The curriculum includes all the activities which promote learning and the growth and development of every student at the College. The curriculum can be thought of as  being made up of four strands: academic, co-curricular, pastoral and unspoken. The unspoken curriculum encompasses the learning and development of students from the way they are treated and the way they are expected to behave. Collectively, these strands form a curriculum which upholds the values and beliefs of the College.


In accordance with the school’s general aims, the mission of the curriculum can be summarised as below:

Cornerstone College Cambridge exists to provide the best possible education for ALL out students regardless of where they are studying- online or onsite.

Cornerstone College Cambridge develops students academically, broadens their experience outside the classroom, inculcates moral values and prepares them to play a full and effective role in their local and global society.

This document serves to set out the College’s curriculum policy and make transparent the way in which the curriculum is structured and delivered to reflect the school’s aims and ethos.


The academic curriculum aims to:

  • Give all students the opportunity to fulfil their potential
  • Encourage the pursuit of excellence
  • Engender a love of learning as preparation for lifelong academic development
  • Develop intellectual curiosity and confidence
  • Help students achieve the best possible qualifications and skills for entry to higher education or the workplace
  • Encourage students to take pride in their performance
  • Cater for individual learning needs

Provide sufficient flexibility for extra support or stretch where needed while ensuring equal access and opportunity for all

  • Equip students with effective life and learning skills in readiness for life beyond the College and in preparation for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in British society and as a responsible Global citizen
  • Provide opportunities for depth and rigour whilst retaining breadth and coherence

The Cornerstone College Cambridge curriculum offers students a wide range of subject choice without compromising the opportunity to excel in co-curricular activities.


Opportunities exist within the curriculum for students to develop core skills that enhance and enable their lives and  learning. Development of linguistic ability is achieved through taught English or English as an Additional language lessons. Students can choose their preferred Modern Foreign Language to pursue towards GCSE.

Mathematics is compulsory for all students to I/GCSE level, providing the opportunity for development of numeracy, good  logic and problem-solving skills. Application of core mathematical skills is reinforced through experimental and experiential  work across the curriculum; notably (but not exclusively) in science and social sciences.

Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught as discrete subjects using the  laboratories in and outside the college.

The College places great emphasis on the importance of scientific enquiry through investigative work, instilling in students a sense of intrigue and objective questioning of the world around them.

Opportunities for the appropriate application of technology to enhance learning abound and the College is continuing  to seek new ways in which technology can be used to genuinely enrich the teaching and learning experience. While we continue to develop a sense of digital literacy and citizenship, students are encouraged to select appropriate technology to assist their learning.

The College’s core values underpin our approach to the development of students as individuals and the moral /social code through which they treat one another, their environment, and the College community. Firmly established networks of tutors and House Parents ensure that students receive an appropriate balance of support and challenge within the safety of the college’s exemplary pastoral systems.

At cornerstone we ensure that there are a plethora of avenues and options for physical, aesthetic, and creative development exist both within and beyond the taught curriculum. An enamours amount of options are available for students of all levels and abilities to participate in team sports, art, musical events, mission trips etc.


As a college our aim is to promote British Values, preparing our students for life and success in a modern Britain. A great deal of emphasis is placed upon expanding the horizons for each student, and this includes developing the core skills of service, love, tolerance, respect, teamwork, sacrifice, resilience and building self-esteem. We believe these values and qualities are important in order to play a full and meaningful role in society and on a global stage and are promoted via the boarding house system that lends itself to cultural and sporting competition, democratic principles, social mixing, the development of first-class pastoral care and enhanced PSHE.

Cornerstone  is dedicated to promoting values that ensure that our students develop a strong sense of social and moral responsibility. We prepare students for life in Modern Britain and beyond because values such as individual liberty, democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect, and tolerance are embedded within the curriculum and the school’s own core values. In addition, these values are promoted at various times throughout the school year both for our online and onsite students, and regularly in college events. Additionally, our rules and regulations are intended to foster the right habits and responsibilities that encourage a happy, harmonic experience for the benefit of everyone in our school community.

Our school leaders and Governors, are responsible for providing a curriculum which:

  • is broad and balanced, complies with legislation and provides a wide range of subjects which prepare students for the opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences of life in Modern Britain actively promotes the fundamental

British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance

  • promotes tolerance of and respect for people of all faiths [or none], cultures and lifestyles through effective spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of students, including by engaging students in extracurricular activity and volunteering in their local community
  • is supported by a well-rounded programme of talks which offer clear guidance on what is right and wrong


We endeavour to ensure that students:

  • Cornerstone students are reflective about their own beliefs and perspectives on life, and the extent to which they are the same as/different to others’ faith, feelings, and values.
  • Cornerstone students show an interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and appreciate the viewpoints of others.
  • Cornerstone students have a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about the world around them and participate actively in artistic, sporting, or cultural activities.
  • Cornerstone students recognise the difference between right and wrong, understand that actions have consequences, and apply this in their own lives by respecting the law.
  • Cornerstone students cooperate well, celebrate diversity, and resolve conflicts effectively.
  • Cornerstone students engage positively with life in a democracy; and
  • Cornerstone students understand and appreciate the history, heritage and wide-ranging cultural influences that underpin our individual and shared experience of life in modern Britain.

In short, we believe that we allow our students at Cornerstone to recognise right from wrong, resolve conflicts, understand and explore diversity, develop a moral code, understand others beliefs and understand how communities function. These qualities will allow them to participate fully in life in Modern Britain.




Cornerstone recognises its obligations under the Equality Act 2010, and we are committed to promoting the equality and diversity of all those in our community. We oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination and will make every effort to comply with the requirements of the Act and its subsequent provisions.

In parallel with the promotion of fundamental British values, the College is committed to being inclusive; we believe that having a diverse population of students and staff is a one of the school’s greatest strengths. As described above, one of the principal aims of the curriculum is to allow every student to achieve their potential. Thus, it is essential that inclusion and equality of opportunity are evident in all areas of the curriculum.

Through the delivery of the curriculum, the school aims to:

  • Foster an environment free of discrimination, both in and out of the classroom, in which all members of the college community are treated with respect and dignity
  • Ensure that classrooms are safe places without prejudice
  • Meet the specific needs of all students by ensuring that there is no unlawful discrimination on the grounds of any protected characteristic(s)
  • Encourage staff and students to challenge any negative attitudes
  • Avoid the use of stereotypes in examples or the creation of resources
  • Actively promote multiculturalism in lessons and to celebrate the multicultural nature of society
  • Ensure that classrooms are places where students can challenge, discuss, explore, and form lasting values, morals and opinions
  • Encourage staff to plan lessons and taking note of the diversity in their classes
  • Employ a variety of teaching and assessment methods that guarantee all students have equal access to opportunities and participation

By teaching students to respect diversity, the College aims to help them form positive relationships, tackle prejudice, and make positive decisions throughout their lives by inculcating positive, open-minded attitudes.


The college currently have no student an EHC plan (sponsored by the local council). Appropriate support measures and plans will however be put in place as and when we have such student(s)



The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, made  under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, make Relationships Education compulsory for all  students receiving primary education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for all students receiving secondary education.

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) continues to be a compulsory component of our offering.

At the College we believe RSE should not be delivered in isolation, but be firmly rooted in our Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme. This is also supplemented by our pastoral curriculum revisiting themes and current issues in assemblies, house discussions, and tutor groups.

Relationship and Sex Education at Cornerstone College Cambridge is part of lifelong learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about respect, love and care and the benefits of making and maintaining a healthy stable relationship. We recognise that to be human is to experience sexual feelings, seek connections with other people and develop relationships which may be physical or non-physical.

In teaching students RSE the school has due regard for the Equality Act. At Cornerstone College Cambridge, RSE seeks to enable young people to feel positive about themselves, to manage relationships and access the infrastructure of support available via teachers and other appropriate adults. It is also a key  means through which we promote Traditional British Values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance with those with different faiths and beliefs)such as tolerance and acceptance of other sexualities.

Further details are provided in the schools RSE policy document and PSHE scheme of work.


Year 11 provides students with their first real opportunity to make decisions about their own education.

We believe that making GCSE choices is really the start of a process that will continue throughout an individual’seducation, and it is an important opportunity to give serious thought about interests and talents.

Core Subjects

In Year 11 the core curriculum is made up of the following subjects:









There are relatively few constraints on what a student may or may not choose.

We firmly believe that students should have the opportunity to study those subjects they enjoy and feel that they will do best in. To this end, a subject choice combination that falls outside of the blocking scheme may still be accommodated.

The Head of Curriculum adapts the timetable blocking scheme each year to cater for all combinations of choices.


Setting in Year 11

Setting does not take place within the college due to the size of the cohort.

Off timetable Lessons

It is the intention of the College that all academic lessons take place within the normal timetable framework in order to allow students full access to the co-curricular programme.

Supported Study in Year 11

Supported Study remains an option for those who wish to study one fewer GCSE subject in order to make time to focus ontheir other work or wider College commitments. In Year 11 a member of staff will be on hand to supervise independentwork and will provide non-specialist support and advice on methods of study.

PSHE in Year 11

The PSHE programme continues with Year 11 students studying two hours per week. A specialist programme is followed as students develop greater academic maturity.

Details of the structure of these courses can be found in the PSHE scheme of work.

English as an Additional Language in Year 11

Separate provision continues for students for whom English is not their first language. Specialist EAL teaching takes place in the timetable time otherwise allocated to a first modern language.





The Sixth Form at Cornerstone College

Moving into the Sixth Form is a very significant step in any student’s academic and personal life. For the first time, students have a completely free choice of subjects, and have the opportunity to study those that interest them most in real depth.

In timetabled lessons, teachers will increasingly be looking to students to take charge of their own studies. Teachers will help to guide students through the key parts of the course and will set assignments that will develop understanding, butthey will also expect students to take much more responsibility for their own learning.

Our aim is to help students to prepare for independent work and study at university or in a career. Before accepting the challenge of a Cornerstone College Sixth Form education, we expect a commitment from students to invest time and effort in sustained and thought-provoking academic endeavour.

6th Form Curriculum

The College recognises that all students have different academic strengths, unique learning skills and a wide spectrum of talents and interests this is therefore reflected in our subject choices at A ‘levels and University Foundation. Despite the potentially disruptive influence of government reform, the College has taken advantage of enforced change to better tailor its provision according to individual need.

Students will be able to select a programme to meet their needs and aspirations. This will be in addition to, not at the sacrifice  of, all the other opportunities that College students enjoy in team sports, music, leadership, the creative arts etc.

The flexibility of the school day and our unique boarding / extended day model means that we can maximise the use of  additional teacher time without compromising the opportunity to participate in all the other rich areas of College activity.

The 6th Form Academic Programme

As described above, students are expected to study four subjects in the sixth form.

The following subjects may be chosen in the sixth form:










Further Mathematics





Students study for 5.5 hours per A-Level subject per week .

Requirements for sixth form entry

Cornerstone College Cambridge has a general requirement that all its sixth form students have achieved an average GCSE score of 5, although most entrants will achieve a higher GCSE average than this. This is the standard entrance hurdle for acceptance into the lower sixth form.

Some subjects do not require previous study at GCSE. For most subjects, however, a grade 5 or above is a reasonable minimum for acceptance onto an A-level course.

PSHE in the Sixth Form

The PSHE/UPC programmes are designed to help foster/ nurture healthy relationships, emotional and mental health,  Economic Education and well-being as well as provoke debate, engage critical thinking skills, and challenge some easily made assumptions. These skills will be essential for future success and will help prepare students for their next step after Cornerstone College.


Many students, but by no means all, have clear ideas about what they want to do after leaving the College. Throughout their school journey students receive careers, further and higher education advice through PSHE and their tutor sessions.

Once in sixth form, this support becomes more frequent and personalised through a Programme supported by specialist sixth form tutors. This enables students to make the right choices about their next step after college, be that university, work or something different.

Year 11 lessons include understanding skills for success in the 21-century workplace and business.

Year 12 sessions include a range of talks related to career pathways and higher education options from university representatives. So as not to intrude upon Y13 lessons, students are encouraged to attend university open days in the latter part of the summer term in Year 12. Throughout the year, those considering either a US education, Competitive Admissions or a medical/dental career, benefit from additional support ensuring they are prepared appropriately and ready to make a compelling application. This includes preparation for SAT tests and UCAT/BMAT tests.

In Year 13 all applications are made online. References are written by the students’ Tutor and head of Sixth form; this is done after consultation with subject teachers and other members of staff who have been involved with the development of the students as they move through the school. These are open references, and the applicant is welcome to see a copy of the report written about them. Students receive support from their personal tutor when assembling their personal statements and they are encouraged to have their statements criticised by teaching staff with expertise in their chosen area of study. For those who wish to receive it and this is very often the majority of our students, interview technique training is also available; for those studying medicine or applying to Oxbridge, further specific counselling is made available. For those applying to Medicine support is available to prepare for admissions interview. In the run up to, and following the publication of results in the summer, a number of staff are on hand to advise students on the most appropriate course of action according to the outcome of their exams helping them to navigate adjustment and clearing if needed. Ongoing support is available to recent leavers who plan to reapply in the years following their departure from the College.


Preparation for Oxbridge applications begins early in any student’s education if they are to successfully demonstrate the ability and aptitude for learning required to earn a place at these prestigious universities. Through the Academic Enrichment and Empowerment Programmes offered at Cornerstone College, students are carefully guided to give them the best possible chance of success by our external Cambridge tutors and internal college tutors.

In the early part of the Autumn term in Year 12, candidates hoping to apply to Oxford or Cambridge, medicine or one of the other G5 universities present themselves at a meeting convened by the principal. Subsequent to their demonstrating the required acumen and aptitude during the Autumn term, each is assigned to a tutor who will help and advise them in the continual development of their experience and skills. Their academic performance is scrutinised throughout the year, and they are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities to extend the standard curriculum: extra lessons, personal research, wider reading, educational visits, work experience and external courses become the norm.

In the spring term of Year 12 the College hosts several online and in person seminars for identified students. The seminars provide an opportunity for applicants to meet with students and past students from representation universities to learn more about courses and the application process.

In the Autumn term of Year 13 academic progress continues to be carefully monitored and candidates are expected to attend practice interviews with teaching staff of both a general and subject specific nature.

The Oxbridge preparation programme is designed to supplement rather than replace an individual’s personal preparation which will include research and reading widely and beyond the constraints of the A2 specifications. it has been our experience, year after year, that those who engage most actively in preparation have the highest chance of earning a place.


Thanks to our relationship with Gravitas in the US, we are able to offer our students top flight advice on applying to US colleges and universities.


Provision for the Gifted and Talented

At Cornerstone, students who are considered to be of exceptional ability in many subjects are identified by the SENDCo, are as such and participate in special enrichment activities organised by the college.


Students who are considered of exceptional ability in any individual subject should be identified and provided for by the department. (There may well, of course, be considerable overlap with the group above). The SENDCo will inform the principal at least annually of any changes to the department’s identification criteria and to the department’s list of G&T students.

The identification of gifted and talented students involves using as many possible sources as possible such as:

  • information from parents
  • information from previous schools / colleges
  • results of scholarship and common entrance examinations
  • results of CAT tests
  • teacher nomination

Teaching and Learning

The progress of gifted and talented students is heavily dependent on what happens in the classroom and the challenge

For the teacher is to meet the needs of each individual to ensure their potential is fulfilled.

Gifted and talented students benefit from specific teacher support, and in some cases may need it more than others because they may feel isolated or out of touch with their peers either through being given a different task or simply because of their ability. Classroom tasks for gifted and talented should include differentiated activities which extend the core learning tasks rather than replace them. Methods of differentiation include by input, by outcome, by resource, by support, by grouping, by information, by role and by dialogue.

Where possible, gifted and talented students should be given regular opportunity to work in groups with other able children to prevent a false sense of superiority as this can lead to embarrassment or isolation.

Work should allow gifted and talented students to experience failure or difficulty from time to time so that they are not suddenly confronted with impossibly difficult work after a long period of easy lessons and tests.

Enrichment and acceleration

The College provides for gifted and talented in all three ways.

Enrichment occurs in the taught curriculum and through the Enrichment Programmes. Details of enrichment in the taught curriculum can be found within individual departments schemes of work. The College prides itself on the breadth and quality of enrichment opportunity that exists outside in the broader spheres of College life.

Some students will enter examinations early. Occasionally, some students are accelerated (in the year above their age group) but this usually only happens when students have been accelerated at a previous school to give continuity.






The College operates a policy of integration for students needing learning support, while providing additional help through extra tuition from specialist teachers, dispensations in examinations and monitoring as necessary.

The College aims to recruit students who will cope with the academic demands and pass the GCSE hurdle for entry into the 6th Form. Children who have experienced some learning difficulties but are able to achieve 50%in subjects at Common

Entrance and have interests and talents that can be nurtured and developed here should thrive.

The College has a SENCo who leads learning support for the college. Students identified with specific learning difficulties will be issued with an Individual Education Plan and their progress monitored. Subject teachers are informed  about the student’s specific needs, and the SENDCo will work with staff and students to ensure that appropriate strategies are in place.

Specialist support lessons may also be recommended and these will be taught within small groups, pairs or individually, according to the identified specific needs. Such lessons will take place around the demands of a student’s academic timetable and co-curricular activities. We are keen to ensure that every opportunity exists for students to achieve their full potential and students are encouraged to approach the Learning Support department if they feel we can be of any help.

As students approach public examinations additional support will be offered which will cover such areas as study skills including revision and examination techniques. The Learning Support department will do all it can to ensure that students entitled to access arrangements for public examinations receive their entitlement.

The college will have regard to any legislative change when providing support for any student with Special Educational Needs.


Electronic reports are completed for each student by their teachers each half term and other termed breaks. These are then sent to the parents and monitored by the tutors. The reports are in place with the formative assessment of a student’s progress as they move through the college.

The system provides an integrated approach that ensures information regarding student progress is consistent amongst staff, students, and parents. By reporting electronically, formative assessment is more consistent and time efficient.

Every student receives a report twice per term. The process begins by subject teachers entering student grades through a web-based portal. Each student receives an attainment grade (aligned to projected outcome in their next public exam) as well as effort grades for prep and class work. At the discretion of the principal, the report can be adapted to any desired assessment criteria. Teaching staff are also required to make a short comment on the student’s progress since the last assessment. Character limits are in place to ensure that the comment is succinct and suitably targeted.

Once the subject grades and comments are complete, students meet with their personal tutors to discuss their report.

One of the great strengths of the system is that students, staff and parents are working with assessment criteria that are understood by all. The reports encourage (require) frequent dialogue between tutors and tutees and the process has proved to be highly motivating for the students. Students in year 11 and above set themselves target grades.

The system also focuses teaching staff on aspects of reporting and assessment; improves accountability e.g. prep marking and is aligned to the whole college marking policy; this assists in auditing / work scrutiny by senior management.

Parents have appreciated the regular, transparent updates on progress and feel more centrally involved in the education of their children.

Parents Evenings

The college parents are in the main from overseas. The college does not have formal parents’ days but is open to parent visits at any time. However, we do have occasional evenings where local guardians and host families can come into the college and meet with the academic and pastoral teams.


Academic Management Team

The principal manages a team of senior staff and is responsible for the implementation, performance and monitoring of the academic curriculum.

Heads of Department

Heads of Department are responsible to the Vice Principal for all aspects of the work done in their departments.






Specification Title

Biology (0610)CIEBiology

Chemistry (0620)

Science (0653)CIEScience
English (9EN0)CIE

English Language

English Literature (0475)

CIEEnglish Literature

Mathematics (0607)


Business Studies (0450)


Business Studies

Economics (0455)



Sociology (0495)






Spanish (0530)CIE


Enterprise (0454)CIEEnterprise
Religious Studies (0490)CIEReligious Studies
Information and Communication Technology (0417)CIEInformation and Communication Technology






Specification Title

Biology (9700)CIEBiology

Chemistry (9701)

Physics (9702)CIEPhysics
English (9093)CIE

English Language

English Literature (9695)

CIEEnglish Literature

Mathematics (9709)


Business Studies Business (9609)


Business Studies

Economics (9708)



Sociology (9699)



Psychology (9990)



Spanish (9719)CIE


Politics (9PL0)PearsonPolitics

Law (9084)


Further Maths (9231)

CIEFurther Maths
Biblical Studies (9484)CIEBiblical Studies

Digital Media and Design (9481)

CIEDigital Media and Design
Divinity (A Level only) (9011)CIEDivinity
Global Perspectives & Research (9239)CIEGlobal Perspectives & Research
Thinking Skills (9694)CIEThinking Skills


International Foundation Course




Specification Title




Further Maths

CIEFurther Maths

Mathematics (9709)


Business Studies Business


Business Studies














Art and DesignPearsonArt and Design
Biblical StudiesCIEBiblical Studies

Digital Media and Design

CIEDigital Media and Design
Global Perspectives & ResearchCIEGlobal Perspectives & Research
Thinking SkillsCIEThinking Skills
Work Skills CoursePearsonWork Skills Course



Date of this policy:01/09/2023

Policy drawn up by: Principal

Date of review: 01/09/2024