At Arnold Hill Academy we are ambitious for our students and are determined that all are well prepared to succeed and prosper as they move through school and into higher education and employment.
Our curriculum is designed to meet the students’ needs and aspirations regardless of performance table measures. We recognise that it is not the length of time spent in Key Stage 3 that is crucial but the quality, breadth and depth of the curriculum.
Our Key Stage 3 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, challenge for all, oracy and reading. Subjects studied at Key Stage 3 include: English, Maths, Science, Literacy and Reading, IT & Computing, Food Technology, Textiles, Resistant Materials, Spanish (and French as an additional language for some), Humanities, Art, Music, Drama, and P.E.
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. In order to support outstanding curriculum provision for all, we operate mixed-banding classes in which 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 and give everybody expectation and opportunity to be the best they can be.
We recognise students will have had a range of different provision in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) whilst at primary schools. All students in Year 7 study Spanish, and in Year 8 those with linguistic talent are given the opportunity to study French as an additional language. Some students in Year 7 and 8 will participate in ‘Core Skills’ instead of MFL, offering a chance to embed and enhance their Literacy and Numeracy skills in a small group setting. These students are selected using Key Stage 2 prior attainment data, and current in-school assessments.
Starting GCSE option courses in Year 9 provides a bridging or foundation year where students build a secure platform of skills and basic knowledge from which they proceed to develop a deeper and enhanced understanding through Years 10 and 11. We believe the EBacc 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. We have a variety of pathways on offer at Key Stage 4 and invest heavily in preparing students for their option choices. Where a student will be better served by following a non-EBacc pathway we will ensure they have suitable options available to study, and prepare them for the next phase in their education and enhance their employability.
Support for students with Special Educational Needs, and those for whom English is an additional language, is provided in class and through our specialist student support team where needed.
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.
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.
Throughout Key Stages 3, 4 and 5, we actively promote Fundamental British Values and Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development through our assemblies. We understand that students’ personal development is as important as their academic achievements, and have an exciting and robust personal development programme which runs through Guidance. We also have a Bright Day programme where students spend three days per academic year following an alternative timetable and engaging in a wide variety of learning activities under the following headings:
- Bright Lives: Preparing students for a diverse future by filling young minds with cultural awareness and social development
- Bright Futures: Preparing students to be aspirational with a focus on careers development
- Bright Bodies: Focusing on health, wellbeing, sexual health and matters around emotions
New Curriculum Reform at Key Stage 3 and 4
Curriculum topics covered in Key Stage 3
KS4 Courses to be studied by students in Years 9 and 10 from September 2017
KS4 Courses followed by Year 10 Students 2016 - 2018
KS4 Courses followed by Year 11 Students 2016 - 2018
KS5 Courses followed by Year 12 and 13 Students