and IB Careers Programme. The wide choice of subjects allows for a tailored programme for individual students and one which allows all of our students to succeed and to prepare for the next stage of their studies.
our curriculum is heavily inspired by the core principles of International Baccalaureate programmes, which sit at the heart of our outstanding sixth form. As an IB World School, the aims of the IB: to develop learners who are inquiring, knowledgeable, caring and motivated to succeed, are at the centre of our academic curriculum and the ‘IVC Core’. We are also one of few schools to offer five different languages at GCSE, including Modern European, Asian and Ancient languages, as part of our commitment to being a truly international College, with almost all students studying at least one language at GCSE.
The Academic Curriculum: Outline
Years 7 and 8: The ICE Programme
Students in years 7 and 8 follow a carefully designed thematic curriculum, which we have called the ICE Programme (Impington Curriculum Experience). Each strand (half term) is based around a ‘Big Question’ which students explore in all of their subjects; as an example, the first strand in year 7 is ‘Ways of Learning’, in which students discover how to be an effective learner in each of their subjects.
Years 9-11: Exploring GCSEs in depth
At IVC students are given careful guidance to choose their options in year 8. We offer a very broad and balanced curriculum, which ensures all students continue a Humanities subject and most a language throughout their time at IVC. We offer a very wide range of GCSE options, including the full range of Arts subjects. We believe a three-year preparation for GCSE allows students to be well-prepared for the demands of the qualifications, whilst not being taught solely to the examination. It also allows us to involve our older students in the IVC Core, which sits at the heart of our curriculum, and ensures that students have access to the Arts, Sport and Humanities/Citizenship throughout their GCSE courses. Our year 8 Options Book for 2017/18 can be viewed here.
Years 12 and 13: IB Programmes
In years 12 and 13 we offer two main pathways, the IB Diploma Programme and the IB Careers Programme. Both of these programmes are a natural continuation from students’ experiences in the main College, and equip them either for the workplace or further study.
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)
The IBDP is the principal academic programme at Impington International College, offering students a breadth and depth of curriculum that is highly regarded by the world’s best universities. The DP curriculum is made up of six subject groups: their first language, a second language, humanities, science, maths and one other which can be arts or another choice. The IBDP also has its core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and an extended essay. The IBDP is one of the world’s most highly regarded and academically rigorous educational programmes. The IBDP offers a stable, credible and internationally recognised path to academic success in an increasingly competitive and changeable world.
Cambridge International Baccalaureate Careers Programme (IBCP)
Impington’s sixth form is at the forefront of the development of the IBCP. The Cambridge programme, led by Impington, is sponsored by some of the leading STEM organisations in the region, including ARM, Addenbrooke’s and Marshall. As part of the IBCP students undertake a minimum of two IB Diploma (DP) courses of their choice, a core consisting of four components and a career-related study. For the Careers Programme (CP) students, DP courses provide the theoretical underpinning and academic rigour of the programme; the career-related study further supports the programme’s academic strength and provides practical, real-world approaches to learning. Students also receive lessons in Personal and Professional Skills and undertake Service Learning, as well as some form of language development. At Impington, the primary focus for the IBCP can include Sport, Performing Arts or Media (usually offered as Level 3 BTECs) to set students up either for university or the workplace.
What does the curriculum look like in practice?
We publish termly overviews for all subject areas, which include topics/content, skills covered and assessed tasks, as well as links to CEAIG, PSHE and SMSC. These can be found in the Parent Handbooks for each year group and on our sixth form website.
Years 7 and 8: The ICE Programme
The ICE strands for years 7-8 can be found here. The programme of study for students is consistent throughout KS3, KS4 and KS5, with students studying six core groups of subjects which are based around those in the IB Diploma:
In years 7 and 8, students are taught the following subjects, in addition to their weekly enrichment lesson (iCAS):
Years 9-11: GCSEs and Technical Awards
At GCSE, students are able to make two free choices, alongside their Humanities and Languages options. A typical curriculum for a KS4 student looks like:
Booster Programme and Foundation Learning
In years 7-11, we run a Booster Programme with additional literacy and numeracy teaching for students who are not on track to achieve at least a Grade 4 in English and Maths at GCSE. This is taught at KS3 in place of one of the languages, and if students continue in the Booster Programme through their GCSEs, they do not study a language. We also offer a fully bespoke curriculum for our foundation learning students, including those who are Enhanced Resource placements at IVC. This can include ASDAN qualifications, Arts Award, entry level courses and other vocational qualifications alongside a reduced programme of GCSE and Technical Awards.
Years 12 and 13: International Baccalaureate- DP or CP?
In the sixth form students can choose to follow either the IB Diploma Programme or IB Careers Programme. For full details of the subjects we offer at Post-16, see the sixth form section of our website.
The ‘Core’ IVC Curriculum: unique and innovative
At the end of year 11 and year 13, students will be examined in the subjects from their academic curriculum, either at GCSE or as part of their IB programme. Our core curriculum offer, though, is much more than just the qualifications that students will receive at the end of their key stage, and represents our commitment to delivering the College’s vision and mission. We have designed an innovative and exciting experience for students that we strongly believe will encourage them to become rounded, broad-minded young people in line with our College values, and that sits at the heart of everything we do.
Impington Village College is incredibly proud to be an IB World School through its connection to our outstanding international sixth form, Impington International College. As part of our commitment to preparing our students for the IB Diploma and Careers Programmes we hope they will pursue in the sixth form, we have taken some of the best elements of the International Baccalaureate in line with our core values, to provide a totally unique curriculum experience for our students, based on the Core of the IB.
The ‘core’ experience for students runs across all year groups (years 7-11 as part of the IVC Core, and in the sixth form as part of the IB programmes), and sits at the very heart of everything students do. It has three key components:
A core element of the International Baccalaureate mission is developing the attributes that make students successful learners. We believe passionately that students must be taught how to study independently, make connections between their subjects and to develop higher order thinking skills if they are to be successful learners. Students in years 7-9 have a timetabled lesson once a fortnight, and in years 10 and 11 students have a number of collapsed sessions devoted to Approaches to Learning. This programme is designed to support students’ learning in their timetabled lessons and develop crucial skills for academic success. Our Home Learning framework, IMP@Home is also based around the core elements of the Approaches to Learning curriculum, focusing on ‘spaced practice’ and teaching students different revision techniques and study skills.
All students at Impington (from year 7 to year 13) undertake iCAS, the Impington Creativity, Activity and Service programme that we have built into our curriculum. iCAS is based around the Creativity, Activity, Service component of the IB core:
- Creativity: arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking
- Activity: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work
- Service: an opportunity to help others, to develop leadership skills and show respect
We believe iCAS is important in providing students with new experiences, outside of their academic curriculum. We want our students to have broad horizons and the chance to try new things. The programme supports their personal development and wellbeing, encourages commitment and responsibility, and fosters a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. We also believe it provides an opportunity for learning for pleasure, rather than for examinations. This is very important in promoting a balance between academic excellence and wider achievement, and developing students’ love of learning and motivation to succeed. It allows students to access a much broader range of activities within the Creative Arts, Languages and Sports throughout their time with us, with over sixty choices offered by staff members and our sixth form students.
Students make three enrichment choices each year (one each of creativity, activity and service) that they access on a Wednesday afternoon (during the College day) on a termly rotation. A sample of the activities includes:
British Sign Language
This programme runs in addition to the many extra-curricular activities offered at IVC on a weekly basis.
For the link to the current iCAS website with student choices, please click here.
As part of their wider learning, students will have timetabled lessons which cover the statutory PSHE and Citizenship curricula and continue a focus on religious education and topical issues for young people, including elements from all of the Humanities subjects. This is a timetabled lesson in years 7-9 and in years 10 and 11 is taught in a series of collapsed sessions. One session of the tutor time programme each week is also devoted to Individuals and Societies themes to allow students the chance to discuss important issues as part of their Vertical Tutor group.
All students have core Physical Education lessons throughout years 7- 11 and access to our sporting facilities in the sixth form. Students access a wide range of sporting and physical activities and are encouraged to keep healthy and stay active. This fits with our whole-College focus on physical and mental wellbeing and encouraging students to find a balance between study and physical activity. The requirement to select an Activity as part of iCAS also means that students have access to a very wide range of physical activities. Some students may also choose to study Sport as part of their pathway, either as a BTEC Sport or GCSE Physical Education, or BTEC Sport as part of the IBCP in the sixth form.
How do we measure the impact of the curriculum at IVC?
Across all key stages progress data is very important in monitoring the knowledge and understanding of our students. Formative and summative assessment is used and students complete all assessed work in their bespoke Assessment Books across years 7-13. We have very clear systems in place for tracking student progress, and intervening where students fall short of our very aspirational targets. Our outcomes in recent years demonstrate the powerful impact our curriculum is having on the students in our care; IVC is placed consistently in the top 5% of all schools nationally for progress at GCSE, with Progress8 scores of +0.64 (2016) and +0.66 (2017). Outcomes are exceptional at KS5; the IB Diploma pass rate is 95% (international average: 80%) and the average point score is 34 (international average: 32). At BTEC/IBCP, 53% of students got a Distinction/Distinction*, and 99% of students passed the IBCP.
At KS3, student progress is tracked using a clear flight path system, with bespoke assessment criteria that have been designed by our Lead Practitioners and that utilise the different assessment objectives from the new GCSE specifications. There is a significant emphasis on formative feedback, with students and parents receiving formative comments five times per year, to ensure that students are clear on how to improve their knowledge and skills.
The success of our curriculum is also demonstrated through more than just student outcomes; it was designed to ensure our students are effectively prepared for life beyond IVC and are happy, healthy young people. We regularly seek student feedback on the quality of provision at IVC both inside and outside of the classroom. This includes focus groups, our iSLT (student leadership team) and via online surveys. The impeccable conduct of our students, their engagement in College life and their excellent attendance, also evidences the positive impact that our curriculum is having.
Students track their own progress against the IB Learner Profile in their iCAS portfolios. These are monitored by tutors and form part of the progress conversations happening in tutor time during academic mentoring sessions, and are also reviewed in Approaches to Learning lessons, where students are given the chance to reflect on how they are developing the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. They also track their own academic progress both in lessons (via their Assessment Books and dialogue with teaching staff) and in tutor time, where students keep a log of their progress and set targets for improvement.
If you would like more information about our curriculum, please contact Victoria Hearn, Vice Principal firstname.lastname@example.org