The Foundations Curriculum - Years 7 & 8

The year 7 and 8 curriculum is known as the ‘Foundations’ curriculum. This curriculum is designed very carefully to ensure a smooth transition to secondary school and then onwards into GCSE subjects.  By the end of the Foundation years, learners will have developed four key learning skills:


Knowledge – Understanding, recalling and applying key aspects of the curriculum.

Independence – Having the skills and motivation to learn alone, including meeting deadlines for work.

Effort – Embracing challenge and persevering in the difficult task of learning.

Accomplishment– Displaying behaviour for learning, relating to others, and completing work in a professional way.  Pupils will develop the “Ethic of Excellence”.


These skills will be taught, developed and reported on in all of their subjects:

The Foundations curriculum is made up of both ‘linear’ subjects, (which pupils study all year) and ‘challenge’ subjects, which pupils study for one term, before moving on to another challenge.
The challenges are designed to give pupils quality time to explore new learning, experiment with ideas and develop multiple skills whilst they work towards a set outcome.  It also allows GTS to deliver the full suite of national curriculum subjects without narrowing pupil’s choices as well as looking beyond the constraints of a more traditional curriculum.


The challenges are named after each faculty.  In year 7 the challenges contain the following content.

Solutions: Pupils will complete a series of challenges using knowledge and skills developed through outdoor learning, physical and human geography in and around the local environment.

Expressions: Pupils will create a Live Art Installation and gallery experience based around the story and themes from ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ The performance will include a trial of Oscar Diggs in which members of the audience form the jury.

Connections: Pupils will create a range of nutritious food and technological products based on the theme of minimising the human impact on our surroundings and the Earth’s finite resources.  The evaluation will include predictions for the future.

*The challenges for year 8 are still under construction to be ready to be taught from September 2020 and will build on the existing knowledge/structures whilst becoming more focused on the explicit demands of the national curriculums for Science and History.


The ‘linear’ subjects that the pupils will study are English, Maths, MFL (Modern Foreign Languages), PE, IT, PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) and The Big History Project’. 

The Big History Project is a project rooted in providing pupils with a deep conceptual understanding of the universe. Initially designed by the Bill Gates foundation, GTS has adapted its resources to enable us to deliver this rich learning experience to pupils at GTS.  Pupils will begin their learning 13.8 billion years ago and through careful investigation will track the development of the universe up to the present day and beyond, giving rise to important questions about the future of planet earth.  We want our pupils to be able to truly understand their place in the origins of the planet and humankind so that they can contribute fully to the future direction of the world and benefit the generations to come.

How Are The Challenges Delivered?

Challenge subjects will provide 12 periods over the two-week timetable, this is taught in sessions of 100 minutes.  This significant amount of time will allow learners to dig deeply into subjects that interest them and allow them time to reach meaningful and significant outcomes.  Two teachers will work with the learners for six periods each.  Each Challenge will last one term.  When learners start a new challenge, they will have a different pair of teachers working with them.  The Big History Project allows for 14 periods over the two-week timetable.  Again, this investment in time will allow learners to dig deeply into this fascinating project.  The project will last for the whole year and will be delivered by a team of two teachers.