Senior School Curriculum


students in science class


The main goals in the teaching of Science, at all levels, are to stimulate a desire to learn and to develop an interest in the world in which we live, not only as a means to achieving examination results but, more importantly, in appreciating the value of knowledge in its own right.

Wherever possible, scientific concepts are introduced through practical work and experimental investigations, carried out by students, individually or in small groups.

In Science, students have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, including:

  • Practical skills
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • IT skills
  • Communication
  • Independent learning
  • Team work

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 to 9

An integrated Science course is taught in Years 7&8. Lessons include theory and experimental work, which allows the students to develop their practical skills and build a better understanding of the fundamental concepts.

Year 7 students study a variety of topics, including Forces, Cells, Reproduction, Sound, Light and Chemical Reactions.

Year 8 topics include Food and Nutrition, the Periodic Table, Electricity and Magnetism, Ecosystems and Separation Techniques.

In Year 9, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught separately by specialist subject teachers.

KS3 courses are based around National Curriculum material and enable students to develop knowledge and experimental skills. The Year 9 courses are designed to provide a good introduction to study at GCSE level.

Assessment takes place by regularly reviewing students’ work, topic tests and an end of year assessment.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 & 11

All students are required to take Science at GCSE level and we offer two options at Sion:

  • AQA Combined Science (Trilogy), where the individual sciences are taught separately, by subject specialists, and which leads to an award worth two GCSEs;
  • AQA Triple Science, in which Biology, Chemistry & Physics are taught as separate subjects, leading to the award of three GCSEs.

Assessment is carried out by reviewing work throughout the course, end of topic tests, more formal extended assessments and mock examinations.

Final assessment, for both the Combined and Triple Science courses includes 2 written examination papers for each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.


Science trips include a Yr8 trip to the Gilbert White Centre, where students complete a variety of ecology activities.

In addition, there is also a very popular weekly STEM Club, with recent activities, including pendulum art, growing crystals and designing, and racing, virtual F1 racing cars.


students drawing fruit


The Art and Design Department at Sion is vibrant and diverse. Students are encouraged to explore ideas, experiment and take risks. Many transferable skills are built upon such as how to undertake research, team work and how to effectively develop and refine an idea. A diverse curriculum aims to appeal to all students’ talents and interests.

Key Stage 3: Years 7 – 9 Topics & Assessment

Students are introduced to a wide range of key techniques and skills in Years 7, 8 and 9. Projects incorporate drawing, painting, print making, sculpting, photography and mixed media. Students are introduced to a wide range of contemporary and traditional artists in order to inspire their own work.

In Year 7 students study the ‘Elements of Art’ project which builds the foundation of skills and understanding that they need to support them in going forward. The second project is ‘Cakes and Sweet Things’ where students study artists such as Wayne Thiebaud to inspire their own paintings, drawings and clay sculptures.

In Year 8 students begin with a Pop Art project which allows them to develop their drawing and painting skills further and finish by making a shoe sculpture. The second project in Year 8 is ‘All About Me’ which teaches key skills in how to create portraiture using different media.

In Year 9 students study short, 7 week projects throughout the year including: ‘Multiple View-Points’, ‘Landscapes and Mark Making’ and ‘Decorative Buildings’. These short projects allow students to embed skills and prepare them for GCSE Art.

Students work is regularly assessed throughout the projects.

Key Stage 4: GCSE Art, Craft & Desgin

At GCSE we offer a popular Art, Craft and Design GCSE course. Coursework forms 60% of the GCSE and the exam in Year 11 makes up the remaining 40%.

A wide range of skills and techniques are developed across the GCSE course where students work in a range of both 2D and 3D media. This scope of study helps prepare them for the exam set in Year 11 and A-Level Fine Art.

Coursework Projects

Natural Forms: Students respond to natural forms using a wide range of media and techniques from drawing with coffee and ink to layering collage and prints. These studies inform the designs and final construction of a final piece sculpted from chicken wire. Artist inspiration comes from various artists including: Peter Randall-Page and Antonio Gaudi.

Portraiture: Students are introduced to a wide range of artists and are able to work more independently as they follow their chosen preferred style. Students produce a final portraits in response to the research undertaken during the project. Trips to The National Portrait Gallery, The Saatchi and The National Gallery offer a great source of inspiration.

Students are assessed at regular intervals during each coursework project and again at the end. All GCSE work undertakes a thorough moderation process including other Art departments and AQA moderators.

The annual summer exhibition is a wonderful event held in the School’s Chapel to celebrate the work produced by GCSE and A-Level Art students. Teachers, parents, students, friends are invited to the event.


A popular Art club is open to all students each week for all Year 7, 8 and 9 students where we undertake a range of projects from making Abstract sculptures to painting murals in the corridors.

‘The Art House’ is a weekly club that allows all GCSE Art students to come into the artroom to work on their Art with their peers.

The Art Department regularly enters local and national competitions. Two of our current students recently won a national ISA competition to design a sports cover. Their artwork will be printed onto 1000’s of programmes for prestigious sporting events event. Another student won the BBFC Black Card Competition which was co judged by representatives from Disney. Her artwork was proudly shown on the big screen before each and every screening of the film ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’. We also run cross-curricular workshops and competitions. Selected students have recently been invited along to after school workshops to support them in entering the Extraordinary Portrait Competition that asks students to produce a portrait of someone has survived genocide.


2 students in class


Choosing the right career path is a challenging task. At Our Lady of Sion School, students are supported with a variety of age appropriate activities in Careers.  The aim is to expose students to a variety of occupations and education choices so that they can consider for themselves the path that is right for them. This includes visiting speakers and ex-students discussing higher education, business and various professions.

We have a range of online resources available for students to utilise in researching study and career options.

Year 9

Careers sessions play an important role in the selection of GCSE subjects during Year 9. Students are encouraged to think reflectively and realistically about their first steps along the decision making path.

Years 10 & 11

In Year 10, students are introduced to the options available at 16+ including A levels, BTECs, Apprenticeships and other pathways. The Autumn Term of Year 11 is a key moment in shaping a student’s future: at Sion each student has an individual ‘action plan’ interview with a follow up to ensure that they are happy with the choices that they have made and, during the Autumn Term, a Careers Evening is held for parents and students as a forum for discussion regarding their next steps.

We welcome local businesses and professionals to speak to our students about career opportunities. For further information regarding careers, please contact Mrs Baxter.


student looking at a smart board


Geography at Our Lady of Sion School is taught to all Year 7-9 students and is a popular option at GCSE and in the Sixth Form. Highlights of the department are the fieldtrips throughout the year to locations including the South Coast, North Downs, Dorset and Barcelona. In our Sixth Form we teach the AQA Specification with Geography regularly achieving excellent results.

Key Stage 3

Years 7 – 9

During Year 7, students learn to distinguish between human, environmental and physical geography. They learn to read Ordnance survey maps, look at urbanisation, weather and climate, and, in the Summer Term, complete an extended project looking at Kenya.

In Year 8, still learning about the different forms of geography, the students look at rivers and coasts, economic activity (farming, industry and tourism) along with World issues and population.  In the Summer Term, they complete an extended project studying India and Asia. In the summer term there is a trip to the River Tillingbourne in Surrey.

In Year 9, we study environmental regions, plate tectonics, resources and the environment and international development. The extended project for this year group is all about the emerging nation of China.

Key Stage 4


Studying for GCSE Geography is a popular option and our students achieve good final grades. Following the 2 year AQA course, students will come across a range of different topics which will help them develop their own informed views about environmental and development issues both here in the UK and further afield.  Study will include: living with the physical environment; challenges in the human environment and geographical applications and skills. Students will sit three exam papers at the end of the two years.

Trips & Enrichment

In the summer term Year 10 take part in a 2 day residential at Osmington Bay, Weymouth. They complete human and physical fieldwork for the Paper 3 as well as completing work towards the content in Papers 1 and 2.


students writing onto paper


Mathematics is the means of looking at the patterns that make up our world and the intricate and beautiful ways in which they are constructed and realised. At Our Lady of Sion we embrace the challenge of Mathematics and believe that everyone can succeed and enjoy this subject.

At Our Lady of Sion, the Mathematics Department aims to provide a stimulating learning environment, in which our students can develop a deep understanding of the core concepts of mathematics, but also form links between them so they can view Maths as one coherent and inter-connected subject.

Students are grouped by prior attainment, in order that they can learn at a pace and level suitable to them. Groupings are reviewed on a half-termly basis throughout the academic year.


Starting this academic year 2022-23 we are utilising the White Rose Maths Scheme of Work throughout Key Stage 3. This SOW aims to promote links being formed between distinct areas of mathematics, and is supported with in-class textbooks, assessments and supplementary resources to provide students with an enriching experience.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 & 11

Our Key Stage 4 students follow the Edexcel International GCSE syllabus (4MA1). This course is assessed through two terminal examination papers; the vast majority of our students are entered at Higher Tier. Results in recent years have been very pleasing. Last academic year 100% of students attained Grade 4 or above, and 2/3 achieved Grade 7 or above. 20% of students achieved a Grade 9.

Some students are afforded the opportunity to study for an additional GCSE in Statistics during Years 10 & 11, and some also study for an Additional or Further Mathematics qualification.

Maths Challenges

Students have the opportunity to enter the annual Mathematics Challenges administered by the UK Mathematics Trust. Weekly practice sessions are run in the build-up to these competitions so that students can build up their confidence prior to the challenge itself. Many students perform extremely well, earning Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates of achievement, and a number have progressed to the even more demanding ‘Kangaroo’ and ‘Junior Mathematical Olympiad’ rounds in recent years.


students playing instruments


Music at Sion covers a wide breadth of genres from Mozart to Rap! We look at Music History, Theory, Performance and Composition to understand the inner workings of Music.

Key Stage 3 – Year 7 to 9

Year 7 students start the year with singing and percussion. They then learn about Classical Music through Haydn and Mozart. Through Beethoven they learn about the transition from Classical to Romanticism before delving deeper into operas, concertos, symphonies and songs without words. They start working on their keyboard skills and develop them through well-known Classical songs such as Fur Elise. They perform to one another in class and compose in groups in the style of the music they are learning.

In Year 8 students start the year with a Songwriting topic where they work in pairs or groups. They then move on to the Impressionist Movement where they discover a deep link between Visual Art and Music. With International Women’s Day in mind, they examine the works of overlooked women composers and how it was possible for them to slip through the cracks.

Year 9 students study Theme and Variations, Film Music, Minimalism and World Music. They compose their own leitmotifs, variations, minimalistic works and chinese music. They perform their compositions for one another and discuss their processes as a class.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 & 11

Students who continue with Music at KS4 complete PEARSON EDEXCEL GCSE MUSIC. They are assessed by one exam, composition and performance.

  • 40% Exam at the end of Year 11 based on the eight set works covered over the course of two years. A listening exam with dictation and an essay question.
  • 30% Two compositions. One free and one briefed.
  • 30% Two performance recordings. One solo and one ensemble.

Trips & Enrichment

Recent trips include:

  • Carolling in Care homes
  • Musical Theatre trip to the West End

There are termly school concerts for children to showcase their playing and singing. There is also a choir: Sion Singers.

Physical Education

student hitting ball with tennis racquet

Physical Education

P.E at Sion encourages a sense of fair play, sportsmanship and consideration, along with a positive attitude towards leading an active healthy lifestyle. The students are encouraged and taught to develop, improve and reach their full potential as an individual. We encourage students to join local clubs to extend their sporting prowess at a higher level.

Key Stage 3 Years 7 – 9

In Key Stage 3, students are offered a broad curriculum which includes football, basketball, hockey, handball, netball, table tennis, rounders, tennis and athletics. Most activities in KS3 take place on-site. In the Summer Term, students are taken to the Worthing Leisure Centre for athletics training and the opportunity to compete in an intra-school athletics league.

Key Stage 4 Years 10 & 11 GCSE

Curriculum PE continues into Year 10 and 11. All students will have an afternoon of sport where they are still offered all the sports from Key Stage 3. They are also offered additional activities such as Squash, badminton and trampolining.

In addition to the curriculum, PE students can choose PE as a GCSE option.

Trips & Enrichment

Various extra-curricular activities run throughout the year. These include a multi-sports club, a football club, a basketball club and a netball club. The clubs are offered to boys and girls.

PD (Personal Development)

students sat outside

PD (Personal Development)

The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at Sion School is viewed as extremely important and is fundamentally linked to the School’s ethos and Mission Statement.

We are aware that respect for others, their beliefs and values is fundamental to the happiness of our community.   We strive to ensure that education takes place in an atmosphere that is caring and protective, and where trust, confidentiality and respect underpin all relationships.

We will ensure that where pupils indicate that they may be vulnerable and at risk, they will get appropriate support as set out in the School’s safeguarding policy.

Teaching will take into account the ability, age, readiness, and cultural backgrounds of our young people to ensure that all can fully access the PD education provision.

In addition to the programme of study, there is PD input through Whole School and Chapel Assemblies, form time, guest speakers and contact with teachers – both pastoral and non-pastoral.

“Consideration Always”

Our ethos, Consideration Always, permeates through all that we do in the daily life of the School, leading to expectations of respect and tolerance, elimination of bullying and allowing every child to develop self-esteem and confidence.

While a wide range of PD topics are covered as part of the programme of study, valuable reinforcement and additional content is delivered in form time, school/chapel assemblies, and by guest speakers and theatre productions. The choice of topic may be dictated or influenced either by current affairs, current safeguarding issues or by initiatives from the pastoral team and may include such areas as anti-bullying, bereavement, keeping safe, online safety, well-being, recycling and other global issues, the power of the media, the British Parliamentary system or study skills.  Resources are supplemented through membership with the PSHE association, Chameleon PDE, The Day (media site) and a number of charitable organisations such as the NSPCC and The National Schools Partnership.  In addition, various aspects of the PD curriculum are covered in Geography, English, PE, Science, F&N and RS.

We are committed to working with parents and carers. Effective PD education is a collaboration between school and home. We encourage our students to discuss issues arising from lessons in the home environment, within their own family context.  The joint aim of the School and parents is to help the children to become emotionally literate and more mature through open and non-judgmental discussion.  We will provide support by offering material for parents and carers to explore with their children, which can be accessed by the parent portal on the Learning Platform.

We are aware that respect for others, their beliefs and values is fundamental to the happiness of our community. We strive to ensure that education takes place in an atmosphere that is caring and protective, and where trust, confidentiality and respect underpin all relationships. We will communicate to parents about their right to withdraw children from any and every aspect of sex education as stated in legislation.

Religious Studies

students in a circle

Religious Studies

The Religious Studies programme at Sion seeks to deliver a stimulating, culturally relevant teaching programme that affirms the individual journey of each student while drawing them into appropriately expressed theological, moral and spiritual issues.

We have a fun and lively environment that students enjoy being a part of. While the curriculum and assessment material is challenging, we use a variety of teaching and learning methods to enable students the best opportunity for meaningful engagement.  The joy of Religious Studies stems in part from a school ethos that expects students to show ‘consideration always’. We are fortunate to have a family atmosphere where students are encouraged to form their own convictions about different perspectives while also maintaining a respectful manner.

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 – 9

Currently we have one lesson a week of Religious Studies.

In Year 7, students learn about the religions of Sikhism and Hinduism as well as exploring the Beginning of Religion and why it is important to study RS.  In Year 8, they focus on the Abrahamic Faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and then explore Humanism.  In Year 9, they start the year with studying and questioning ethical issues and then whether religion is a cause of peace or conflict and end the year learning about Buddhism.

There are ongoing assessments in each topic which are normally essay based and reflective.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 & 11

Religious Studies is an optional subject at GCSE and focuses on Christianity and Sikhism as well as Religious, philosophical and ethical studies in the modern world.  The GCSE broadens students’ opinions and encourages them to have questioning minds whilst studying the beliefs of others.  At the end of Year 11 they sit three exams, the first is two-hours long and the other two are one-hour long.

  • Paper 1 – Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the Modern World
  • Paper 2 – Study of Christianity
  • Paper 3 – Study of a World Faith: Sikhism

Trips & Enrichment

The Religious Studies Department takes GCSE students to a place of worship of the world faith studied as well as virtual tours and pilgrimages throughout the course.

World Languages

students in class

World Languages

French & Spanish

The World Languages Faculty at Our Lady of Sion School offers French and Spanish from Year 7 to A- Level. We have a generous amount of curriculum time for both languages which allow students to truly connect, not just with the language they are learning but also understand more about the culture of countries from the French and Spanish-speaking world. Our teachers are subject specialists with a combined total of more than 40 years’ experience in teaching languages.

Key Stage 3 Years 7-9

All students have three 40-minute periods a week of each language at Key Stage 3. They are taught in mixed-ability form groups in Years 7 and 8 and then are set in Year 9 in preparation for the GCSE Foundation and Higher tiers (see below). Sion has adopted the NCELP method of languages teaching, developed by the University of York, which focuses on high-frequency, “real-world” language from day one of Year 7. Students are not taught by topic area any longer but learn the most often-used phrases in each language, and there is a real emphasis on the sound of language (sometimes called Phonics) to encourage excellent pronunciation and communication skills.

All students have weekly vocabulary tests, conducted either online or in-lesson. In addition, there are two main assessments in each year which focus on speaking, reading and listening skills in alignment with the new GCSE which is being introduced in 2024.

Key Stage 4 Years 10-11

While a language at GCSE is optional at Sion, it’s our expectation that the vast majority of students will elect to take their language learning through to a public examination. Students have four 40-minute lessons a week in each language. The current GCSE is being phased out in 2026 so September 2023 will be the last time we will teach to the legacy AQA course which covers topics as varied as holidays, home town, future plans and the environment. From 2024, we will begin teaching the new specification which focuses much more on the spoken word and comprehension skills, and the use of a fixed set of 1,200 or 1,500 high-frequency words, the intention being to make the GCSE more relevant to real-life Spanish or French.

There are Foundation and Higher tiers at GCSE and the exam is open to all abilities.

Trips & Exchanges

We are now able to offer a full range of exchanges and trips again. Current plans include an exchange with our sister school in Grenoble, a gastronomic tour of Barcelona and a day-trip to Europe’s largest aquarium at Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Foreign Language Spelling Bee

All Year 7 students take part in the Foreign Language Spelling Bee, which is a national competition organised by Routes Into Languages. We start with class competitions and then take 2-3 students through to the regional finals in the spring term, with Nationals being held in the summer term.