Curriculum – Depth for breadth
We prioritise depth for breadth. All pupils secure firm foundations in English and mathematics and this underpins excellence in other subject disciplines. Our curriculum is rigorous and knowledge-led with students practising and then mastering key learning before moving on.
Regular assessments and interventions are structured to ensure that pupils are supported to build upon their strengths and overcome their challenges. From the point of entry, we work with our students intensively to support the development of reading ability and literacy.
Our student study a broad range of subjects at Key Stages 3 and 4. At Sixth Form we offer both academic and professional pathways, whilst continually supporting students through high quality careers guidance.
Key Stage Three – 27.5 hours
- All students get at least 4 hours a week of maths
- All students get at least 5 hours a week of English
- All students get at least 4 hours a week of Science
- All students in years 7 and 8 get an additional 30 minutes targeted literacy provision
- 2 classes out of 5 in year 7 and 1 in year 8 get 5 hours a week of a phonics based reading instruction programme.
- 1 class in year 9 gets 2.5 hours a week of specialist literacy teaching
- All students get an hour a week of Computer Science to address their limited skills and experience on entry and a general lack of access in the home
Key Stage Four - 27.5 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 and literacy if students have not achieved target levels.
- Most students in Y10 and Y11 are following an academic GCSE based curriculum with the large majority having access to the English Baccalaureate.
- Some students undertake 3 separate science GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics and the rest are working towards the Combined Science 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.
- All students in year 10 are working towards GCSE in both English Language and English Literature.
- 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 (see our Progress 8 measure). The latest adjustments will allow the academy to maximise its ‘Attainment 8 and Progress 8’ figures.
- This curriculum is also designed to maximise the achievement of GCSE grades at 5+ including English and maths. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of this in above average attainment from well below average starting points and outstanding progress data.
- All students also do an engineering/technology or art and design course for 2 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
'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. The range of academic subjects available includes the STEM subjects as well as economics, sociology and psychology. Science A levels attract the largest numbers and those courses are often full. Our course offer at Sixth form 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.