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Curriculum Intent

At The Axholme Academy, we want students to attain the skills, knowledge and qualifications during our ‘5 year learning journey’ which enable them thrive post-16. We achieve this by securing high levels of engagement through quality first teaching, reflective approaches and personalised support. We adapt the content, sequencing, breadth and balance of our ‘5 year learning journey’ based on students’ progress, aspirations and evidence based research. We are proud of our students' academic progress and personal development and strive to constantly improve our provision to maximise their learning.

 

The breadth, balance and ambition of our curriculum is demonstrated by:

  • All national curriculum subjects are taught by subject specialists.

  • Approximately 30% of students study a GCSE only KS4 curriculum. The remaining students study one of three vocational options in addition to their GCSEs.

  • Our belief that students are adequately prepared and mature enough to make informed option choices when they reach the Spring term of Year 9. We have therefore maintained a 3 year KS3, although Humanities and Technology options begin during the Summer term to ensure that students remain fully engaged in their learning once options have been confirmed.

  • Our strong academic core, which is evidenced by:

    • All students are entered for Maths, English Language and English Literature.

    • Above national average entries for some of the most challenging GCSE qualifications including Separate Sciences, Computer Science and French.

    • Over 90% of students entered for a Humanities option (GCSE History, GCSE Geography or GCSE RE).

    • Year on year increase in Ebacc entries which are in line with the national average.

    • GCSE and non-GCSE entries are in line with national averages.

    • Additional curriculum time is allocated to help our middle/low ability students to achieve at least standard passes in English, Maths and Science.

  • Students are taught in ability groups in Maths, Science and Languages; and mixed ability groups in other subjects as below:

    • G/R/O/W/S mixed ability groups in KS3 are configured to ensure that there isn’t a significant spread of ability - they are partially mixed ability rather than fully mixed. Partially-mixed ability groups are used in subjects where students of all abilities cover the same topics and content.

    • Ability setting is used in subjects where students learn different topics depending on their ability.

    • Our least able students spend more time taught in ability groups. Our Y7/8 Transition Group provides a more gradual KS2/3 transition.

  • Curriculum time:

    • Students study the three core subjects for over 40% of their time in KS3. This increases to at least 50% in KS4.

    • Up to 70% of curriculum time is allocated to Ebacc subjects in KS3. This increases to 80% in KS4.

    • More curriculum time is given to improving the Literacy skills of students who require additional support across key stages 3 and 4.

    • Students study practical and creative subjects for 30% of their time in KS3. All students study a practical or creative qualification during KS4.

  • The school day:

    • Begins at 8.25am followed by 5 one hour lessons. This encourages a punctual and productive start to the day. We believe that one hour lessons work across our practical, creative and academic subjects to interleave, introduce and embed subject content.

    • Students have a daily 25 minute tutor period immediately before/after lunch time. This is used by tutors to challenge poor conduct and to deliver elements of our PSHCE programme in horizontal tutor groups and via a weekly assembly.

    • Period 6 is used for small group tuition and runs from 3pm on three days per week.

 

Through the implementation of our curriculum we aim to develop the following skills and qualities to help students be successful, safe and healthy:

  • Numeracy, literacy and digital literacy - Literacy is taught as a discrete subject for all students at KS3 and for students with the largest gap between their chronological and reading ages in KS4. ICT is a core subject at both key stages to ensure that students are empowered to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world.

  • Independent learning and study skills - Study skills are taught as a discrete subject in Year 7. Study skills are also included in Schemes of Work as a component of our Embedding Learning Model. We run a range of study skills workshops for students and parents throughout the year.

  • Reflection, resilience and empathy - We develop these skills through a range of restorative practices, reflection activities and environmental projects.

  • Emotional health and wellbeing - We encourage staff and students to be mindful and actively seek out ways to help manage workloads and stress levels. We believe that encouraging students to take responsibility, be organised and plan for the future helps reduce stress. When concerns are raised or persist, we use early intervention, personalised and multi-agency approaches.

  • Employability skills - Meeting Gatsby’s ‘Good Career Guidance benchmarks’ demonstrates our commitment to providing students with the best possible careers education, information, advice and guidance.

 

Further distinguishing features of our curriculum are:

  • Many aspects of our structures and support are personalised to individual needs, as below:

    • Curriculum content and time - the amount of time students study MFL and Literacy is determined by their literacy levels. Additional time is allocated to Literacy if students would otherwise struggle to access the rest of the curriculum.

    • Transition group - approximately 5% of our lowest ability Year 7 & 8 students are taught in our Transition group. This provision ensures a more gradual transition by exposing students to fewer teachers, fewer rooms and a primary style thematic delivery.

    • Progress / BfL Quadrants - we closely monitor student engagement and progress. Students are grouped into one of four quadrants ½ termly. Personalised interventions and support are then used to help students embed excellent learning behaviours and make strong academic progress.

  • Cultural capital - our wider curriculum is designed to provide students with the cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We run a range of extra-curricular trips and visits, which are mapped and monitored to ensure that all students, particularly the most disadvantaged, are able to participate.