Students in Year 7 and 8 follow a traditional academic curriculum which has been designed to successfully prepare them for the rigours of GCSE subjects. At the academy we run a three year Key Stage 4 where our students choose their GCSE options at the end of Year 8, and begin studying them in Year 9. Our Year 9 students will continue to study these options when they transition to the Upper Academy in Year 10.
The key focus of the curriculum at the Lower Academy is active learning. This focus ensures all students have the opportunity to participate and develop oracy, teamwork, leadership, and cooperative skills, as well as develop a passion for learning.
The progress students make is tracked using Personalised Learning Checklists. This allows lessons to continually diagnose the progress students make and provide therapies to support learners in the areas where they need it most. In Years 7 and 8 progress is measured using Academy Progress Steps, and in Year 9 it is measured using GCSE grades.
The curriculum is taught over 25 period one week timetable. The 2017/18 curriculum model is:
The core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science along with Geography, History and Languages are set according to student ability. The remaining subjects of Performimg Arts, DATE, Religious Education and PE are taught as mixed ability groups.
The option choices at the end of Year 8 in 2017 were (where students choose one option from each block):
To provide challenge for the most able students we have developed an Express curriculum pathway. These students are still tracked using the Personalised Learning Checklists, but they follow a more challenging programme of study and are expected to make more progress; it is expected that by the time these students leave the Lower Academy they will have developed the necessary skills and attributes required to go on and achieve the highest possible grades at GCSE at the Upper Academy.
All students engage in an enrichment of their choice each day as part of their curriculum. The enrichment activity takes place for 30 minutes, forming an essential part of our core curriculum. We recognise the power and impact that quality enrichment can have on young lives and minds. Our enrichment programme is an essential and valuable part of our school day. The age appropriate enrichment model supports a ‘Passion for Learning’ in Key Stage 3, a ‘Passion for Purpose’ in Key Stage 4 and a ‘Passion for Life’ in Key Stage 5. Alongside our ethos of clear and high expectations, this ensures students embrace the highest standards in their behaviour for learning.