Academic Curriculum

We are ambitious for every child we teach and want to see a society that benefits from the contributions of our well-educated and empowered young people. We make a difference to young lives by being that difference and defying the disadvantage we see.

For these reasons we have developed an academically rigorous curriculum, with a particular focus upon enriching cultural capital and an appreciation of the performing arts. This is delivered through an extended school day and is driven by our commitment to educating the whole child. We constantly think about what and how we teach and discuss our thoughts with colleagues. It is by these thoughts and discussions that we refine our curriculum content and pedagogy. This ensures that there is rigour and coherence in both curriculum design (planned Intent) and its delivery (Implementation through our teaching). This architecture provides the platform to realise terrific learning, resulting, amongst other things, in a Progress 8 score of at least +1.

Our guiding principles for curriculum design (underpinning all subjects) are:

1. Phases of Learning: students’ learning is planned across three distinct phases. Phase One seeks to embed learning to learn across a broad and balanced curriculum offer. Phase Two focuses upon deepening understanding, as students begin to specialise. Phase Three is about realising success, both academically and for the next phase of their education, employment or training.

2. Academic milestones are mapped from Key Stage 2 and backwards from Key Stage 5 and university: Learning is broken down into discrete units and delivered in a logical and systematic order, which intentionally builds on prior learning.

3. Strong academic content and skill: The ideas, concepts, and experiences chosen have stood the test of time and will be useful for students long after they have left school.

4. Music and the performing arts are prized as a right not a privilege: they are taught discretely and wherever possible, used across the curriculum with rigour.

5. Guided by cognitive science: interleaving, spaced retrieval practice and cognitive load theory underpin all our work and inform the choices we make for students. Here, the highest leverage activities are chosen. What does ‘high-leverage’ mean? Simply the strongest lever to garner deep thought and propel towards mastery.

6. Local is important as a source of engagement and as a tool to build communities: as such Lockleaze, Bristol and the South West are woven throughout our curricula.

7. Assessment recognises the difference and significance of both formative (practice) and summative (performance) opportunities: we use formative techniques to check for understanding and provide precise feedback. Summative assessment checks large blocks of learning and is cumulative.

8. Subject Professional Development is not generic: It is based on what teachers will teach, students will learn and how students are performing and developing.

These curriculum principles are translated into the architecture of our curriculum, in terms of both its design (intention) and delivery (implementation).

The image below shows the number and type of subjects taught during Phase One (Years 7 and 8):

The image below shows the number and type of subjects taught during Phase One (Years 7 and 8):