Curriculum Intent

  • Place reading at the heart of the curriculum
  • Efficient and effective use of class room time
  • Ensure progress for all students
  • Raise the social capital of students experiencing disadvantage
  • Accelerate the acquisition of knowledge and expansion of vocabulary
  • Foster an expertise in domain specific skills
  • Develop a high standard of cultural literacy
  • Provide broad opportunities for progression
  • Engage students in learning beyond the classroom
  • Nurture a curriculum that is intrinsically valuable

Curriculum Statement: Key Stage 3

In Key Stage 3, all students experience a curriculum that is characterised by exploration, breadth and depth. All students will develop knowledge in each subject area that has been defined as fundamental and students will also acquire subject specific skills through the application of fundamental knowledge. Our ambition is that all students will know more, remember more and be able to do more in every element of their curricular experience. This is our definition of progress over time.

All programmes of study have been carefully planned and sequenced to accelerate the development of fundamental knowledge and skills. Schemes of learning do this first by building on the prior attainment of students and their starting points as they begin secondary school. Our curriculum is carefully planned to scaffold up from the end points of the National Curriculum (Key Stage 2). These curriculum plans allow students to build confidence through the application of knowledge and skills developed in primary school. The intuitive sequencing of the curriculum empowers students to learn more and this also prepares students for increasing levels of challenge and demand.

By the end of Key Stage 3, all students will have covered National Curriculum requirements in all subjects. Students will follow a learning map and they will have access to clear endpoints for each subject. This information allows students to become successful learners because they know and understand their learning journey.

Students will develop a broad base of knowledge that will enable them to progress through their sequence of learning in each subject. Students will acquire skills that have been carefully built into each learning journey. The breadth of specialist subjects that students will study provides an outstanding basis for exploration in each subject and also of their own personal development as a learner.

Curriculum Statement: Year 9

In Year 8, students choose 3 subjects to study in depth in Year 9. This allows students to define their own pathway and to engage in a bridging year with an emphasis of excitement and enjoyment. The curriculum structure allows students to choose 3 subjects in addition to the core Maths, English, Science, PE and a Modern Foreign Language. These gateway courses are not externally examined but rather they create the foundations for Key Stage 4 study. In Year 9, pupils may be able to move between subjects within blocks where possible if this ensures that they have the right curriculum package the start of KS4.

Curriculum Statement: Key Stage 4

Subject options are designed to stretch and challenge students and to prepare students so that they have high aspirations and ambitions for study at Post-16 and beyond. Students are offered a broad range of subjects from all areas of the curriculum encompassing a balance of academic and practical courses. This gives every student a broad and balanced curriculum whilst enabling every individual to secure excellent outcomes. This structure also maintains a broad basis for progression routes in the future. Students receive high-quality, personalised information, advice and guidance to ensure that they make aspirational decisions when progressing into Post-16 education.

Curriculum Statement: Key Stage 5

Our Sixth Form curriculum is an extension of the specialism of the Key Stage 4 options process and all students will study a high-quality specialist curriculum pathway. Students select 3 or 4 A Levels from the 26 we offer, which are supplemented with a tutoring and PSHE programme designed to offer support appropriate to the journey through Key Stage 5. Personal development is at the heart of the Sixth Form experience.

In Year 12, students have a tutoring and PSHE programme that supports personal development including the development of study skills. In the Autumn term of Year 12 we enable students to become independent learners so that they take the full value from study periods. In the Spring term we nurture student development through enrichment opportunities to enhance their skills and experiences. Student leadership and mentoring of younger students are important elements, as are wider study and reading opportunities. In the Spring term of Year 12 students are introduced to the range of post-18 pathways available. Most of our students apply to university, and we also support those students seeking apprenticeships and employment.

In Year 13, students continue to benefit from the guidance of a tutoring and PSHE programme. Post-18 applications to university apprenticeships and work are all covered, along with life-skills ready for the move into adulthood. In curriculum areas students become experts in their chosen subjects and devote time to the honing of skills. A key feature of many curriculum areas is the use of Year 13 students to support Year 12 students, with obvious mutual benefits.

Assessment

Students will be assessed against a framework of common assessments that have been carefully co-designed across Tudor Grange Academies Trust. These assessments provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills that they have developed over time. This assessment framework is based on a cumulative model of knowledge and skill acquisition and the demands on students will increase progressively as they move through their programmes of study.

Teachers will formatively assess the recall of fundamental knowledge and the acquisition of skills in every lesson. This formative assessment will include checking for understanding, recall activities, questioning, and quizzing and low stakes tests.

Curriculum impact

At Robert Smyth Academy, our curriculum will:

  • Ensure that the sequence of learning builds on prior knowledge
  • Support progression based on the development of fundamental knowledge and skills
  • Ensure that students develop respect for British values and other cultures
  • Meet the interest, aspirations and needs of all students
  • Enable all students to fulfil their potential
  • Lead to an outstanding currency of qualifications
  • Prepare pupils to make informed choices about their progression routes
  • Help students to develop enquiring minds
  • Ensure that students develop the ability to question and argue rationally

Reading For All

Students will be encouraged to read and develop their reading skills in all areas of the curriculum to ensure that they are gaining new vocabulary, using language in different contexts and expanding their wider knowledge/cultural understanding on a daily basis.

In lessons, all students will be given routine opportunities to read and will be asked to read aloud, read to themselves and share their comprehension of what they have read, both in school and at home.

In subject lessons, this will be particularly evident in recall tasks, engagement with research/wider reading and reading from texts.

All subjects have reading strategies specific to their area.