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Curriculum

Curriculum Intent Statement;2020-2021

Our Academy motto is 'Be inspired and achieve together'. Our vision is for students and staff at our academy to be inspired by what they and others do at Arnold Hill and for everyone to achieve the very highest standards. We strive to improve and maximise the life chances of students and are determined that all are well prepared to succeed and prosper as they move through school and into further education, employment or training.

We want all students to regularly experience inspiring teaching and enjoy a wide variety of learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom. We want students to receive consistent, high quality teaching which challenges and develops all students whatever their ability. We want all staff, parents and students to share the same high expectations for students’ behaviour and achievement. We want students to be set ambitious goals and receive the right support and intervention to achieve their maximum potential and be fully prepared for life beyond Arnold Hill. 

Our core values are:

  • We all try our best
  • We support each other
  • We keep each other informed
  • We listen to different opinions
  • We are proud to be part of the academy

The values and beliefs forming the ethos at Arnold Hill Academy are based on the principle of respect, which is a fundamental British Value. The curriculum recognises and values the diversity of the UK and our community. All subject areas as well as the extra-curricular and Personal Development curriculum promote equality for everyone through the study, discussion and exploration of a range of controversial and sensitive issues. The curriculum is fully inclusive and does not discriminate in relation to: gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, socio-economic background, disability, religious or political beliefs, family circumstance or sexual orientation.

Our vision can only be realised through creating the conditions in which learning, creativity and innovation can flourish:

An outstanding ‘Quality of Education’ requires a secure, supportive and structured environment, which has a positive impact on conduct and attitudes to learning amongst the whole Academy community. This is an essential foundation for students’ academic attainment and progress, and their wider development as young people. Everyone in the Academy community has the right to feel respected, valued and safe and the Academy has a duty to promote, nurture and protect good citizens for our local and wider community.

We believe that high quality teaching and relationships are based on respect, this underpins positive attitudes to learning in the classrooms and our wider surroundings. We are committed to getting to know our students and developing the highest quality interpersonal relationships. We are also committed to managing student conduct in an emotionally literate way and seeking, where possible, to provide students with opportunities to get things right and make amends. 

Our positive approach is also fundamentally important in developing a sense of positive identity with our Academy and the wider community; a sense of belonging and a real sense of ‘being proud to belong’.

We actively promote equality for all through our knowledge rich curriculum focus and ethos which is underpinned by Fundamental British Values and Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development.

Our curriculum is designed to meet the students’ needs and aspirations regardless of performance table measures. We have developed a knowledge rich curriculum across the key stages. Our ‘Bridge’ curriculum in Year 9 ensures a secure transition between Key Stage 3 and 4.

From Key Stage 2 into Key Stage 3: Year 7 and 8:

Transition:

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum is developed in close collaboration with the Arnold Hill Family of Schools in the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum phase. Curriculum planning and implementation links together Key Stage 2 and 3 ensuring  that all knowledge is built on and there is a cohesive transition for all students joining Arnold Hill Academy.

Our Key Stage 3 knowledge rich curriculum has been developed to promote a range of skills. Our school-wide teaching approach focuses on team curriculum planning with an emphasis on:

  • High quality lessons which plan for the needs of all
  • Knowledge acquisition, retention and retrieval
  • Challenge for all
  • Vocabulary building, oracy and reading

In turn this fosters a learning environment which is innovative and engaging. An enriched vocabulary enables a better understanding of concepts and ideas. Deliberate practice of oracy skills enables students to communicate clearly and articulately which in turn raises life chances.

Subjects studied in Year 7 and 8 include: English, Maths, Science, V.O.I.C.E (Values, Oracy, Identity, Citizenship, Expression), IT & Computing, Food Technology, Textiles, Resistant Materials, Spanish, French, Humanities, Art, Music, Drama, and P.E.

Aspirational Groupings in Year 7 and 8:

We foster a culture of aspiration for all our school community. At the point of transition to secondary school, students come from a range of backgrounds and starting points and develop at different rates. A range of information is used to appropriately group students. This includes Reading Age, SATs data, and Teacher Assessment.  Groupings are reviewed on a termly cycle to ensure that everyone has appropriate stretch and challenge in all their lessons as well as promoting high expectations for all.

In order to support outstanding curriculum provision for all, we operate the following grouping profiles:

  • Maths, Science and IT: Mixed banding where students are grouped within a range of attainments within each class, for example Higher Attaining and Middle Attaining mixed together
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL): We recognise students will have had a range of different provision in MFL at primary school. All students in Year 7 and 8 study Spanish and French. In Year 7 students are grouped in mixed attainment classes and in Year 8 they move to mixed banding
  • PE: based on aptitude for physical activities and sport
  • All other areas of the curriculum: Mixed attainment where students are grouped within a wide range of prior attainment and supported by high-quality stretch and challenge for all

Key Stage 3: Year 9: The ‘Bridge’ curriculum:

Our ‘Bridge’ curriculum in Year 9 provides a transition year between Key Stage 3 and 4 where students build a secure knowledge rich platform based on the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum from which they proceed to develop a deeper and enhanced understanding through Years 10 and 11. All students continue with Maths, English, Science, MFL, History and Geography.  They choose and start in Year 9 a ‘Futures’ option in the creative and ‘open’ subjects. 

Aspirational Groupings in Year 9:

Maths, English, Science, Humanities and MFL: students are grouped in attainment bands.

Futures Options: Groups are mixed attainment.

Year 10 and 11: Key Stage 4:

We have a variety of pathways on offer at Key Stage 4 and invest heavily in preparing students for their option choices. We believe the EBacc (a combination of Maths, Science, English, Humanities, MFL and Computer Science) promotes aspiration and therefore all students with a Target Grade of 4 or above in our core subjects, and a 5 in MfL, will be selected to study the EBacc. Where a student will be better served by following a non-EBacc pathway we will ensure they have appropriate options available to study and prepare them for the next phase in their education and enhance their employability.

Aspirational Groupings in Year 10 and 11:

Maths, English, Science, Humanities and MFL: students are grouped in attainment bands.

Options: Groups are mixed attainment.

Year 12 and 13: Key Stage 5:

Provision at Key Stage 5 is broad and comprehensive. We are highly ambitious for all our students. A Levels and BTECs are offered across the curriculum. High quality curriculum provision and the culture of aspiration fostered through external opportunities with universities and employers ensures that the majority of students go on to higher education and training. The curriculum has been designed carefully to meet the needs and aspirations of students. The curriculum builds on KS3 and KS4 Pathways with Students studying a wide range of subjects that lead to relevant academic and vocational qualifications.

Any curriculum changes are informed and supported by a rigorous application and Interview process into the Sixth Form. There is an Annual Review of the Curriculum and Prospectus offer based around the needs of students on entry and this is enhanced by bespoke programmes to support high aspirations for the most able and disadvantaged pupils.

Extra-Curricular and Building Cultural Capital:

The taught curriculum at Arnold Hill is complemented by a wide range of extra-curricular clubs and activities. This includes opportunities in the Arts, sports, Combined Cadet Force and Duke of Edinburgh Awards Programme. The academy is very proud to launch its Pledge Scheme in September 2020.  This will endeavour to inspire, motivate and reward all students for their extra-curricular achievements and participation.

Within all curriculum areas, there is a high expectation of promoting opportunities for building cultural capital. This is through the increased provision and participation of trips, visits and outsides providers as well as enhancing lessons though cultural awareness.

Special Educational Needs:

The SEN Department support aspirational curriculum planning through their close links with faculty teams including regular staff training. Ambitious provision for students with Special Educational Needs, and those for whom English is an additional language, is provided in class through high-quality curriculum and through our specialist student support team where needed.

Assessment and Additional Support:

Formal assessments of learning are conducted according to our Assessment, Recording and Reporting schedule and targets are shared with students and their parents regularly. Assessments of students’ learning are also made more informally and frequently.

The implementation of this policy is monitored through whole school, departmental and pastoral self-review.

All students have opportunities to extend their skills and talents, which includes the provision of additional classes and extension opportunities for more able and talented students, as well as intervention and support provision as required.

Options