The Academic Curriculum

2019/2020

The Board of Governors of Bangor Grammar School ensures that the academic curriculum provided meets the requirements of the Northern Ireland Curriculum.  In addition, it aims to enrich this provision by the inclusion of additional subjects where possible. The Vice Principal co-ordinates the curriculum provision throughout the school in liaison with the Senior Leadership Team.

Literacy and numeracy support is also offered throughout the School in a number of ways: support classes; literacy and numeracy mentoring by senior pupils; intervention support by staff.

Religious Education classes are timetabled for all boys in Key Stages 3 and 4.  Parents may indicate that they do not which their son to be timetabled for Religious Education by written application to the Vice Principal.

Homework is seen as an important part of a boy’s education.  It varies from a recommended average of one and half hours per night at KS3 to three hours per night in the Sixth Form.  Each Department has its own Homework Policy.

Careers Education underpins the curriculum at Bangor Grammar, and CEIAG is taught both in separate classes and within the taught curriculum throughout the School.

A Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, with the assistance of other teachers, supports pupils who have educational statements or specific special needs, taking responsibility for the construction of individual education plans, overseeing the work of support assistants and liaising with external bodies to ensure that their academic requirements are met.

Parental Consultation Meetings are held annually for each year group to provide the opportunity for parents to discuss their son’s academic progress with his teachers.

Instrumental tuition

of a high quality is available from specialist music tutors and leads to external awards.

 

LINKS WITH OTHER SCHOOLS

While Bangor Grammar School is an all-boys school, there are close links with the girls’ grammar school in the town, Glenlola Collegiate.  Boys and Glenlola girls participate together in Scripture Union meetings and Debating.  The Contingent of the Combined Cadet Force is a joint contingent between Bangor Grammar School and Glenlola Collegiate.  

The School is a member of the Bangor Learning Partnership, comprising the four post-primary schools in Bangor, BGS, Glenlola Collegiate, Bangor Academy and St Columbanus’s College.  This enables sixth form pupils to study a level 3/A Level course at one of the partner schools.  The school is also part of the North Down and Ards Area Learning Community, by means of which it is seeking to deliver the Entitlement Framework.

We are also currently engaged in a Shared Education project with Bangor Academy and St Columbanus’s College, part of which involves working towards achieving Rights Respecting Schools status, hosting joint School Council meetings and training pupils from each school to be Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

The academic year 2017/18 has continued to see the development of working partnerships with Primary Schools in the area, our school leading projects to ensure the best possible education for all children in Bangor, irrespective of school attended in relation to reading partnerships, music tuition, sports coaching etc.

 

The Junior School - Years 8-10 - Key Stage 3

Main Curricular Subjects: Art & Design, Biology, Chemistry, Drama, English, Food Technology, French, Geography, German, History, ICT, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Religious Education, Spanish, Technology.

Cross Curricular Skills, Thinking Skills and  Personal Capabilities: Employability, Citizenship, Personal Social and Health Education. These are taught through the Learning for Life and Work programme and through the programmes of study of all curricular subjects:

  • All boys have one hour of games per week.
  • Boys at Key Stage 3 are taught in classes which are not streamed.
  • Science is taught as the discrete subjects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics throughout the Key Stage.
  • In Year 10 short taster courses in Business Studies, Computing, Journalism and Moving Image Art are taught.
  • French is the only modern foreign language taught in Year 8.
  • In Years 9 & 10 boys take a second modern language, either German or Spanish. The School will accommodate a boy’s choice of a second language as far as possible within the constraints of the timetable.

 

Middle School - Years 11 & 12 - Key Stage 4

Compulsory Subjects: English, Mathematics, Religious Education, Physical Education.

Optional GCSE Subjects: Art and Design, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computing, Digital Technology, Drama, English Literature, Food & Nutrition, French, Further Mathematics, Geography, German, History, Journalism, Moving Image Art, Music, Physics, Physical Education, Religious Education, Spanish, Technology.

Cross Curricular Themes: These are taught through the curriculum and in collapsed Learning for Life and Work days.

  • Physical Education is either a non-examination or GCSE subject.
  • Classes at Key Stage 4 are generally of mixed ability.
  • The School is exploring broadening the Key Stage 4 curriculum by introducing other qualifications outside of the current GCSE portfolio.

Senior School - Years 13 & 14 - Sixth Form

Boys who return to school to pursue AS and A-level studies choose from the following subjects:

Art and Design, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computing, Design and Technology, Digital Technology, Drama and Theatre Studies, English Literature, French, Further Mathematics, Geography, German, Government and Politics, History, Mathematics, Music, Nutrition & Food Science, Physics, Physical Education, Religious Studies, Spanish.

The School is part of the Bangor Learning Partnership (comprising the four post-primary schools in the Bangor area, together with the South Eastern Regional College) which widens the choice of Sixth Form pupils by enabling them to select one AS/A2 subject in one of the partner schools.  This year, boys have an opportunity to study A Level Moving Image Art, BTEC Applied Science, BTEC Engineering, BTEC Sport and BTEC ICT.

The School is considering broadening the curriculum through the continued work of the Bangor Learning Partnership in 2019-2020.

  • Classes depend on subject choice and normally are not streamed.
  • A programme for Learning for Life and Work is taught to all boys.
  • One hour of games per week is provided.

The Principal, the Vice-Principal or one of the Assistant Principals will be pleased to answer any questions about the curriculum which parents may have. 

CAREERS GUIDANCE

Bangor Grammar School offers an extremely comprehensive Careers service to each of our students.  We believe that the best interests of our boys must be at the centre of all that we do in the Careers Department.

The Core Components of Careers in the curriculum are as follows:

Years 8 & 9

Careers Guidance is offered in Years 8 and 9 in modular form as Employability Skills via Learning for Life and Work (LLW). 

Year 10

The Careers programme is delivered by Careers Teachers in one period every two weeks. This programme is designed to raise awareness of personal skills and qualities and different types of career paths for each individual pupil.  The intention is to help pupils and parents make informed subject choices linked to possible future careers.  They will also be introduced to the CASCAID careers research programme and will then research careers on the basis of their own individual career suggestions.

A November conference on Personal Career Planning delivered by Young Enterprise leads to each student producing an Action Plan to research careers which interest them.  Before final GCSE choices are made, there is a Careers evening with the Senior Team and a Parental Consultation meeting with subject teachers, which is intended to help both students and parents to make informed decisions about subject choices.  A further interview with the student’s Careers teacher for consultation and guidance in the final selection of GCSEs is also available for all pupils if required.

Parents also have the opportunity to speak with GCSE subject teachers during the Careers Fair.

 

Years 11 & 12

Careers guidance is delivered through Collapsed Days, arranged through LLW and Young Enterprise, which occur at various times during the school year. This allows pupils to develop an awareness of the skills necessary for the work place and the employment opportunities available in the Northern Ireland economy and beyond. 

A number of students gain further insight into the workplace through optional Work Shadowing in Year 11.  Placements are for two days, usually towards the end of the school year, in a place of the student’s own choosing.

The Parental Consultation for Year 12 includes a meeting with subject teachers, students and their parents, and takes the form of a mock results morning.  Pupils receive advice reflecting that which would be offered with similar results in August. Pupils and parents also have the opportunity to speak with representatives from local, mainland and ROI universities and local employers during the afternoon Careers Fair.  Subject teachers are also available for consultation regarding A-level subjects during the Fair.

Pupils have the option of making an appointment with their Careers teacher to assist with their plans for the future.  Independent impartial careers advice for all Year 12 pupils is also delivered from the beginning of Year 12 by our own designated Careers Advisors from the Department for the Economy (DfE).

Years 13 & 14

There is a focus on the UCAS procedure and pupils are given the benefit of guidance and advice from their highly experienced individual careers teachers on a choice of university, college of further education or employment.  At the end of AS exams in June, under the guidance of the Careers teachers, Year 13 pupils begin UCAS preparation by completing a first draft of their Personal Statement and completing the UCAS application. Pupils again have the opportunity to use the independent advice of our DfE Careers Officers at this time.  Before university interviews begin, the school holds an “Interview Skills Day” at which a panel of advisors from the world of work will help prepare students for their forthcoming university or employment interviews.  We also provide an in-school presentation regarding student funding, applying for student loans, contribution to fees, etc.

Throughout the year, outside speakers from various organisations and professions also visit the school, giving presentations and Q & A sessions through allocated LLW time or via our new Careers Club. 

Representatives from several universities – local and mainland, including Oxbridge - are invited to give in-school presentations followed by question and answer sessions, giving our students the opportunity to gain further knowledge about each establishment.  Students in Year 13 and 14 also attend Open Days at QUB and UU, a UCAS Convention and careers conferences for professions such as law, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, accountancy and engineering.

In February 2018, the fourth Annual Careers Fair took place in the school with over 40 stands representing universities from all over the UK and ROI. Many local employers were also available and some held break-out sessions on careers within a variety of industries such as ICT, Accounting, Cyber Security and many others.

With a dedicated team of Careers teachers, who will be with the same boys from Year 10 until they leave, a well-stocked, continually updated library, and access to the Unifrog online careers portal, Bangor Grammar School offers an extremely comprehensive service to each of our students.  We believe that the best interests of our boys need to be at the centre of all that we do in the Careers Department.