The Friday Curriculum

"The rich and varied ‘Friday curriculum’ exposes pupils to a wealth of useful learning." Ofsted 2021

Our unique and bespoke Friday Curriculum was born out of a curriculum review in 2017 where we looked at what our students actually needed - in addition to their National Curriculum programme of study - to give them the best possible chances for leading a happy, successful and fulfilling life after Sunnydown. The Friday Curriculum is split into Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and happens every Friday morning. In the afternoon, forms have their weekly PSHE lesson at KS3; PSHE & Personal Development at KS4.

Perhaps the best evidence of its success is what the students themselves have been observed saying during the Friday Curriculum:

"It's been good today - I've really enjoyed learning about other countries."

Students were observed using excellent communications skills, eg

"Maybe we could,..."

"Perhaps we should…"

" We could give the game a retro feel which could appeal to an older or younger generation - they could feel nostalgic"

"Friday Curriculum is the best - you learn in a non-standard typical way but you're still learning."

"It's good to do physical work that we might actually do when we're older"

"I like cooking because I need to be able to look after myself when I'm older."

"I might want to get a job in a kitchen. "

Key Stage 3

The Key Stage 3 Friday Curriculum is built around a carousel of 6 different activities each half term, each with a specific focus of applying skills learnt throughout the Monday to Friday Curriculum, as well as learning and developing new and existing skills that give the students a wider experience in preparation for life after Sunnydown. There is a clear and shared Friday focus on our core values of RICE - Resilience, Independence and Cooperation as well as transferable skills such as teamwork, problem solving, building relationships. Aspects of Cultural Capital that are woven throughout our Monday-Thursday Academics Curriculum, are now explored through Food Experiences, Film Appreciation nad Historical Visits.

The Food Experience - Students are given opportunities to see every aspect of how food actually arrives on our plates. This involves budgeting, travel training, seeking out specialist ingredients or preparing for seasonal and festive occasions. The students also learn what different food actually come from and the processes involved in this from start to finish including visits to farms and food producers.

The School Project - Students are given the opportunity to work on different projects around the school, which allows them to create a legacy and leave their stamp on Sunnydown for future students. Through these projects, the students learn to plan out activities and apply many of the skills that they may learn through their practical subjects in the National Curriculum such as DT and Art, as well as learning to work together as a team towards an end product. Some projects include pallet furniture which can be seen all around the school, the school sensory garden, the cycle track and most recently the school gym.

Outdoor and Adventurous Activities - The students will follow a range of activities in their OAA programme, including cycling, kayaking, climbing, wide games, tunneling and Archery amongst others. Giving the students these opportunities develops confidence and exposes them to a wider range of experiences which may well trigger some interest that they may pursue post Sunnydown. Many of the activities focus on teamwork as a core skill and encourage the students to understand and appreciate their strength as well as the strengths of others, whilst sometimes finding ways to overcome some fears or anxieties.

Humanities - The Humanities programme supports the National Curriculum that is taught between Monday and Friday. Each half termly activity aims to tie in with what is being taught for each year group in that particular half term. Activities to support the History curriculum include visit to places of interest, a visit from a medieval enthusiast with a full set of armor, and recreating historic battle scenes. Some of the Geography activities include building volcanoes with chemical reactions, looking at different types of rocks, visiting local rivers and experiencing the enjoyment of field studies.

RICE Challenge - The RICE challenge focuses on a series of activities designed to encourage the students to work together to solve various problems and tackle different tasks. There is need for the students to recognise one another's strengths in order to see where they fit into a team. There is a focus on ensuring that everyone is heard and that different people have different ways of tackling the same task, both of which may be successful. The activities are designed to be challenging in a safe environment to encourage the students to take risks in discovering solutions to problems.

Communications - Communication is a vital element of social interaction between each other, involving sharing and receiving information through appropriate means, enabling individuals to grow in ability, confidence and emotional empathy. Reading and listening skills are practised through the understanding and development of communication skills In Y7 students focus on establishing ‘This is Me’ - looking at who they are as a person and how they would like to develop in their time at Sunnydown. In Y8, our students are encouraged to extend their reading ability through a shared class reader, developing key strategies to infer and deduce meaning. Texts are chosen /replaced regularly to reflect world events and enrich Cultural Capital, enabling our students to formulate their own opinions and views, be confident to share these, and respect the views of others.

Media & Information Literacy - Media and Information Literacy in Y9 at Sunnydown School is the study and awareness of the media and developing information literacy. All communication, both spoken and written, can be seen as a 'language' .

Film has its own language that is developed from certain signs and codes that combine to create meaning ultimately to "tell a story". Film and filmmaking are vital tools for young people to express sensitive mental health issues of personal importance to them. Film is also a useful way to raise awareness about a range of mental health areas.

If a term has 7 weeks, the final session will have a day of inter-house activities linked to house-points.



College Experience or Life Skills Workshops

College Experience - Each term, students who select the college experience rotate through one of three options: Sports Leadership with Public Services, Motor Vehicle Maintenance, and to widen their experiences. Students become part of the East Surrey College student body and have the valuable experience of college life for a short period which has helped to make the transition to Post 16 much easier for many students.This includes sharing breaks in the canteen, using their college ID to sign in and out electronically, getting used to a larger environment and being around larger groups of students for example. This provides invaluable experience to learn how college life differs from life at Sunnydown. Students wear non- uniform to allow them to fully integrate; in the Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Construction activities they are required to wear protective clothing which gives them a sense of what it might be like to work in an environment requiring a uniform or dress code. Some students attending this provision will go on to study one of these courses at East Surrey which supports their application and gives them a clear sense of direction for their next steps post Sunnydown. Students return to Sunnydown for lunch and attend their afternoon lesson in PSHE: Personal Development lessons.

Life Skills Units -


  • Giving back to the Community
  • Confidence with numbers
  • Home Economics

Y11 :

  • Fitness for Life
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Combined Studies