The Academy Curriculum

Year 7 and 8 – Key Stage 3

The National Curriculum Key Stage 3 programme is covered in two years with students generally taught in ability sets. These are based on prior attainment and end of Key Stage targets and are reviewed periodically. This means that, throughout their time at the academy, students are with others learning at a similar rate, allowing focused, targeted teaching and effective use of resources to best meet their individual needs.

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 3
Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics 1
PE 2
Art 2
Drama 2
Music 2
Technology (Food Studies, Resistant Materials and Computer Science) 2

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 Humanity (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. This is the qualification that more selective universities look for when considering applications. 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, but may be more suitable for students who are less likely to pursue a place at university, or may consider alternative Sixth Form provision. 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 – Catering
Psychology Photography Mandarin

 

 

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; additionally, the academy offers several Level 3 ASDAN qualifications, which can be completed over the course of a year and which allow students to either achieve further UCAS points for their university application, or to enhance their application for employment.

Almost all students study four 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.

Proud to Belong Week

The academy’s normal timetable is suspended for one week each year to allow every student to take part in a different type of learning activity. In Years 7, 8, 9, 12 and 13, these activities cross the conventional subject and year boundaries and contribute significantly to advice and guidance for the future as well as to ICT and PSHCE, while in Years 10 and 11 they are used to focus on key areas of curriculum learning, such as English, Mathematics, and Science.

Assessment

All students are formally assessed in each subject every half 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. Each subject has an assessment booklet on the key information and skills needed, related to GCSE expectations, and assessment of attainment is in accordance with the new 9-1 GCSE criteria which is broken down into graded steps e.g. 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, 4.8 for years 7-11.

To find out more about your child’s curriculum please complete Contact us form.

GCSE Grades are Changing

GCSEs in England are being reformed and will be graded with a new scale from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade. English Literature, English Language and Maths will be the first subjects to be graded in this way from August 2017. The subjects with the highest numbers of candidates (e.g. arts, humanities, languages) will follow in 2018 and most others in 2019. This is happening as GCSEs are being reformed to make them more challenging, to keep pace with employers’ and universities demands.In the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced, students who would have got a grade C or better will get a grade 4 or better. Students who would have got a Grade A or better will get a 7 or better in the first year. Grade 9 will be more difficult to achieve than a grade A*. The extra top grade will also make it easier for employers and universities to distinguish between the most able students.

More information about when subjects will switch to the new grades is available on the Ofqual website.