The four principal values of ‘Lead Learning’, ‘Every Child – No Excuses’, ‘High Expectations’ and ‘No Islands’ are central to the culture and ethos of South Shields Community School. The philosophy of ‘Growth Mindset’ underpins the curriculum and learning to enable pupils to focus on and develop positive learning attitudes and attributes.

At South Shields Community School we are committed to enabling all our students to enjoy learning to become independent learners.  We aim to make learning an exciting and interesting experience for all our students. We have high expectations for every student to ensure that all students reach or exceed their potential through the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum.

The school follows a one week timetable of twenty five lessons of one hour in length. There are also five tutor time sessions of 30 minutes to focus on British values, literacy (Drop Everything And Read (DEAR time)), numeracy, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development (SMSC) and health and personal learning activities.

At South Shields Community School we offer a stimulating and varied curriculum designed to be broad and balanced and in line with statutory requirements but also providing wide ranging opportunities for personalising individual students’ learning programmes from year 7 to year 11. At the heart of our curriculum is the promotion of British values of tolerance of other faiths, democracy, individual liberty, mutual respect and the rule of law.

We realise the importance of a holistic approach to education. For this reason we actively promote and provide extra-curricular activities beyond the standard school hours. This includes academic stretch workshops, music, drama, art clubs; The Independent learners club; external speakers; outdoor learning opportunities; sport clubs; a wide range of SMSC school trips and visits; career information, advice and guidance college visits, careers fairs and business partner activities.

Key Stage 3

South Shields Community School operates a two year Key Stage 3. In Years 7 and 8 all students study English, maths, a modern foreign language, science, history, geography, RE, PE, art, design and technology, drama and music. Students have one library lesson per fortnight where they assess their reading progress through the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme. We believe that this broad and balanced curriculum allows students to fully develop their literacy and numeracy skills as well as developing their inquiring and creative minds. SMSC and health and personal learning activities are also incorporated into the curriculum, alongside careers, information and guidance education.

Key Stage 4

In Year 9, 10 and 11 students continue to study a broad and balanced curriculum. Students follow a core curriculum of English Language and Literature, maths, double or triple award science, ICT and core PE. Students also follow three or four “option subjects” which they study for two hours a week. For most students at least one of these subjects is either geography, history, computer Science or a modern foreign language (French and/or Spanish). There are a wide variety of GCSE choices, supplemented by a small number of BTECs and other vocational courses. Across all age ranges and throughout the curriculum we have a skills based approach to learning to help our students become independent learners to prepare them for working life in the 21st century. Some students follow an alternative curriculum which is enriched with personal development, literacy and numeracy activities, alongside enrichment and work experience opportunities. All of these subjects are studied as three year linear qualifications with exams sat at the end of Year 11.


Passport to Success was recently introduced at the school to focus students on taking responsibility for enhancing their own academic progress while at the same time developing a set of key skills necessary for life beyond the classroom. Our aim is that every student will leave with the qualifications and employability skills they need for life beyond School. In order to graduate, students need to be making expected or better progress across eight subjects, including English and maths. They also need to have completed all eleven of the Employability Skills, namely:

Contributing to discussions – taking an interest in topics and expressing their ideas

Presentation Skills – building their public speaking skills to explain their ideas

Independent Study – taking responsibility for their own learning

Problem Solving – finding solutions to problems

Resilience – not giving up when faced with obstacles

Teamwork – putting effort into working with others

Leadership – taking responsibility for leading a group or event

Self-presentation – showing pride in themselves

Citizenship – being aware of the needs of others

Active Participation – getting involved in groups, either inside or outside of school

Cultural Experiences – learning more about their own and other cultures through new experiences


Students can graduate at three levels at the end of the academic year:

Pass – Expected progress or better in at least 8 subjects, including English and Maths

Merit – Good progress in at least 5 subjects, including English and Maths. No less than expected progress in 8 subjects.

Distinction – Good progress in at least 8 subjects, including English and maths.