The aim of the curriculum will be to help every young person become ‘fully alive’ by developing skills such as communication and organisation, competencies such as creativity and resilience and values such as valuing trust, truth, reconciliation and faith.
The precise range of skills, competencies and values will be developed over the next two years in discussion with key stakeholders taking into account national developments and best practice. It will be rooted in the needs of the local area and will address in particular the low levels of progress of young people in Swindon and their low progression rates into Further and Higher Education. While providing a broad and balanced education the Academy will also seek to develop the skills relevant to the needs of business and industry in the Swindon area. The aim of the KS3 curriculum will be to provide a broad and balanced education to students which will enable them to become empowered learners, by building on the knowledge and understanding they have gained at KS2 and prepare them for the rigour and demands of KS4. For these reasons, the school will broadly follow the National Curriculum at KS3.
The curriculum will provide students with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It will introduce students to the best that has been thought and said and help engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. The curriculum will provide an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills.
There will be a particular emphasis on communication and numeracy skills. This strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy will be threaded through the whole curriculum as well as through English and Maths lessons. The humanities subjects of Geography, History and Religious Education will support the delivery of aspects of literacy and communication. Science, Design Technology and, for graphical work, Geography will support the delivery of numeracy. Through innovative Empowered Learning lessons, students will receive a programme that will include communication, literacy and numeracy work. This is particularly important in Swindon, where Ofsted reports of local schools indicate a need to “improve the quality of teaching by developing students’ writing and comprehension skills more fully across all subjects”.
The KS3 curriculum will also promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students as well as the skills, competencies and values that are agreed as important to the school and community. This will be crucial to cementing the ethos of the school so that students from different backgrounds socially, ethnically and geographically (both local and from other areas of Swindon) will feel part of a school family. These will be driven and developed through every curriculum area. In addition, the Empowered Learning programme will cover all aspects of Personal Social and Health Education, including Citizenship, as well as helping students to develop their learning skills and metacognitive abilities. The KS4 curriculum will be developed to maximise student’s progress and attainment. As at KS3 extra time will be given to English and Maths and all students will study and sit a GCSE in English Literature as well as English Language. In Year 9 and again in Year 10 students begin to make choices about their future educational and vocational direction, whilst keeping a focus on the basics of communication and numeracy and ensuring that they retain access to humanities, languages, technological and creative subjects. This is to raise student aspirations by securing basic skills, providing a range of high quality qualifications and clear pathways to post-16 education. This is especially important in Swindon where there is a track record of low levels of entry into Higher Education. An emphasis at both KS4 and KS5 on facilitating subjects for top universities will help to remove barriers to progression and to raise aspirations.
The range of subjects to be offered at KS4 and in the Sixth Form curriculum will be developed once the Academy is open in order to take into account developments in qualifications over the next three to five years. The emphasis in the Sixth Form as throughout will be on raising aspirations and enabling students to make the appropriate choices to ensure they achieve their full potential whether they are going directly into employment or Higher Education.