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The Hereford Academy

Achievement through Perseverance

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Curriculum

The Hereford Church of England Academy offers a balanced education sustained by Christian values. Our vision is to broaden horizons and create caring, confident and responsible citizens, who strive to achieve their potential. We serve the whole community, of all faiths and none.

At the Hereford Academy, we stand united as educators, by a commitment to give our students, every opportunity to fulfil their dreams and potential in order that they can plan for the best possible future they can imagine, confidently equipped to overcome any barriers they may face, and able to live life in all its fullness.
 

Our curriculum aim is to inspire our young people to be ambitious, curious and capable of achieving their personal best. We want them to develop greater personal effectiveness at every stage, understanding themselves as independent learners, able to utilise their knowledge wisely, whilst recognising the traits and qualities they possess as they become more successful.  Producing aspirant and reflective individuals who are committed to life learning beyond secondary school and throughout their careers.
 

To achieve this vision, we firmly believe that all of our learners have an entitlement to study the knowledge and practise the skills they will need to fully enjoy a life of unlimited opportunities, achieve success in any given context and thrive, wherever in our 21st century world, they chose to live a life of great worth.
 

It is therefore our duty as a school, to develop our young people as scholars, taught all the necessary knowledge they need, alongside the skills that enable them to manage, understand, remember and critically apply information, whether functionally or creatively. Our curriculum exists to specify the knowledge that needs teaching, as well as the techniques that will best help students to retain it. To be fully coherent, our curriculum also identifies the resources we provide to assist with this and we exemplify successful learning through valid and reliable assessment.

The importance we place on having a curriculum that is rich in knowledge is what underpins our overall curriculum design. This means providing our young people with an ambitiously academic curriculum, where we introduce them to a broad set of ideas and concepts that go beyond those presented in the National Curriculum and prescribed examination specifications. We believe that having an opportunity to learn about the great ideas, writings and discoveries of the past and present is a basic entitlement of all our students.  Receiving content one might not otherwise have access to, taught by knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers, with opportunities to participate in activities that develop skills through the application of learning, are the essential components of a curriculum that empowers its students. In this age of information, possessing and retaining this essential knowledge is the greatest gift we can give our students. Not only can it make them more successful as lifelong learners, it can also remove local and contextual barriers, engineer increased social mobility and facilitate access to the widest range of opportunity.   
 

These are our central intentions when structuring our provision as a school curriculum.

Our designed approach is to have a ‘Knowledge-connected’ curriculum. This is in recognition of the fact that everything we learn can be connected to something else we know. Having a breadth of background knowledge enables us to learn more quickly and remember what we have learnt, for longer. The more things we know the more connections we can make. People who have extensive knowledge bases have significantly more possible connections available to them. Everything we learn is connected to something else we know. So our curriculum approach also aims to develop memory and recall more effectively by ensuring a ‘substantive’ body of subject knowledge is connected through careful structuring and sequenced learning (knowledge organisers, subject content maps, schemes of work).
 

In wanting students to have a full understanding of the specified knowledge, we encourage a focus on mastery. This involves component knowledge being revisited over time with opportunity given to actively practice retrieval, by applying proven techniques for deepening memory. Our Knowledge-connected curriculum comprises planned progression strategies (including additional interventions) within each subject. These programmes of study connect the points at which key subject knowledge and skills are to be taught, applied and then assessed. Assessment checks will determine the moment when teaching can move on beyond these points. Thereby connecting prior, present and future learning. Teaching does not move on until the essential ‘entitled’ knowledge is successfully re-connected and secured as new understanding is tested. This approach to learning and teaching is strongly under-pinned by our Academy mission statement of ‘Achieving through Perseverance’. This ensures we maintain high expectations of all, promote the enduring power of resilience, and continue to stretch and support all ages and abilities.
 

We also believe that the acquisition and retention of this ‘entitled’ knowledge is fundamental to the development of higher order thinking skills. This connection, we see as being the real ‘power of knowledge’. By equipping our students with the essential factual knowledge, we enable them to understand and engage more effectively with the ‘disciplinary knowledge’ that subject specialisms contain. Here learners develop subject expertise and scholarship through the experience of studying a subject more deeply. Learners interact with the key enquiries, debates and complexities that help understand how knowledge has become established, as a subject discipline. This enables students to think with the mind of a specialist, promoting curiosity and questioning as well as developing the skills required to confidently problem solve and critically reason. A more profound outcome, is that this ’power of knowledge’  ignites a passion for a subject which in turn enables students them to make personal connections between subject learning and future opportunities, such as a related career or with a field of study within further education.

 

Therefore, our ‘Knowledge-connected’ curriculum empowers all children, not only by ensuring they have a breadth of background knowledge in subjects, but also by teaching them how to be critical, questioning interpreters of that knowledge. We make them critical thinkers and handlers of knowledge, rather than passive collectors of facts. To achieve this we construct the curriculum with a clear purpose, understood by all, for why we study the knowledge and concepts, when we do, in each subject area studied. In addition, we communicate this understanding through curriculum maps and use these to connect knowledge across the curriculum and highlight the transferability of the skills they acquire.

 

Our knowledge-connected curriculum requires students to be learning in language-rich environments. Across our curriculum, subjects ensure students repeatedly encounter specific words, referenced and practised often enough to embed into long-term memory. Teachers know that at secondary school, students best acquire vocabulary through the explicit teaching of words in context. They motivate and maintain the ability to read, understanding how essential it is for students to access and progress within their subject. Learning across the curriculum connects to build language through speaking, listening and comprehension as well as modelling how a wide range of words can be used to articulate ideas.

 

Having an understanding of the core concepts that underpin mathematics enables students to connect new learning of knowledge in different subjects that rests on these concepts. Across the curriculum, students should be encouraged think mathematically when understanding the world, as well as using numbers to solve problems.

 

Developing cross-curricular skills also includes teaching an understanding of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) matters, including British values.  Our core values of care, aspiration, trust, respect and resilience and use these to connect our curriculum content more widely. Rich opportunities therefore exist for the development of character, citizenship, cultural awareness and wellbeing.  Coverage of these aspects ensures students are able to learn effectively, know how to live safe and healthy lives, as well as understanding how they can promote democracy, diversity and tolerance in our wider world.

 

Delivery of the OCR Sport Science course to all our students will directly help to address a number of underlying health as well as mental well-being issues within the academy due to its focus on awareness of diet, mindfulness, exercise and long-term health development.

 

We sensitively and inclusively teach Relationships and Sexual Education, compulsory in all secondary schools. This is an age-related programme taught when it is developmentally appropriate. We are respectful to the backgrounds and beliefs of children and their parents while aiming to ensure the knowledge they need of the law is provided. Our programme for Relationships and Sexual Education builds on the knowledge acquired at primary school by developing further and understanding of health, with an increased focus on the risks of alcohol and drugs. We also introduce knowledge about intimate relationships and sex. Teaching about mental wellbeing is also central to these subjects, especially as a priority for all of us is our children’s happiness. Our curriculum prioritises giving young people the knowledge and developing the capability to take care of themselves and receive support is problems arise.

 

Our curriculum teaches students how to turn education into opportunity, presenting them with opportunities in the economy they might not have encountered. Our Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance actively prepares our young people for the next phase of learning and development into adulthood, designed using the Gatsby benchmarks.

 

Study is structured and coordinated to facilitate progression into further education at university, college or on an apprenticeship.  We tailor our curriculum to meet the needs of our students and the needs of our local community, able to flourish within an ethos of high expectations, expert teaching, targeted intervention and excellent facilities.

Our curriculum ensures learning is meaningful, engaging, relevant and accessible. It contains academic rigour and challenge, reflecting the high aspirations that we have for every student. I also enables students to gain qualifications that will help them demonstrate what they know.

All students follow a one week timetable comprising of 25 periods a week with 5 periods a day (4 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon).


The organisation of our curriculum allows for the development of learning over five years as follows:


Key Stage 3 (Yrs 7 - 9): Our students study a varied and broad set of subjects, allowing them to develop a mastery of knowledge and skills across this breadth of different disciplines. This growth in subject understanding alongside the development of key transferable skills equips students will the independence they need to progress further on in the school and beyond.

During Key Stage 3 we prioritise enhancing the literacy skills of all students. Each week students in Years 7,8 and 9 have a literacy hour. We also regularly test reading ages, assessing students’ comprehension of the written word, rather than their ability to read, hence giving a better indicator of their ability to achieve in examinations and life skills.

 

All subject courses comply with the requirements of the National Curriculum, and are reviewed each year.

 

Key Stage 3  - Curriculum Offer and study time per week

English

Literacy

Maths

Science

PE

RS

PSHCE

Art

Drama

French

Geography

History

3 hours

1 hour

3 hours

3 hours

2 hours

1 hour

1 hour

1 hour

1 hour

2 hours

1 hour

1 hour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICT

Technology

Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 hour

3 hours

1 hour

 

 

Key Stage 4 (Yrs 10 - 11): At Key Stage 4 this curriculum develops to become more specialised, as students make the choices that are right for their future. We ensure that qualifications as those valued by people outside of school and genuinely represent what a student has achieved. We also ensure the provision is as broad and balanced as possible, by having a mixture of academic and vocational courses. We are proud of our continued success with specialised courses such as Construction and Health and Social care, often not delivered by others schools locally.

 

We also feel strongly that having all of our students studying the OCR Sport Science course, will directly help to address any underlying health as well as mental well-being issues that might exist, with its focus on awareness of diet, mindfulness, exercise and long-term health development.

 

Students are guided onto the most appropriate pathway using the information from internal assessments. Students and their parents/carers are given clear information, advice and guidance when choosing key stage 4 courses during the spring term of Year 8. The pathway system gives clarity to the options process. Two pathways will be recommended to students based on their preferred way of working, interests, and ability and future aspirations.

 All students at key stage 4 will study the core subjects as highlighted in blue.
 

KS4 – Curriculum Offer and study time per week

English

Maths

Science

PE

RS

PSHCE

Pathway 1

4 hours

5  hours

4 hours

3 hours

2 hours

1 hour

Option A

Option B

Option C

2 GCSEs

1 GCSE

2 GCSEs

1 GCSE Equivalent

1 GCSE

-

2 hours

2 hours

2 hours

 

1 GCSE / Equivalent

1 GCSE / Equivalent

1 GCSE / Equivalent

Pathway 2

 

Option B

Option C

3 hours

3 hours

1 GCSE / Equivalent

1 GCSE / Equivalent

 

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