The curriculum is much more than just a series of lessons. It includes the culture, attitudes and relationships which contribute to a high-quality experience for all students in our School. We provide a broad, knowledge rich, and rigorous curriculum, with challenge at its heart.  

Our curriculum will inspire every young person to be the very best version of themselves both academically and personally, leaving them exceptionally well prepared for their adult lives. 

The 9 guiding principles of our curriculum 

  • Challenge lies at the heart of our curriculum. It goes beyond what is statutory or typical; students are encouraged to deepen their understanding of the fundamentals of their learning at every opportunity. 
  • Our curriculum is fully inclusive. All students have access to a broad range of experiences for as long as possible, regardless of prior attainment or additional needs. 
  • Our curriculum is knowledge rich, with subject curricula designed to ensure that any ‘powerful’ knowledge and skills that are critical to future success are regularly re-visited. 
  • Our curriculum is expertly planned and is therefore sequenced to enable students to build their knowledge and skills towards ambitious agreed end points. 
  • Wherever appropriate our curriculum gives students the opportunity to personalise their experience, thereby facilitating enjoyment and success for all. 
  • The importance of reading and wider literacy skills is a key thread that runs through our curriculum. As well as broadening students’ vocabulary, all subjects will develop students’ subject-specific literacy, so they can speak, read and write as, for example, a Historian, an Artist or a Physicist. 
  • A carefully considered and inclusive extra-curricular programme supports broader and deeper understanding of the taught curriculum, as well as developing the cultural capital our young people need to be global citizens. 
  • Students' personal development, including careers education, is central to our curriculum, through all subject areas, as well as PSHE lessons, tutor time, assemblies and off-timetable activities. 
  • Homework and summative assessment tasks are strategically designed to promote the concepts of regular review and spaced practice, therefore contributing to a long-term retention of knowledge and skills.  

Each subject area has developed a curriculum which is built around core concepts that run through it, and the understanding of these are fundamental to becoming successful learners. 

We place a high value on our teachers as experts in their subject areas. We want our students to have access to the best that has been thought and said, and with this in mind our teachers think carefully about what to teach and how best to teach it. We want students’ future options to be as broad as possible, so we place emphasis on the breadth of our curriculum at all key stages.  

In Key Stage 3 we balance the personalisation of each student’s curriculum with a strong desire to provide every child with the broadest experience possible of the creative, performance and technical subjects, as well as languages and humanities, whilst maintaining a strong focus on the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, PSHE, RE and PE.  

In Key Stage 4, the curriculum is a mixture of both core and optional subjects and is structured to allow for maximum flexibility of choice. Students continue to benefit from a wide Personal Development programme, including PSHE, careers advice and guidance, and a range of extracurricular activities. 

In Key Stage 5 we also provide a rich and broad curriculum, based upon A Level qualifications drawn from a wide range of subject areas. Students’ A Level choices are complemented by a number of additional courses in Year 12, which have been carefully selected and designed to further enhance the range of knowledge, skills and experiences that they have access to. We do not limit student choice through pre-arranged option blocks and students make their choice of options from the broad range of subjects available with the support of the very best guidance that the School can provide. We see the Sixth Form journey as a vital transition to adult life and so our students participate in PSHE sessions that aim to develop them as young adults, an extra-curricular programme to expand their transferable skills and post-18 preparation to ensure they are ready for life beyond school. 

Our approach to teaching and learning is informed by evidence. No fads, no knee-jerk initiatives, just great pedagogy that is grounded in academic research. We believe students are more likely to remember all they have learned if the delivery of that knowledge has been carefully sequenced and planned, and if the climate for learning is the very best it can be. We work hard to ensure our curriculum is coherent, with learning building over time, which enables students to attach new knowledge to old in a manner that is efficient and sustainable. Lessons are built on challenge with scaffolding provided to ensure all students can be active and engaged in their learning. Feedback is an ongoing part of lessons and students will receive lots of verbal guidance to support their future learning, alongside the written feedback from key assessment tasks. This curriculum is then implemented skilfully by our staff, who are supported by a personalised professional learning programme throughout the year that ensures they are also the best that they can be.   

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Key Stage 3
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Key Stage 4
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Key Stage 5

For further information about our co-educational Sixth Form, please visit

Regular Review Booklets
The Regular Review booklets provide clear information about what is taught when in each subject, what prior knowledge could be revisited prior to each topic and recommended resources for reviewing the topic.
Assessment & Marking Policies
Please click on the PDFs below to read our Assessment Policy and the booklet containing subject specific assessment policies.
Exam Results

Key Stage 4 Results 2023

  • The school’s provisional progress 8 score for 2023 is +0.50
  • The school’s attainment 8 score is 68.17
  • The % of pupils who’ve achieved a strong pass (grade 5 or above) in English and maths at the end of KS4 is 96%
  • The % of pupils entering for the English Baccalaureate is 39%
  • The % of pupils who’ve achieved the English Baccalaureate at grade 5 or above is 23%

Please click here to see the DfE Schools Performance Tables which compare school performance, characteristics and other data locally and nationally.

Key Stage 5 Results

Attainment, Retention and Destination data for the school's 16-18 performance can be found here 


Literacy & Reading at Marling School

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development…. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential. - Kofi Annan.

At Marling School, we are committed to developing the literacy and reading skills of all our students, in the firm belief that it will support their learning and raise standards across the curriculum.To support literacy and to develop a love at reading at Marling, we do the following:

KS3 students have a fortnightly library lesson in which they read and discuss texts aloud and work through the KS3 Bronze, Silver and Gold reading schemes.KS3 students have a fortnightly literacy lesson to develop their spelling, reading comprehension skills, oracy, grammar and writing.KS3 and 4 students read as part of a regular programme of tutor time activities. This includes silent reading as well as a booklet of texts that can be read aloud to demonstrate reading skills and expand vocabulary, while giving students the opportunity to learn about and discuss a range of interesting topics from the environment, to health and well-being, to equality and human rights. Mini Debating takes place fortnightly in KS4-5 tutor groups for students to discuss important world issues. During the tutor time students develop their oracy (ability to communicate ideas clearly) , learn to practise expressing ideas coherently and, most importantly, listen to different viewpoints.

In KS5, departments share suggested reading and super curricular lists with students prior to starting Y12. Lists of Recommended Super Curricular Reads per subject are also available in the library.As part of the Marling Diamond, Year 12 students volunteer in KS3 library lessons to hear students read aloud.Teachers and Support Staff display ‘I am currently reading…’ posters in their work spaces to share their love of reading. Students’ literacy is tested in Y7 and 10 and interventions are put in place as necessary. All the data is shared with colleagues to inform their teaching and scaffolding.Poets and writers come into school to give talks and groups of students attend the Cheltenham Literature Festival each year.Prizes are given to students who complete the Library Reading Scheme. Those who finish the scheme by Term 5 are invited to a ‘Laureates Lunch’ as well.We celebrate World Book Day each year and this year we are planning a Whole School Agatha Christie event. All departments focus on Dynamic Dialogue and Disciplinary Literacy in their lessons so students can ‘Read/ Write/ Listen and Speak like a (eg Scientist). Keywords are displayed and work is assessed using Whole School Literacy Codes.