The Island Free School is a small 11 to 16 secondary school. The school has 125 pupils in each year group and will have 625 pupils in the school once full. Each year group is split into five learning groups of 25 pupils and is taught in mixed ability groups for all subjects other than English and Mathematics.
Years 7 and 8
In Years 7 and 8, all pupils follow an accelerated Key Stage 3 curriculum for Maths, English and Science. This fast-track programme was successfully developed in Isle of Wight middle schools between 2004 and 2007.
Pupils are taught in their tutor groups for most of their subjects. Maths and English are streamed to support individual progress.
In preparation for the English Baccalaureate, all pupils study Latin in KS3 for two hours per week. They study a modern foreign language in Year 8. Pupils also study History and Geography for two hours per week and have two hours of music to encourage and develop an understanding of our specialism.
All pupils engage in two hours of physical education per week. One hour is delivered as a PE lesson and focuses on general health related fitness. The second hour is a games lesson, for the whole cohort, where pupils are offered a selection of sports and activities to choose from including competitive and non-competitive activities to promote a healthy lifestyle.
ICT is integrated across the curriculum, rather than being studied as one subject. A technician is always on hand to offer technical support in the classroom.
Religious Education is not covered as part of the routinely taught weekly curriculum. Instead we hold dedicated days, every half term, for all year groups to explore elements of faith. The use of whole day approaches helps to encourage community involvement as well as allowing off-Island trips without disrupting the delivery of the academic programme.
Throughout KS3, pupils engage in cross curricular units of work designed to develop their ability to use key skills in a practical setting. An example of this is a hiking and map reading exercise where they are dropped off in
areas around the Island (in small groups supported by a member of staff). They use previously taught map reading, leadership and co-ordinates skills to navigate their way back to school. A central thread to the cross curricular units is the development of skills relevant to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award which all pupils take in Year 9.
All pupils are entered into subjects that form the English Baccalaureate and study the core curriculum for over 50% of their timetable.
In KS3 we organise trips to visit all Sixth Form providers, both on the Island and nearby mainland venues. At The Island Free School we see this is an important step in ensuring that our pupils gain an understanding of the requirements of KS5 prior to taking options for KS4.