The Academy Curriculum

Year 7 and 8 – Key Stage 3

Our knowledge driven, subject based Key Stage 3 curriculum is delivered in Year 7 and Year 8. We are committed to providing a broad and balanced curriculum for all students and even though the key stage is two years in duration our subjects outside of the core (English, Maths and Science) receive 2 lessons a week rather than the one usually found in a more traditional three year key stage 3. This breadth is then built on with a thoughtful process into how the curriculum is coherently sequenced in each subject, and our curriculum roadmaps and knowledge organisers illustrate the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage.  Each roadmap signposts the themes through each year and parents can see what is coming up to plan that visit to a Museum or the purchase of a relevant book.

Students in Year 7 receive a lesson a week on cultural enrichment, in learning about those themes that are important in supplementing the subject curriculum. This year each student will follow topics on Politics and the Media, Myths and Fables, Symbolism and the History of Music. This runs alongside our extensive PSHE programme in building a “cultural capital” in our students in understanding the world around them and their role in it.

Developing fluency in reading is also a priority as we recognise the importance of access the curriculum through the understanding of texts and giving students regular opportunities to enjoy their reading. The Academy runs the Accelerated Reader programme for all Year 7 and Year 8 students, once a week all Year 7 – 9 students have a Drop Everything And Read lesson, and selected Year 7 students have a Year 12 Paired reader to read to each morning.

The thirty lessons per week in Years 7 and 8 are allocated as shown in the following table:

Subject Periods per week
English 4
Maths 4
Science 4
Geography 2
History 2
Modern Languages 2
PE 2
Art 2
Drama 2
Music 2
Technology (Food Studies, Resistant Materials and Computer Science) 2
Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics 1
Cultural Enrichment 1

Years 9, 10 and 11 – Key Stage 4

The curriculum is split into two parts: the Core and the Options. Everybody follows the Core Curriculum through Years 9, 10 and 11 and this covers English, Mathematics, Science, PE and Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics (PBE). All students will follow a minimum of a Double Science course leading to two GCSEs and it is also possible to follow courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics leading to three GCSEs. In Physical Education students work towards GCSE Physical Education or a Sports Leadership Award. Students are guided in their choices by individual interviews with a senior member of staff.

The thirty lessons per week in Years 9,10 and 11 are allocated as shown in the following table:

Subject Periods per week
English 5
Mathematics 5
Science 5
Physical Education 3
Option Subject A 3
Option Subject B 3
Option Subject C 3
Option Subject D 3

The Options

In addition to the Core Curriculum, every student has the opportunity to select subjects from the optional curriculum which is organised to maximise the choices available to students. At the academy we want students to be able to make individual choices that are tailored to their own strengths. There are many pathways to success, and a flexible approach enables as many students as possible to achieve this. Students are strongly recommended to follow pathways which reflect strengths in their current and past performance, as these are good indicators of likely attainment at the end of Year 11.

There are two pathways, red and blue. The red pathway includes a Language (French or Spanish), a Humanities subject (History or Geography) and two further choices from the full range of subjects available at Key Stage 4. This gives students the best chance of achieving the English Baccalaureate qualification. It also provides a broad and balanced curriculum that keeps as many options open for students for as long as possible. The blue pathway provides an alternative to this. It is a challenging curriculum, with the only difference being that a language is optional and not compulsory. Students following the blue pathway must pick one subject from Geography, History, Spanish, French or Computer Science and three further choices from the full range of subject available at Key Stage 4, shown below.

 

Art and Design – Fine Art DT – Product Design Media Studies
Business Studies French Music
Computer Science Geography Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics
Drama History Spanish
PE ICT DT – Food Technology
Psychology Photography Health & Social Care

Post 16

There is an exciting breadth of academic provision at Key Stage 5, which includes a substantial range of A Level courses. We also offer the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) for those students who have a specific interest in a topic that they wish to explore further.

Most students study 3 subjects in Year 12. We construct a highly personalised academic package for each of our students, and invest considerable time in ensuring that each individual’s chosen options are the best possible match for their ability level and future aspirations. Each student has an Individual Course Guidance Meeting in the Autumn Term of Year 11, and then a further meeting immediately after Results Day in August. Parents and carers are invited to these meetings, and our experience shows that this is an invaluable method of ensuring that students are on the right courses, and feel happy and fulfilled during their Key Stage 5 education.

A full range of our academic qualifications, and relevant entry requirements, can be found in the Sixth Form prospectus. This is updated annually to meet the needs of the incoming year group.

Although students are expected to work hard at their academic studies and be independent learners, life in the Sixth Form is very different from the lower year groups in the academy. Sixth Formers are involved in significant leadership roles, including peer mentoring of younger students, leading our Year 7 Reading Mentor Scheme, and assisting in classes as part of their Community Service Programme. All students will also undertake a period of work experience during their time in Year 12 and significant numbers of students also work on voluntary placements with the National Service. Our Sixth Form students leave the academy as well rounded individuals, who are properly prepared for the demands of higher education or the workplace.

Sex and Relationships Education

Sex and relationships education is part of the personal, social, health and citizenship education programme. Content has been selected carefully and includes elements on parenthood, family and friendship, puberty, peer and society pressure, contraception and responsibility and sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV/ Aids. Parents have a right under the law to withdraw their children from this part of the curriculum, and should write to the Principal if they require this.

The science curriculum has statutory content on the biology of human development and reproduction, and parents do not have the right to withdraw children from this.

Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics (Religious Education)

Parents may opt to withdraw their child from religious education in accordance with the law and should inform the Principal in writing if they choose to do so. The content of the course complies with the relevant local agreements.

PSHCE

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) is delivered during one Tutor Time session each week. Each year group receives a designated programme of topics.

Assessment

All students are formally assessed in each subject every term. The purpose of this is to enable teachers and subject leaders to identify strengths and areas for development so that planning for learning strategies can be put in place. Success criteria are made clear to all students in advance of the assessment, whether by checklist or examination specification as appropriate and steps to improve are identified clearly when assessments are complete.