Skip to content ↓

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum at Hillcrest is designed to enable all students to enjoy their learning and achieve their full academic and social potential. We aim to provide all students with the knowledge, skills and relevant qualifications to enable them to be ready to successfully access the next stage of their education.

Our curriculum aims to develop effective independent learners who have a passion for learning and an understanding of the power of knowledge. We seek to develop students who are prepared for the challenges of life. At all key stages’ students are well prepared to fully engage in an ever-changing world, to understand and respect fundamental British values and make informed decisions. All students have access to a broad and balanced core curriculum, as well as a range of wider learning, spiritual, moral, social, cultural, personal and physical development opportunities and careers education. Students are supported by a team of well qualified, specialist teaching staff.

In key stage 3 students follow a broad and balance curriculum based on the national curriculum and the Birmingham curriculum statement. The core curriculum in key stage 4 is centred around the Ebacc set of subjects with additional options to study a range of Arts, Sport, Social Science and Technology based subject’s dependent on student interests. Early identification of students’ specific needs and suitable intervention is a key part of our curriculum offer.

Over a two-week timetable, students follow courses with the following number of learning hours

Year 7

English 8 hours, Mathematics 8 hours, Science 6 hours, French 5 hours, Design & Technology 4 hours, Religion and Worldviews 2 hours, Geography 3 hours, History 3 hours, Physical Education 3 hours, Performing Arts (Dance and Drama) 2 hours, Music 2 hours, Art 2 hours, Computing 2 hours.

Year 8

English 8 hours, Mathematics 8 hours, Science 6 hours, French 5 hours, Design & Technology 4 hours, Religion and Worldviews 2 hours, Geography 3 hours, History 3 hours, Physical Education 3 hours, Performing Arts (Dance and Drama) 2 hours, Music 2 hours, Art 2 hours, Computing 2 hours.

In Autumn of 2019, the Governing Body asked the school to review current KS3 curriculum provision to ensure that it meets the needs of our students and has breadth and depth for all. This review will result in some changes in the KS3 curriculum for September 2020. It has now been agreed by Governors and plans are in place for all students to continue with the KS3 curriculum in Year 9 and begin there GCSE subjects in Year 10.


All students in Key Stage 3 also follow the Accelerated Reader programme, encouraging students to make rapid progress in the complexity of the reading materials they encounter. Students also experience whole-day learning experiences covering Personal and Social Development (PSD) and regular opportunities for Information, Advice, and Guidance (IAG) for Careers and Lifelong Learning.

For further information regarding our curriculum, please contact Mrs S Palmer– Assistant Headteacher

Key Stage 4: What Will The Curriculum Look Like?

There are a number of core subjects that the government requires all students to study, such as English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education and Religious Education. Students also study French and either History or Geography.

In addition to the core, students make guided choices from a range of subjects including Art, Computing, Dance, Drama, Music, Business Studies and Design Technology. This ensures that we provide opportunities for different kinds of learning to suit the interests and abilities of individual students, whilst retaining a strong focus on academic subjects which will enable them to progress to further and higher education. We aim to give as many students as possible the opportunity to achieve the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) by the end of Year 11.

The EBacc is not a qualification in itself. It is a wrap-around award that recognises students’ achievements across a core of selected subjects. Students would be expected to attain between grades 9 to 5 in English, Mathematics, Science, a Modern Foreign Language, and either History or Geography.

The EBacc is highly regarded by colleges, sixth form, universities, other higher education institutions, and employers. Therefore, this award would be advantageous to students who are intent on further study for an Undergraduate Degree or equivalent.


Year 9

Year 10

Year 11


8 Hours

8 Hours

9 Hours


8 Hours

8 Hours

9 Hours


10 Hours

10 Hours

10 Hours

Physical Education

2 Hours

2 Hours

2 Hours

Religious Education

2 Hours

2 Hours



5 hours

5 hours

5 Hours

Curriculum Allocations At Key Stage 4

For full details of the Key Stage 4 curriculum, including the GCSE, BTEC courses available to students in Years 10 and 11, please click here.

The New Curriculum GCSE Equivalent Grading System

All students will be graded using the 0-99 Hillcrest grading system which uses the new GCSE 9-1 grades as its basis. Please refer to the table below for information on the new grading system.

Old GCSE Grading 

New GCSE Grading 

Hillcrest Points Banding














New Good Pass (DFE)














The Sixth Form

For information about our Sixth Form curriculum, in partnership with the Oaks Collegiate, please follow the links in the sixth form navigation above.


Computing is a very important part of education at Hillcrest. There are five fully equipped Computing rooms as well as banks of computers in subject areas, laptop trolleys, a Computing centre, ‘dotcom@hillcrest’, and a multi-media room. In Year 7 and 8, all students have two hours per fortnight of discrete Computing as well as using computers in various subject areas across the school.

For further information about any aspect of our curriculum, please contact Mrs S Palmer – Assistant Headteacher for Curriculum, Assessment & Standards.