The curriculum is at the heart of our Academy’s purpose, and it reflects our core values of Respect, Resilience and Excellence. We recognise that improving educational outcomes is the biggest way we can positively impact on all our students’ futures including those with SEN and the disadvantaged.
As well as our curriculum equipping our students with qualifications to progress in education and a child’s intellectual development, it will include social and emotional development, citizenship, and responsibility, with a focus on literacy and especially becoming accomplished readers. Our curriculum must develop the cultural capital of our students, exposing them to the full range of subjects for as long as possible.
We will strive to deliver a curriculum that is coherently designed, sequenced, and implemented, that is predominately but not exclusively knowledge based and is built on a foundation of strong pedagogy. Our curriculum must develop a child’s love of lifelong learning, of fascination and wonder, and enable them to be excellent in all they do.
We have a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) or high needs, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
Our curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
Our curriculum ensures we have the same academic, technical, or vocational ambitions for almost all learners. Where this is not practical – for example, for some learners with high levels of SEND – our curriculum remains ambitious and meets their needs.
Our learners study the full curriculum. We teach the full range of National Curriculum subjects for three years; students are supported to select a broad range of options which are completed in our two-year Key stage 4.
Our curriculum supports and encourages students to read.
Our espoused pedagogy is based on Rosenshine’s principles of instruction. Three of our five teaching routines are based on these principles to support high quality questioning, modelling, and feedback. The remaining two routines support teachers in planning for students with different needs and abilities and to support literacy and especially reading.
We ensure our teachers have an excellent knowledge of the subjects and courses they teach. Teachers model and present subject matter clearly, promoting discussion, challenge and extending learning about the subject matter they are teaching. They check learners’ understanding systematically using different types of questioning. Questioning also allows teachers to identify misconceptions quickly and accurately, and provide clear, direct feedback. In doing so, they respond and adapt their teaching as necessary. Our teachers are trained to scaffold new knowledge and skills to ensure our intent of a full and ambitious curriculum is accessible for all. They use techniques to help learners to remember more knowledge in their long-term memories and to integrate and link new knowledge into larger concepts. We offer and practice retrieval opportunities at the start and throughout the lesson.
We have key formative assessment points throughout the year and end of year summative assessments. We use formative assessment points to offer high quality written feedback with personalised follow up tasks that improve the learning of each student. Our formative assessments are coherent with the latest lesson content and previously acquired knowledge is also assessed. We assess reading ages three times a year to ensure students are chronologically on track with their reading and to plan reading interventions where needed.
We have a common set of learning routines that reduce cognitive load on students and ensure that routines around the start of the lesson, questioning, modelling, feedback, and the end of the lesson make the most efficient use of learning time and create an environment that allows the learner to focus on learning.
Teachers select and use resources and materials from centralised shared areas to reduce unnecessary workload and to allow them to plan for their individual classes and students. They follow a common scheme of learning in each subject area, this supports the academy’s intent of a coherently planned curriculum, sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning, qualifications, and employment.
We have an established literacy strategy that aims to develops learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading through our Colchester Academy Canon and a curriculum that has a focus on disciplinary literacy. We have programs within the academy that support students with low levels of literacy delivered by trained staff.
Our curriculum ensures learners develop detailed knowledge and skills across all subject areas and, as a result, achieve well. It prepares our students for the next stage of their education, employment, or training. Our students gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests, aspirations, and the intention of their course of study. Our curriculum design and intent means students read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension. We aim for our students to have a reading age that is broadly in line with their chronological age.