In the Classroom
This page has an overview of our approach to the primary and secondary curriculum at each of our schools. For further detail please see each school’s website.
All our primary academies follow the National Curriculum, ensuring there is breadth and balance at all stages and for all pupils. Our primary academies serve very different communities and the curriculum design reflects this individuality.
Each academy’s curriculum is ambitious in all subjects. Curriculum plans are designed with their community in mind and ensure coherence, progression and a clear focus on the essential subject knowledge and skills children learn. Plans are purposeful in their intent, implementation and monitoring of their impact.
In all our primary academies, the curriculum ensures that learning goes beyond the academic and that it is planned, structured and purposeful. It prioritises the personal development of all children, incorporates the principles encapsulated in fundamental British values, and guarantees that all pupils have access to enriched opportunities which prepare them well for the next steps in their school journey.
The primary curriculum is delivered through a bespoke teaching and learning model which draws on the best and most current evidence on how children learn. The Principles of Learning model (PL@) is adopted across all primary academies and its principles and pedagogies underpin all our classroom practice. This ensures that our curriculum is delivered in the most effective way, and that learning is successful.
Phonics and Early Reading is taught through a systematic, synthetic programme that is delivered daily by teachers and support staff. Pupils learn to decode and read books appropriate to their stage of development. In all our academies, the active teaching of reading is further developed into Key Stage 2. This allows pupils to continue to learn how to read effectively and to use their reading skills to access all curriculum areas. Love and enjoyment of reading are promoted across each academy for all pupils. Pupils have access to a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar ambitious texts. These texts entertain children but also strengthen their understanding of, and engagement with, the world in which they live.
Our Maths curriculum, and the programmes through which it is delivered, is based on secure research into learning pedagogies. All our academies implement the Concrete Pictorial Abstract CPA model in all year groups to ensure children secure good conceptual understanding and can demonstrate their knowledge in different ways.
All primary academies seek to promote memory and recall of basic skills and key facts as well as teaching a breadth of mathematical topics. Curriculum plans are sequential and build over time so that pupils can apply previously learned knowledge to new learning.
The foundation subjects incorporate Geography, History, Art & Design, D&T, Science, and Computing. These subjects provide pupils with an understanding of the world in which they live, and teach our pupils how events past and present have an impact upon their lives as well as introducing them to a world beyond their experience.
Physical Education plays an important part in the development of our pupils, helping them to learn about the positive effects of exercise on their bodies and mental health. Access to a fully enriched curriculum as well as lessons is important to us and our pupils participate in sporting festivals, work with coaches and have the opportunity to access outdoor education through residential visits.
Bespoke personal development programmes of work, incorporating relationships and sex education, support our pupils’ understanding of their well-being and personal awareness. All our primary academies provide a wide-ranging and enhanced age-appropriate PSE curriculum which includes all statutory content as well as a focus upon the wider range of skills that pupils need to function in an ever-changing world.
We have developed an innovative and highly effective teaching and learning model, called Inevitable Progress, that we use across all subjects and year groups in our secondary schools. This approach supports staff and students to think deeply about the learning process.
Whilst the Inevitable Progress approach is informed by robust educational research, the theoretical ideas are translated into a series of concrete approaches that can be used to ensure excellent learning for all of our students. Key elements of our approach are detailed below.
Thinking Skills. As part of our Inevitable Progress approach, a range of thinking tools are used across all subjects and year groups. These include the Three Storey Intellect, Thinking Hats, Thinking Maps and Habits of Mind.
Literacy. Teachers in all subjects have a responsibility to support students in increasing their core literacy skills. Our curriculum model ensures sufficient time is allocated to the development of reading skills throughout Years 7-11.
Making Links Across the Curriculum. We encourage students to think deeply and make connections between different subject areas and academic years. We have identified key topics (e.g. Natural World, Scientific Discovery) and key skills (e.g. teamwork, selecting evidence, sequencing) which are flagged up by teachers whenever they come up in lessons.
Debating Ethos. We want to ensure that all of our students develop the skills and confidence to discuss and debate issues with people from all backgrounds. A structured approach to the development of six key debating skills is part of our curriculum.
Digital Technology. We have identified six ways in which we look to employ digital technology to, for example, allow greater personalisation of learning, increase student engagement, and develop learning beyond the classroom.
Our Key Stage 3 Curriculum sets out clear knowledge and skills to be developed each year. Our ‘Pathways’ structure means that all students will continue to study a broad range of subjects throughout their time at the school and fulfil the National Curriculum expectations.
All students study English, Maths, Science, and a Humanities subject (Geography or History) throughout their time at the school. This provides the majority of students with the opportunity to study a Modern Foreign Language in order to complete the EBacc.
Supporting Creative and DT Subjects
In addition to the subjects mentioned above, all students will study a subject from the ‘Creative Pathway Block’ during Year 9 to Year 11. Through a series of half-termly learning events in Year 9, all of our Year 9 students will also be supported to achieve the accredited Arts Award.
Modern Foreign Languages
Our commitment to MFL is underpinned by our understanding that globalisation means our students need to be able to thrive in the global community. We appreciate the value of the EBacc qualification and support all students with the potential to achieve this. For those students who still need intensive, additional support to develop their core English literacy skills, ceasing to study a Modern Foreign Language at the end of Year 8 may be in their best interest.
All students continue to study Geography and History in Year 9 because we recognise the unique way in which these subjects can help our young people to appreciate and engage with the wider world.
As well as ensuring depth to their study of the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum, students in Year 9 will study those elements of the GCSE specification in each subject that will best support them to increase their appreciation of the way in which the world functions, and help them become fully engaged and inquisitive citizens.
All students study Digital Literacy from Year 7 to Year 11 to ensure the digital skills they need are progressively developed. In order to provide our students with the capacity to thrive in the future, we appreciate that it is vital for them to understand the language of the digital world.