Sir Thomas Wharton Academy (a member of Maltby Learning Trust)
The fundamentals of our curriculum provide students with a grounding in knowledge. We will not assume that students cannot access complex material and we build up from the work done in the primary phase and down from what is required in higher education and employment.
The intention of the STWA curriculum is to:
- Inspire imagination and develop interests/specialisms/key skills.
- Provide appropriate challenge through access to complex material and concepts.
- Provide equality and promote aspiration for all learners irrespective of starting point, learning needs, background and disposition
- Facilitate positive progression routes through the student’s educational journey into sustainable further/higher education, training and employment.
- Provide relevance to context and community to enable social and economic mobility.
- Prepare children and young people to be successful learners for life, responsible citizens and confident individuals.
Our curriculum has three components which provide a holistic learning experience:
Our seven-year curriculum offer is sufficiently broad and balanced to ensure all young people have access to a common core and are able to specialise to follow their interests, develop their skills and provide equal access to positive progression routes.
Each subject department has a written curriculum manifesto, a statement of principles as a promise to ensure the learning experience contributes to the Academy’s unique context and community aspiration. Each curriculum experience must address social disadvantage by connecting to each of the three curriculum components, have a clear end-point it is building towards, be coherently planned and sequenced and promote high academic ambition.
The subject curricula strive to make authentic connections with one another, for example, the study of Shakespeare in English can be contextualised through the study of Elizabethan England in History and the interpretation of graphs in Maths reinforces the skills and learning with those in Science. The development of Oracy structures led by English helps support structured talk and writing in other subjects or as part of the hidden curriculum.
All students, irrespective of prior attainment, disadvantage and SEND needs have equal access to the curriculum. Those in Year 7 and 8 with underdeveloped language and literacy from their previous phase in learning have an extra lesson of literacy to develop their literacy skills. Access to the full Ebacc is predicated on skills, aptitude and potential to achieve in a modern foreign language.
The intent builds on the learning aims of the National Curriculum.
Our Curriculum Offer:
- Is knowledge based; broadening and deepening skills and understanding between Primary and Higher Education
- Provides an appropriate yet proportional provision of learning time for first wave Maths and English
- Provides a high performing and relevant accredited qualification in the ‘Core for All’ offer
- Provides opportunities at appropriate points of accreditation throughout the seven years
- Includes a commitment to access a mix of Applied and Academic qualifications
- Provides access to Single/Triple Sciences and Trilogy to facilitate post 16 and 18 progression
- Has a core provision of ‘Life Skills’ to prepare for life in modern Britain
- Includes a commitment to the Ebacc through guided choice
- Provides richly resourced learning experiences
- 26 hour per week (6/5 lesson per day) core offer for all
- Grouping arrangements that provide equal opportunity and flexibility; not a ceiling on potential
- Interleaved provision sustaining relevance and connectivity across the subjects
- Teaching methodologies underpinned by Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction that develop long term memory and reduce cognitive load
Our Curriculum Structure
The Academy day and curriculum structure is similar across all secondary Academies in the Trust. It extends over a 26 period week of 6 or 5 one hour lessons per day from Year 7 to 13. English, Maths have 5 hours per week from Year 9 and Options subject have two hours per week. A Level provision has five, one-hour lessons over two years.
Life skills is a specialist curriculum delivered for one hour per week to all students from Y7-13. Based on a spiral curriculum, themes develop in complexity, depth and topic depending on the age related requirements of our young people. Specialist speakers, external agencies and resource libraries are used to provide an excellent learning experience. The core themes of Life skills include:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Life and Religion in the Wider World
Throughout the course the development and application of understanding is ‘tested’ through questionnaires, discussions and student voice feedback. Scrap books of best work and mind concept maps are used to capture learning. Softer measures of the success of Lifeskills include student disposition, relationships, behaviour and engagement. Authentic links are made between learning in Lifeskills and other subject areas, for example the understanding of addiction contributing to the effects of smoking studied in Science.
Careers Education is delivered discretely within Life skills and more explicitly through ‘drop down’ sessions. Click here for more detail of the CEIAG provision at STWA.
Please click here for more detail of the Pastoral provision. The tutor programme (75 minutes per week) provides students with a comprehensive curriculum to promote personal development and wellbeing. Authentic connections are made between the tutor programme, Life Skills and the subject curricula experience. The Votes for Schools platform is used to encourage healthy debate and discussion about topical and contentious issues and encourages further awareness of Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural (SMSC) issues and British Values. Again, external experts enrich the curriculum offer through this programme.
Character Education is a new initiative for 2019. Every student across Year 7-10 has access to a Teen Learning Coach/mentor. The Character Education programme promotes a sustainable learning culture to champion self-belief/motivation amongst our young people. Themes covered across the academic year include goal setting, power learning, communication skills, memory/revision techniques, developing self esteem and much more. Students reflect on their experiences and are encouraged to talk about their learning with peers and other adults.
Super Curricula/Enrich And Inspire (for our most able learners)
Our most able learners are encouraged to participate in our Enrich and Inspire programme, a focused research rich, more in depth exploration of topics and themes which sit outside the subject curriculum. Predicated on preparation for the best Russell Group Universities, subject teachers pose questions and challenges for young people to further explore, grapple with and debate at the highest level.
Our curriculum is organised into key themes and topics which are delivered, unless in exceptional circumstances by highly qualified subject specific specialists. Assessment takes many forms from low stakes recall and retrieval practice, exit ticket tests to formative deep SPA assessments to formal summative trial examinations. Testing is follow by a period of Close the Gap activity through whole class or individual verbal and written feedback. Each department has externally trained examination markers and the development of expert teacher knowledge (ETK) is central to our professional learning and development culture.
The delivery of our subject curriculum is based on external research; tried and tested techniques which promote a love of learning, develop long term memory and reduce cognitive load. Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction forms the basis of our approach to teaching and learning throughout a lesson or sequence of learning experiences. The steps and stages are outlined below.
Each curriculum subject from Y7-13 has a curriculum overview, indicating the sequencing of content and where deeper summative and formative assessment takes place.
Example from English:
Example from Maths:
In order to master the specific elements of Principles of Instruction, learning experiences are shaped and prioritised accordingly:
The STWA curriculum is designed to hook students’ interests to produce amongst others, young linguists, geographers, historians and scientists. To achieve this, we place great emphasis on the balance between the professional development and opportunities for collaboration between curriculum leaders and teachers and clear evaluation and accountability. The curriculum is quality assured through quantitative and qualitative measures such as:
- Student participation in super curricular and subject enrichment
- Attendance and behaviour data
- Take up and retention at GCSE and Post 16
- Destination data including Post 18 progression
- Student Voice
- Quality and quantity of work in books
- Attendance to Achieve
- Academy examination performance - attainment and progress