The ultimate aim of our curriculum is to enable children to flourish. We want them to flourish during their time at the Academy, and we want them to leave the Academy and flourish for the rest of their lives.
The choices we make about what we teach children are important in achieving this aim. The Academy has deliberated at length about what we value –what we feel will help children to thrive- and allocated curriculum time to subjects in the way we feel will best help children. Each department has, in turn, asked what is most valuable about their subject and has built a curriculum around those principles.
Of course, choices about curriculum go far beyond lessons. We teach children when they are in Period 6 clubs and activities, when they are in the corridor or the playground, or when they are on educational visits. Most importantly, we teach children through the way we communicate with them, and through the way we conduct ourselves every day at the Academy. In this sense, no activity is extra-curricular, and we are equally thorough when considering what children learn outside of a classroom as we are when considering what they will learn within one.
We believe that the curriculum that best meets our values will have four key pillars: knowledge, ways of thinking, character, and experience. If each of these four pillars is strong, the curriculum will enable children to thrive.
Knowledge refers to the things that we expect every child to know, and this includes know-how: so we might say we expect a child to know how to throw a ball accurately. The reason we expect every child to possess this knowledge, is because this is knowledge that is essential to being part of wider society. It is knowledge that most people are assumed to have; knowledge that journalists, for example, will not explain in their newspaper articles because they will expect their readers to know. If you don’t know those facts, then newspaper articles won’t make sense, you will feel unable to participate in many conversations or activities, and people may consider you ignorant. This is a barrier to flourishing, and we do not want that for any of our children. To be clear, these fundamentals are not the only things that children will know at the end of their Academy careers: different teachers will explore different ways to deepen and enrich the learning experiences of each specific class, and in this sense every class, if not every child, will have a personalised curriculum.
Each subject has a way of thinking. A scientific way of thinking might involve experimentation and testing hypotheses; a philosophical way of thinking might involve logical deduction and inference; an artistic way of thinking might involve seeing multiple meanings, or inspiration, in the world around us. In addition to learning a subject’s content, your child will learn different ways of looking at the world, of approaching and solving problems.
Character is a broad concept, including a variety of skills such as resilience, self-control, emotional stability and growth mind-set. Character skills have been shown to be linked with success and with happiness in the adult world: more so, according to some scientists, than examination results or intelligence. We expect each department to be clear how it is addressing the development of character through its work with students.
Finally, we expect children to have a rich range of experiences during their time in the Academy. Some of these experiences will take place on educational visits, and there are destinations, ranging from the theatre to Italy, that we want all children to visit. The vast majority of these experiences will take place in the classroom: listening to an inspiring piece of music; participating in a debate; writing a successful computer code, are all valuable experiences to which every child should have access.
Together, then, we expect children to leave us with the knowledge to participate fully in society, with the ability to think about the world in different ways, with a full, well-rounded character, and with a series of positive experiences and happy memories.
Key Stage Three
All students in their first two years at the Academy study the core curriculum which includes English, mathematics, science, physical education, ICT and religious studies. Their curriculum is enriched by studies in performing arts, visual arts, humanities and modern foreign languages. All students participate in the skills action service programme.
During year 8 full consultation takes place between staff, students and parents to support curriculum choices at key stage four.
Key Stage Four
The key stage four curriculum is designed to give students every opportunity to achieve their full potential and to maximise the choices available at post-16.
All students in years 9, 10 and 11 study English language, mathematics, science and physical education. Religious studies and PSHE are taught across the curriculum in this key stage. All students in years 9 and 10 participate in the skills action service (SAS) programme.
There is a considerable amount of curriculum choice available within all of the pathways we offer. Students can choose to study from a range of GCSE and vocational qualifications. Some students will pursue a curriculum composed of GCSE qualifications only, other students will combine study of GCSE subjects and vocational qualifications. College Leaders will always support students in their college to make appropriate choices, maintaining an overview of the student and possible destinations post-16 and beyond.
Key Stage Five
The key stage five curriculum is designed to prepare students for both university and the world of work. Each post-16 student has their own specific goal and ambition and we ensure that each student has a personalised curriculum that meets their individual requirements. Students choose from a diverse range of qualifications so that they are able to participate in challenging and enjoyable courses.
Some courses are taught in partnership with Tudor Grange Academy Solihull, Worcester University or local employers, enabling students to benefit from their professional expertise. We provide a variety of opportunities within the Academy, and are proud that our students have been able to succeed as peer mentors, sports coaches, volunteer care workers and much, much more.