Curriculum – Depth before breadth
Ark St Alban’s Academy is developing an exciting and challenging curriculum. Our students work longer hours than typical secondary school students – 30.5 hours, rather than 25 hours of formal classes a week – and all students benefit from an extended curriculum with the school providing study support facilities from 0800 to 1700 each day.
We commit extra time to English and mathematics to allow students attain proficiency quickly in literacy and numeracy and enable them to address the curriculum with confidence. Students who need extra support benefit from more time in small groups focusing on essential skills. At the same time gifted and talented students can accelerate their learning. Having gained a solid grounding in the basics, all pupils have access to the full curriculum.
- We will discuss individual curriculum pathways with students and their parents. Personalised programmes will be created to develop students’ particular strengths while enabling them to make good progress in all subjects.
- Our specialist and dedicated staff ensure that lessons meet individual needs, supported by the best information technology and teaching and learning resources.
Key Stage Three - 30.5 hours
- All students get at least 5 hours a week of maths
- All students get at least 5 hours a week of English
- All students in years 7 and 8 get an additional 30 minutes targeted literacy provision in the lead lesson at the start of each day
- 2 classes out of 5 in year 7 and I in year 8 get 5 hours a week of a phonics based reading instruction programme.
- 1 class in year 9 gets 3 hours of week of specialist literacy teaching
- All students get an hour a week of ICT to address their limited skills and experience on entry and a general lack of access in the home
- All students in year 9 get 6 hours of science to prepare them for double or triple GCSE in KS4
Key Stage Four - 30.5 hours
In years 10 and 11 we offer a full range of academic and vocational programmes with a particular emphasis on achievement at GCSE and in the English Baccalaureate. We continue to support numeracy ad literacy if students have not achieved target levels.
- Apart from one very small vocational group (7 or 8 individuals in each year) all students are following an academic GCSE based curriculum with the large majority having access to the English Baccalaureate.
- Some students are taking 3 separate science GCSEs and the rest are working towards the science double award.
- Students chose geography or history in year 9 to give them sufficient time to achieve well at GCSE and opted for Spanish, Arabic or Urdu at the start of year 10.
- A free option allows students to opt for a full course in RE, ICT, Music or PE.
- Year 10
- All students in year 10 are working towards GCSE in both English Language and English Literature.2 out of 5 English sets benefit from additional teaching time (8 hours rather than 5) in order that all students including those with the lowest starting points can take English literature as well as language
- The curriculum at KS4 gives each student extended time to focus on a relatively small number of courses so as to limit the quantity of diverse assessment and coursework demands. This is effective in facilitating achievement in 'all subjects' at KS4 well above predicted levels (CVA in top 2% nationally and St Alban’s is ranked 4th out of 55 ‘similar schools’ according to DFE data).The latest adjustments will allow the academy to maximise its ‘Best 8’ figures.
- This curriculum is also designed to maximise the achievement of 5A*-C with English and maths. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of this in above average attainment from well below average starting points and outstanding value added data.
- All students do an engineering/technology or art and design course for 4 hours a week.This reflects the academy’s engineering specialism and students attain very highly on these courses.
- All students get 2 hours of physical education
- All students get the equivalent of half an hour a week of RE
At Key Stage four all students receive high quality careers education and guidance and follow a programme of work related activities and work place visits culminating in a week long work experience placement.
The Ark St Alban’s Academy Sixth form curriculum is an academic one designed to prepare students for higher education and progression to the career of their choice. There is a particular emphasis on STEM subjects reflecting the academy’s specialisms in maths and engineering but the full range of academic subjects is available along with sociology and psychology. Maths and science A levels attract the largest numbers. The course offer is responsive to demand but limited to A level and level 3 vocational courses. The quality of provision at KS3 and KS4 allows the large majority of Ark St Alban’s students to access these courses post 16. Any students requiring more specialist vocational courses are guided towards local colleges of further education that have the appropriate facilities.
Personal, Social and Moral Education including citizenship is a strong theme across our curriculum. Students learn about and discuss issues such as health, relationships, sex, life skills and their place in society.
Students in all years study Religious Education.
The academy makes extensive use of ICT. The academy has state of the art technology facilities and achieves very high standards in technology.
We have exciting and engaging extended schools and enrichment programmes. These include extra-curricular classes, trips and visits and special events. We provide residential and personal development experiences and opportunities for young people to participate in their local community and a comprehensive programme of after-school clubs and activities. Five ‘Super Learning Days’ when the regular academy timetable is suspended, provide scope for extended project-based learning in real life contexts.