The Ark St Alban’s Academy curriculum has two central aims:
- Providing all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, with the skills, knowledge and qualifications that they will need to succeed in studying at selective universities and in pursuing fulfilling careers.
- Providing all pupils who need it with the urgent and precise support required in literacy and numeracy to catch-up and keep up with their peers.
At Ark St Alban’s Academy, our curriculum is best understood through the answers to the following three questions:
1. Intent: why do we teach what we teach?
2. Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?
3. Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
Our curriculum is built around concepts and as a result it is organised in a way which allows pupils to know more and remember more over time.
These concepts collectively match the breadth of the National Curriculum and allow the subject to be explored in depth. Each one is defined precisely and comprehensively and each one both builds on learning from previous key stages and prepares pupils for success in national examinations and future study.
The content through which these concepts are explored is chosen selectively to prioritise building memory; it does not just focus on transferring facts: it deepens understanding, changes the way pupils think and enables them to communicate that way of thinking.
It is a university preparatory curriculum and it is designed around the academic and facilitating subjects which form the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc).
Our subject offer at sixth form, builds on the work of the previous five years, offering pupils the opportunity to study a wide range of academic subjects and vocational courses that support access to top-third universities and top-100 apprenticeships.
Our academic curriculum is taught and sequenced in a way which supports pupils to know and remember more over time. It supports pupils to flourish as confident learners by prioritising three main principles:
- Continually building on prior knowledge, and where gaps exist in that prior knowledge, identifying and addressing them precisely and quickly.
- Providing regular opportunities for pupils to read appropriately challenging texts and using consistent approaches in teaching pupils to become increasingly fluent readers.
- Planning each lesson around a carefully chosen learning aim which all pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of through independent practice.
Lesson by lesson, this is typically achieved through a five-part structure, comprising of Getting Started, Exposition, Practice, Independent Practice and Transition. These features may occur once or multiple times within each lesson, and sometimes they may be spread across a series of consecutive lessons.
All lessons reflect our common approaches for managing behaviour and our common approaches to inclusion.
We use assessment with four aims in mind: building memory, adapting teaching, evaluating the curriculum and when appropriate, quantifying pupil attainment.
The impact of our curriculum is seen in the preparedness of our pupils to move into their chosen next stage of educational, employment of training.
The progress that children make at Ark St Alban’s Academy by the end of Year 11 is typically well-above the national average. This is true for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities and for those who are disadvantaged.
Almost all of our pupils go on to attend Good or Outstanding providers at the end of Year 11, and many choose to study at our sixth form. At the end of Year 13, almost all of our pupils go on to study at university.
The number achieving places at selective and Russell Group universities is increasing each year, as is the number achieving places to study prestigious courses such as medicine, engineering and law.
We are proud of the achievements of all of our alumni. Learning from their successes informs our ongoing work to continually improve the impact of our curriculum.