Our intent is to create, develop and implement a curriculum and assessment structure which encourages students to achieve academically alongside developing personally, socially and emotionally. We are aware of the context of the school with historically low progress (particularly disadvantaged, high ability boys) and also the high prior attainment of our students from Key Stage Two. We are also proactive in breaking down barriers students may face due to the rural and coastal location of the school and the impact this can have on aspirations of students with regard to a lack of exposure to a range of professions, role models with Level 5+ academic qualifications etc.
The curriculum has knowledge at the core and will develop the students’ skills in applying learnt knowledge to different situations. It will encourage students to think hard and engage with challenging texts, concepts and experiences which widen their cultural understanding. It will teach students how to learn effectively so they can adapt their skills to different situations both in and outside of the classroom. The assessment structure that supports the curriculum will inform students and their parents/carers of how they are doing and inform teachers and students of what they can do next to improve.
The curriculum will encourage students to engage with the “magic” of a subject, often providing breadth at KS3 and depth at KS4. The school will strengthen curriculum links and continuity through the Tarka Learning Partnership and wider feeder primary schools.
The curriculum will be structured to provide opportunities for all students to learn, develop and make progress. Literacy development will be at the heart of our curriculum. The curriculum must also provide structure and opportunities for students to understand the theory behind learning and provide the environment for disadvantaged students to excel.
Our curriculum is based on our knowledge that students arrive with high prior attainment in Literacy and Numeracy and need to gain knowledge and skills to obtain optimum GCSE outcomes and also to develop a love for subjects, acquiring knowledge and skills which set them up for future studies.
As a school, we appreciate the value of Modern Foreign Languages and have an aim to increase the uptake of a full Ebacc curriculum for the majority of our students. When in-school progress is acceptable in MFL subjects to support all students in achieving their potential within MFL, we will develop this further.
We structure our curriculum consistently across all subjects. This is done to ensure students are clear of the expectations and ensure we are as effective as possible in developing students’ knowledge and skills whilst also developing a wider more holistic school experience. Our curriculum aims to provide alignment between everything that our students learn and consistency across all subjects. The curriculum and teaching pedagogy has been designed to ensure students remember knowledge over the long term and can integrate new knowledge into larger concepts.
The curriculum has been developed in each subject area to provide regular re-caps of learning through specific lessons and units of work with a clear reference to prior learning. Schemes of learning include regular mini quizzes to recap and recall previous learning (a known method of improving the retention of knowledge) alongside knowledge quizzes. In addition, subjects work alongside each other to decide on the best technique to deliver key aspects which are in both specifications.
The school year will be divided into three cycles of twelve weeks. Each cycle comprises ten teaching weeks; during which students cover new topics in preparation for examination at the end of Year 11. At the start of each cycle, students will be provided with a “Knowledge Book” which will provide them with the basis for the knowledge they are required to learn. The eleventh week is an assessment week when all students in Years 7-11 complete tests and other assessments in every subject to analyse their strengths and weaknesses in current and previous cycles. In the twelfth week, known as the Feed Forward Week, teachers re-teach areas that students have struggled with in assessments. The first lesson of every cycle is a contextual lesson where the teacher outlines what will be covered within the cycle and how it prepares students for the final examinations. In the first week, a knowledge quiz will take place that will establish prior knowledge of each student.
The impact of the curriculum will be measured in a number of ways such as final academic qualification outcomes, progress as well as student and parent voice. Initially, it will be through result in Knowledge Quizzes and End of Cycle Assessments which will lead to re-teaching in the feedforward week and show progress. The impact of our curriculum can also be evidenced through the progression of our students to the next stage of their education, employment or training.
We know that developing an independent work ethic with clear strategies is essential for academic success. We will support this through the setting of regular, effective homework. In years 7-9, students will be required to learn the knowledge from their Knowledge Book in short chunks over each cycle. This will be supplemented with application homework in English and Maths. In KS4, students will continue to learn knowledge in the form of their Knowledge Books; in addition, they will apply the knowledge through exam questions.