CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

All curriculum matters are the responsibility of Mr Tim Paling (Deputy Head Teacher - Curriculum). The emphasis in all year groups is on providing a broadly based and balanced curriculum which meets the requirements of the national curriculum and ensures equality of entitlement and opportunity to all our students.

Key stage 3: All year 7 students are taught a balanced curriculum of English, mathematics, science, ICT, French, music, physical education, art and design, design technology, geography, and morals and ethics in lesson time and  personal development (PSHE, citizenship, careers education and guidance and sex relationships education) in tutor time . In almost all of these subjects students are initially taught in mixed ability tutor groups, but there is setting in science and maths during the year.

Support for students with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD) is generally provided by teaching assistants within mainstream lessons. There is also a small amount of short term withdrawal targeted towards those individual students who most need it, delivered by a teaching assistant based in the learning hub. A nurture group is run during certain times for a small number of fragile learners. Literacy and dyslexia groups are run by teaching assistants.

All year 8 and 9 students follow roughly the same balanced curriculum as those in year 7, but with most subjects introducing setting on ability.

Generally, where the timetable allows, subjects tend to set on ability. Setting occurs in science, maths, French, geography, history and morals and ethics.

The Academy also promotes British values, tolerance and diversity.

 

Key stage 4: All year 10 and 11 students follow a common curriculum structure comprising a core of compulsory subjects, plus a pathway of options depending on their interests and academic ability.

The core curriculum is comprised of:

  • examination courses in English, mathematics and science. Students are set by ability in maths and science, though taught as mixed ability classes for some aspects of the year 10 course in English
  • physical education; morals and ethics and ICT.
  • personal development, which embraces the statutory requirements for PSHE, citizenship, careers education and guidance and sex relationships education is again delivered in tutor time.

The key stage four options curriculum is founded on distinct learning pathways, which have a discrete offer of examination courses, underpinned by a broader menu of GCSE subjects, from which students choose three courses.

Starting in year 10, there is a pathway with an academic bias. This requires current year 11 students to study French and either history or geography. Students also choose a subject from each of the 3 common option blocks. Each option block contains a choice of 8-10 subjects.

A second pathway offers a choice of vocational courses. Students also choose a subject from each of the common option blocks.

The GCSE menu for each pathway is constructed from the following range of GCSE courses: art and design, music, product design, child development, physical education, drama, electronics, graphics, geography, dance, history, media, food and nutrition, health and social care and psychology.

It should be noted that, whilst the year 11 and year 10 curricula are broadly similar, there is inevitably some yearly variation in relation to courses offered, which takes account of on-going curriculum review and the different interests, needs and abilities of each cohort of students.

Personalised learning pathways, which may include part-time and, in some cases, full-time placements, are also organised for some of our most vulnerable students as required.

Assessing without Levels: The Academy is continuing to use National Curriculum levels for Years 7-9 for 2014-15 despite them no longer being statutory. All subject areas are revising their offer in line with the new National Curriculum as appropriate.
 

Key stage 5: The Academy has a prior attainment policy for sixth form students and the curriculum in year 12 reflects this.

Two-year students will follow up to four level three courses from a range of subjects, including English literature, mathematics, further mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, physical education, geography, history, sociology, art and design, drama, music, French, ICT, psychology, media studies, product design, and business studies.

There is an opportunity for pupils to complete the community sports leader award (CSLA).

Whilst increased choice and flexibility is now available through our partnership with Ashfield School, Kirkby College and Sutton Centre, the range of courses offered does vary somewhat from year to year depending on the different interests, needs and abilities of each cohort of students. Level 1 and 2 courses are offered through the North Ashfield Partnership.