Curriculum

School mission:

Our mission is to develop a thriving school that our staff, Scholars and community deserve and take PRIDE in. Our students are known as scholars because we aspire for each experience during their KH journey to become a person who is highly educated or has an aptitude for study. It is our aspiration that all scholars gain the knowledge and understanding, and subsequent personal character and qualifications to take ownership of their future decisions and choices.

School vision:

Our vision is to create a strong culture of mutual respect and positive attitude within the school, on which a uniquely exciting curriculum can be developed and taught. The foundations for this are established by the setting and meeting of clear and effective expectations and routines for all members of our school community. Now we have established this foundation, we will build a broad provision for all scholars, so each one can thrive and control their own destination. To ensure that our Scholars can be successful from the cradle to their career.

Curriculum Intent:

When designing our curriculum we considered the following paradigms and research to ensure the curriculum we deliver is as impactful as possible:

Teach Like a Champion, we train our teachers in simple yet powerful teaching techniques to improve teaching practice and help scholars become university and career ready.

Adaptive teaching, our teachers are rigorous in checking for understanding and acting on these data, adapting their lesson to the ever-changing needs of scholars to ensure there is always progression from prior knowledge.

Effective teaching, teachers use the functions of direct instruction to allow all scholars to learn regardless of history or background; an introduction of the lesson to set the scene and link to prior learning, presentation of new material, guided practice with feedback and revision of work, followed by independent practice and an evaluation of the learning.

Cognitive Load Theory, our curriculum is designed to help scholars to progress throughout their time at our academy and is implemented through effective learning strategies such as retrieval practice, interleaving, dual coding and concrete examples and non-examples.

Growth Mindset Theory, scholars experience opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding with excuses accepted that can limit the levels of attainment and progress. Our pupils will grow into resilient learners. We believe that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort, persistence, trying different strategies and learning from mistakes. – “Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling.”

Construction and Implementation

Our curriculum was developed through a process of unpicking the learning required for Scholars to achieve strong results at the end of Year 11 and then working backwards to ensure that each sequence in learning allows Scholars to make Excellent progress.

The process for the construction of the curriculum is outlined below:

  1. Achievement Cycle Overview
    National Curriculum documents and GCSE specifications used to create broad topics for teaching within each Achievement Cycle. Topics need to be clearly sequenced to allow for achievement.
  2. Medium Term Planning
    For each year group, subjects decide upon what specific things need teaching alongside pre-requisite knowledge/topics, core vocabulary and specific skills students should demonstrate.
  3. Knowledge Organisers
    The core knowledge for each learning cycle for each year group is to be created and shown on one sheet of paper. On the reverse, key vocabulary with etymology and linked words is to be created.
  4. AC Assessments
    75 marks worth of questions are to be planned which will test the students' understanding of core knowledge AND application within extended questions. These will be a mix of Foundation and Higher questions with some crossover.
  5. Key Outcomes (week by week/section by section)
    List the key outcomes that need to be covered with a clear understanding of sequencing. These can be shown weekly and/or sectionally depending upon the topic. These will be broken down for the affirmative checking sheet.
  6. Knowledge Checking
    Key concepts that need to be recalled each week in a set time within a lesson or homework-linked to key knowledge within the topic or to help recall of prior learning.

This model of constructions allows us to sequence learning on a macro scale and then zoom into key micro sequences, within a week, a set of lessons or even within a lesson. Developing this structure also closely aligns internal assessment to teaching to ensure that Scholars clearly understand what they will be assessed on and ensuring that they are only assessed upon what they have been taught. Our model is Data-Driven in that regular assessments are used to pick out what Scholars need to re-cover and teaching is adaptive to this.

The Academic year is split into 4 Achievement Cycles (AC) with 8 teaching weeks, assessments in all subjects and then a re-teach week (see below). Schemes of Learning are sequenced so that Scholars make progress across each AC which is then measured in effective assessments. Regular feedback opportunities, Checking for Understanding and low-stakes testing allow teachers to adapt lessons and resources to ensure all Scholars make progress. Where underperformance is identified, effective interventions ensure that learning gaps and misconceptions are fixed as soon as they become apparent. Each specific element of the Curriculum has a number allowing us to zoom in on specific knowledge, focus revision for Scholars and enable data to be used more effectively for teaching

The Academic Year (Assessment Overview)

Achievement Cycle 1

Achievement Cycle 2

Achievement Cycle 3

Achievement Cycle 4

Knowledge Organisers, Assessment and Re-teach

Knowledge Organisers (KOs) are created for every subject at the start of each Assessment Cycle and distributed to Scholars. These are used for Retrieval practice every lesson through the Do Now and form a key part of the weekly teaching and assessment process.

All KOs also contain the key vocabulary needed for the AC as well as the etymology for each word and examples of its use. This ties in to the whole school reading strategy, one of our key improvement pillars.

Learning and knowledge retention within each Achievement Cycle is assessed through a 50 mark test with a mix of 35 knowledge based Multiple Choice Questions and 15 marks of application based questions. Through these the understanding of each Scholar can be identified and re-teaching then is focussed on gap filling as required.

Each test is rigorous and each question is designed to assess Scholar’s understanding of a specific concept as identified in the Curriculum planning documents. For example, each Multiple Choice Question contains 4 options, a correct, a misdirect and 2 wrong answers. The misdirects are designs to pick out key misconceptions which are a key part of our planning and instructional process.

After each test, a question by question analysis is produced for all Scholars. This is used by teachers, Curriculum areas, SLT and Scholars to pinpoint areas of weakness, replan the AC and ensure gaps are filled before Scholars reach terminal assessments.

Structure and Organisation in Years 7–11

Lessons at Kirk Hallam Academy last for an hour and have a clear structure as outlined below:

  • Four-minute Do Now based upon knowledge retrieval
  • Direct Instruction using Dual Coding where appropriate
  • Guided Instruction
  • Independent Practise
  • Four-minute minute Exit Ticket which is taken in, assessed and used to forward plan

Kirk Hallam Academy operates an extended school day (as below) with a later start on a Monday and an early finish on a Friday. On Fridays, all staff had a dedicated PD session, Data Driven Action Planning and department based knowledge enhancement sessions.

Shape of the Day

The school day is split into distinct sessions with set sessions for Reading (Tuesday–Thursday 8.30–9.00am), Core lessons and the extended Culture slot (Monday–Thursday 2.50–3.50pm).

Kirk Hallam also begins the week with a Folder Support and revision session and ends the week with a Paycheck session where Scholars can review their week and set targets moving forward.

Lesson Allocation

Kirk Hallam operates a three-year Key Stage 3, with Scholars opting for a wide variety of subjects to study further at Key Stage 4. The school operates a weekly timetable and the allocation for each subject is outlined below. Some of these sessions take place in Core learning time and others as part of the Culture session.

Key Stage 3 (ICT operates with Technology)

Subject English Maths Science Humanities Languages Art PE Technology Drama/ICT/Music
Periods 4 4 3 4 2 2 2 2 2

Year 10 (Core)

Subject English Maths Science PE
Periods 4 4 4 1

Year 10 (Options)

Three hours per week of the following subjects in four option blocks. Geography, History, Animal Care, Child Development, German, ICT, Spanish, Sport, Art and Design, Business, Computing, Design and Technology, Drama, PE, Psychology, Religious Studies

Year 11 (Core)

Subject English Maths Science PE
Periods 5 5 5 1

Year 11 (Options)

Three hours per week of the following subjects in three option blocks. French, Computer Science, Business Studies, History, Geography, iMedia, Philosophy, Music, Animal Care, Technology, Sport (GCSE and OCR National), Food Technology, Psychology, Sociology, Art, Health and Social Care and Child Development.

October 2021

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