Robertsbridge Community College


Our curriculum intent

STEM is a subject founded upon a professional process that utilises the practical application of Science and Mathematics to create new and innovative solutions to real-world problems. Social, moral, and ethical design is at the heart of our curriculum as we endeavour to design with community at the forefront.  From ideation to creation, we will ensure environmental issues are key to our lessons. STEM is a subject where every pupil learns and understands their potential and how hard work and resilience can turn into successes and even profit, changing how we feel about ourselves by improving the world around us. By the time students finish at the College, they will have a plethora of skills in various materials, systems and processes as well as be prepared for the professional world with opportunities for to follow their own enterprise.

At the College, we endeavour to offer a vast experience of subjects. Within the STEM department, we offer a variety of disciplines to equip students with skills that are required for success in all walks of life. In order to offer our students a rich experience within each discipline, we deliver units of work on a carousel of subjects at Key Stage 3. These disciplines include CAD/CAM, Food & Nutrition, Craft & Design, Sustainability, Horticulture and Graphic Design. Students can expect to study each unit for 6 weeks before rotating onto their next unit of study. Within each of these ‘projects’ we develop each student’s ability to Design, Make, Evaluate and understand technical knowledge. We assess these four areas of skills regularly to help students progress within STEM. By the time students reach Year 9, they may have a clear knowledge of the areas of the subject they wish to continue their studies in. We offer an opportunity for students to select two disciplines that they are most interested in. Within this year they are exposed to a variety of projects that will give them the experience of content that is delivered at Key Stage 4 to help them make informed decisions of which subjects they may wish to pursue later in their education. At Key Stage 4 students can opt to specialise within our disciplines. We offer an array of formal qualifications with each discipline to allow students to continue their studies and pursue further education and careers within each area. Our courses are always evolving to support all students and get them to where they wish to be within the STEM industry. Offering both GCSE and vocational courses we endeavour to ensure that there is a course right for each cohort.

As a subject, Food and Nutrition aims to equip students with the ability to cook nutritious and tasty meals, while teaching them where the food has come from, what happens when they cook it and the effect it has on their bodies. Understanding the provenance of food is crucial for students living in the modern world and shaping its future. By showing students how food can be produced in an ethical way, we hope to motivate them to make a positive impact on food culture. We want students to leave our classroom with the potential to embark on exciting careers in hospitality, catering, and food production and simply to be able to feed themselves and their families well for the rest of their lives.

What this looks like in practice

Year 7

Throughout Year 7, the contextual development of skills and knowledge equips students to be able to look at the world around them from a viewpoint of empowerment and independence. By equipping students with the ability to see the world through the eyes of a designer they will be able to see market gaps, real world issues and understand that design can meet the needs of different demographics and the collective. By understanding more of how things are made and why we must take responsibility for the way in which we interact with materials and products we aim to give the students the empowerment to make informed decisions. Not only does this form the bedrock for success as a designer but also develop students’ skills to become better world citizens and empathic thinkers. Students will gain skills in several systems and processes to create an array of end products all of which will be suitable for retail and generating profit. These live briefs give students the understanding of the design industry and the possibility for their own enterprise. Using a range of and making and CAD/CAM skills students will be able to realise that their ideas can be made a reality following the design process from research, ideation through to creation.

Within Food, Nutrition and Horticulture, Year 7 students gain a knowledge of the kitchen appliances and various pieces of equipment to cook nutritious, varied dishes through a series of hands-on application of skills. By understanding hygiene rules and a methodology for washing up students are taught how to keep a tidy workstation. The knowledge and skills delivered and taught in Year 7 form the basis for more complex cooking skills being delivered throughout their time at the College. Our Year 7 students gain an understanding of where our food comes from and how it is produced. Students will also have a greater understanding of the nutrition contained within food and the importance of having a balance of it in their diets to make informed choices on what foods we consume. Year 7 students will have had an introduction to the living garden at the College and the variety of foods that can be grown there. They will start to understand how to grow plants, what they need and when to give it to them but also of the interconnectedness of nature and the environment.

Year 8

Students will have built upon the knowledge gained in Year 7 to achieve within a variety of design areas. Students understand more of the STEM industry and where their career paths can take them within the subject. Understanding the mechanics of the engineered world givens students an insight into how and why things work. Students finish Year 8 understanding conceptual design and industrial engineering, developing their problem-solving abilities and creativity. A platform for self-expression and discovering their identity aims to build self-confidence. Designers fail in order to succeed, replicating this in a safe environment of the classroom embeds resilience and a strive to achieve amongst our students.

Within Food, Nutrition and Horticulture, Year 8 students will be made aware of the impact that agriculture and food consumption have on the planet. They will be asked to start to question the choices that people make in terms of the food that they buy or consume in environmental terms. Students will get a greater understanding of the wide variety of foods that are consumed around the world and why differ from continent to continent. An emphasis on the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables will be made so that they can make healthy choices. Building on the Year 7 introduction to horticulture a wider range of vegetables and fruit will be introduced in Year 8. A more detailed understanding of soil composition and the nutrition that plants need to thrive will be fostered. Greater understanding of the composting process and in particular the successful blend of carbon and nitrogen rich ingredients.

Year 9

Within Design and Technology, students experience the skills and knowledge that will be required to achieve at Key Stage 4 in order to make informed decisions for their GCSE/Course options for Year 10. More intensive projects give students an insight into the qualification whilst keeping experimentation, self-expression, and creativity at the forefront of their work. With deeply embedded links to live briefs, careers guidance and contextual projects students continue to experience the life of professionals working within the field. The opportunity to compete within the subject against competitors from a wider field allows children to understand what it takes to be successful. Students leave Year 9 with an in-depth knowledge of the subject that form firm foundations for success at KS4. Understanding a wide variety of materials and process students can use the skills that they have acquired throughout more junior years of their schooling to create and develop relevant products that answer a real-world need. Through iterative experimentation students lead their own self-directed projects that allow them to explore their interests and hobbies to create enterprise opportunities as well as experience of the world of work.

Through Graphic Design, students experience an industry-relevant lesson structure that focusses on the professional practice. Taking influence from existing practitioners, students learn an array of skills required to be successful within graphic design. Projects are designed to allow for students to explore their creative capabilities whilst encourage self-expression and fun with design. Working on live briefs, students cement an understanding in the needs of others and learn to empathise within their design work to ensure socially, morally, and ethically sound solutions are found to fulfil the needs of real clients. Students are encouraged to speak to the wider community to take on their own design briefs that fit into lessons to allow for them to develop their own design consultancy.

As a culmination to Key Stage 3, Food and Nutrition students deepen their knowledge of cuisine ingredients and cooking methods from around the world. They understand what pathogens need to grow and reproduce so they can avoid food poisoning. By broadening their understanding of seasonality, they can make better environmental choices when picking recipes or food. They will learn how to preserve food that may come as a glut during the growing season and make a chutney to back this up. They will add more kitchen skills to their repertoire with batters, oven baking and bread making to explore the artistry of cooking and develop clear understanding of the industry of catering as well as cooking for themselves and others.

Key Stage 4

Students can select from several Option Subjects within the STEM field to study in Years 10 and 11.

Design & Technology (GCSE)

GCSE Design and Technology prepares students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students gain awareness of the world of work and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental, and economic factors. They are given the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise. The GCSE allows students to study core technical, designing and making principles, including a broad range of design processes, materials techniques, and equipment. They study specialist technical principles in greater depth within an emphasis on a selected material category.

As a GCSE option subject, students follow the AQA Design & Technology specification.

Graphic Design (NCFE Technical Award)

Graphic Design is a form of visual communication. It is a process by which visual information is given form and structure, to communicate a message. Being a Graphic Designer is the profession of visual communication that combines images, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience. It involves designing print or electronic forms of visual information for advertisement, publication, or website. Graphic Design should not be confused with Art and Design or Product Design. It is distinct from these subjects and should be treated as so. The NCFE Level 2 Technical Award in Graphic Design complements GCSE qualifications. It is aimed at 14–16-year-olds studying Key Stage 4 curriculum who are interested in any aspect of graphic design, including sourcing ideas and design. It is equivalent to GCSE grades 8.5-4. This qualification focuses on an applied study of the graphic design sector and students will gain a broad understanding and knowledge of working in the sector. This qualification has been designed to sit alongside the requirements of core GCSE subjects and is appropriate for students who are motivated and challenged by learning through hands-on experiences and through content which is concrete and related directly to those experiences. This Level 2 qualification is appropriate for students who are looking to develop a significant core of knowledge and understanding in graphic design, and an understanding of how to apply their learning to the graphic design sector. 

Food & Nutrition (GCSE)

GCSE Food and Nutrition teaches students the effective and safe cooking skills from planning, preparing through to cooking a variety of food commodities whilst using different cooking techniques and equipment. They develop knowledge and understanding of the functional properties and chemical characteristics of food as well as a sound knowledge of the nutritional content of food and drinks. The course teaches students the relationship between diet, nutrition, and health, including the physiological and psychological effects of poor diet and health. Through the course, students will begin to understand the economic, environmental, ethical and socio-cultural influences on food availability, production processes, diet and health choices. Students gain a knowledge and understanding of functional and nutritional properties, sensory qualities and microbiological food safety considerations when preparing, processing, storing, cooking, and serving food. They understand and explore a range of ingredients and processes from different culinary traditions (traditional British and international) to inspire new ideas or modify existing recipes.

As a GCSE option subject, students follow the AQA Food & Nutrition specification. 

Home Cooking (BTEC)

As a subject, Food and Nutrition aims to equip students with the ability to cook nutritious and tasty meals, while teaching them where the food has come from, what happens when they cook it and the effect it has on their bodies. Understanding the provenance of food is crucial for students living in the modern world and shaping its future. By showing students how food can be produced in an ethical way, we hope to motivate them to make a positive impact on food culture. We want students to leave our classroom with the potential to embark on exciting careers in hospitality, catering, and food production and simply to be able to feed themselves and their families well for the rest of their lives.

As a GCSE option subject, students follow the BTEC Home Cooking specification.

Curriculum overview

Detailed information about the curriculum for each year group can be found in the document below.

Curriculum Map - STEM KS3 2022.pdf

Curriculum Map - GCSE Design & Technology 2022.pdf

Curriculum Map - NCFE Graphic Design 2022.pdf

Curriculum Map - GCSE Food & Nutrition 2022.pdf

Curriculum Map - BTEC Home Cooking 2022.pdf

Subject Leader Self-Reflection - STEM.pdf