Kingsley Academy: Our Curriculum Philosophy
Our work at Kingsley Academy is guided by the ABC6 priorities which have been devised to reflect our motto, mission, vision and values.
Our improvement planning is structured around the six priorities that we have identified for Kingsley Academy, and their links to the Ofsted framework can be clearly signposted. They are the foundation of our educational vision and the goals, plans and strategies we propose to achieve this. The motto, mission, values and vision together are the precepts that we live by. They proclaim our short and long term aspirations and a moral framework which we seek to live by.
Rationale for and aims of the Kingsley Academy curriculum
- Our curriculum is designed to promote aspiration, well-being, equity, opportunity and success;
- All students have the right to high quality teaching and experience academic success;
- All students should be challenged, every day, in their learning;
- All students should make at least one year’s progress in one year;
- All students will have the opportunity to undertake work experience;
- All students will have the opportunity to make at least one extra curricular or enrichment trip per year.
Each curriculum area promotes, in addition to its main focus, wider elements crucial to students’ success.
- Literacy. Students need to be able to understand unambiguous and ambiguous or nuanced English text; they need to be able to write in clear, lucid, grammatical and well spelt prose; they need to understand the literacy of exams - academic literacy; they need to be able to read a range of texts, fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
- Numeracy. Students need to be able to function in a society which demands that adults understand a range of numerical data, and where STEM jobs, the fastest growing employment sector, require good levels of maths.
- Digital literacy. Students must leave us with competent levels of ICT and computing: those who cannot use the computer with confidence and skill will find themselves at a disadvantage in the job market.
- Health and well-being. With increasing focus on these areas, we think it hugely important to support students to live and eat healthily, to equip them to make good decisions, to encourage strong and resilient mental health, and to ensure students leave us as well equipped as possible for life in the adult world with skills for learning, life and work.
The curriculum at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) is broad and balanced:
- Students learn practical and book-bound subjects to have a fully-rounded experience
- The breadth of subjects gives students the opportunity to explore what interests them and where their strengths lie; this allows for greater personalisation and choice from Year 10 onward
- All the subjects in Key Stage 3 allow for progression to Key Stage 4 and beyond
- We describe ourselves as a ‘STE(A)M’ school: one which promotes, from Year 7, science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths. These subjects feed into the early experiences of the world of work and enterprise which we offer students, mindful of the likely employment opportunities of the future.
- The most able Year 7s will study Latin to build vocabulary and strategies for comprehension, grammar understanding, cultural awareness and language learning skills.
- Students needing extra support in literacy spend 50 additional minutes per week to bring them up to at least age related expectations.
All students are put into teaching groups according to their ability. We judge this in Year 7 from their SATs and MiDYS test results. MiDYS are a national test base used by many schools, including all AET academies. They identify numeracy, literacy and non-verbal reasoning skills and areas of weaknesses in the child. Data regarding progress is collected regularly and this informs our decisions about moving students to different groups.
In Key Stage 3 students will study the full range of subjects: English, maths, sciences, Spanish or French, history, geography, religious studies, PE, music, drama, art, ICT, technology (which includes catering, resistant materials, computing/ICT and graphics). English includes regular reading lessons in the library. Science covers physics, biology and chemistry (some students in Key Stage 4 get the opportunity to study the sciences separately – called Triple Science - see below).
The curriculum at Key Stage 4 remains broad for most, but not all, students:
- All students study the core subjects of maths, English language and English literature and at least two sciences to GCSE
- Those most able at the STEM subjects will do 3 sciences
- We believe in giving students as much choice as possible, whilst still reminding them of the importance of progression and fulfilling their potential. The most able are therefore encouraged to follow 2 Ebacc subjects: an MFL and history or geography, and then select two more subjects.
- A personalised approach - all students and parents are interviewed before options are finalised - means that some students will follow a different pathway which nevertheless results in an accreditation and therefore further study. Those who need extra literacy will develop these skills through a needs-led options pathway, which will be a combination of GCSE, Level 1, Level 2 and vocational courses. We put a great deal of emphasis on post-16 progression rates for all our students.
The curriculum at Key Stage 5 narrows for all students:
- Most students will study 3 or 4 A Levels (Level 3 courses) over 2 years
- Some students will study Level 2 courses from a range of vocational, English and maths subjects.
- In keeping with our determination that our students leave us well prepared for the future, we will provide for all learners to develop a strong awareness of the world of work, including opportunities for internships alongside academic study.
Throughout their time with us, we strive to make as many links with external partners as possible, thus opening opportunities for our students across many areas, including the arts, business and enterprise and higher education.
The national curriculum
In keeping with the requirements of the national curriculum, we:
- deliver a broad and balanced curriculum
- promote at every opportunity the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of our students and British - or universal - values
- prepare our students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
- include sex and relationships and careers education as part of our Personal, Social and Health Education programme
- offer students a wide range of subjects at Key Stage 4, including modern foreign languages, arts subjects (music, drama and art), technology and several humanities subjects; ensure that the pathway they follow is appropriate to their needs and interests.
We are proud of our reputation for inclusiveness and our curriculum increasingly reflects this philosophy. Targets for all students, including SEND, are set high and teachers are encouraged to plan work which is differentiated but nevertheless stretches and challenges all students. Each SEND student has a Pupil Passport which outlines the most appropriate methods for getting the best out of the student. We provide a range of targeted evidence based interventions for students with additional needs. The inclusion team also work with students with behavioural and emotional challenges.
Students joining us with no or limited English follow an intensive English programme with qualified English as an Additional Language (EAL) teachers, with significant time out of mainstream lessons until they are able to participate. The EAL department runs a support network for these students during and after their induction period.
Teachers must identify students with SEND, EAL and other needs, such as deprivation, in their planning, and take account of their needs.
Language and Literacy
As a school with a significant number of students whose mother tongue is not English, we are particularly focused on developing students to:
- use correctly constructed, spelt and punctuated written English
- be confident, coherent and cogent speakers of English
- read widely for pleasure as well as work, mindful of the evidence which shows that students who read for pleasure have higher academic outcomes
- develop a broad and accurate vocabulary with an understanding of the appropriate register
- be able to confident write across a range of genres and in all subjects.
In Year 9, we start to prepare students for their choices. Early in the Spring Term of Year 9, we hold an Options Evening, where we explain the opportunities and structure at Key Stage 4 (Years 10 – 11). This is followed by interviews with every Year 9 student (and his/her parent/carer if desired) to ensure the best possible choices for the individual child. The options follow one of 4 pathways: Ebacc Plus Route; Ebacc Route; Ebacc Lite Route; Route 8. Access to the routes is dependent upon a student’s current attainment, attitudes and exams outcomes. The Connexions service provides careers guidance alongside tutors. A careers day is also held with organisations from a range of sectors coming into the Academy to talk to students.
PE includes a huge range of sports, such as trampolining, rugby, badminton, tennis, football, gymnastics and rounders. Some of these are accessed in lessons, some in the many after-school clubs we run. All the activities are currently free.
Religious Studies involves the study of major religions, including Christianity. Included in the course are modules on moral and ethical problems and an examination of contemporary issues. The explicit teaching of religious studies and contemporary issues takes place within the wider context of academy’s core values and the day to day ethos of the school. Religious studies for all will be delivered through assemblies and form periods. All students attend regular assemblies which promote spiritual and moral values. Parents have the right of withdrawal from assemblies after a formal application to the Principal has been made.
The ‘British Values’ agenda of the government reflect our own wider values of the rule of law, respect for others’ beliefs and tolerance of differences, liberty of thought.
There are numerous after school clubs, most of which are free, such as art, drama, maths, technology, music and homework. Students wishing to learn an instrument (currently, about 10%) can do so via the Hounslow Music Service. The PE department offers many extracurricular sports opportunities. Students can represent their school in teams or play for fun. There are also many opportunities to represent the academy in other ways: public speaking, debates, school plays, national competitions for writing, speaking, spelling, enterprise…staff at Kingsley Academy go the extra mile to ensure students have as many experiences as possible to enhance their learning.
Careers and Work Related Learning Curriculum
Throughout their time at Kingsley Academy students will receive advice on careers and the world of work through tutor time and various events throughout the academic year.
At key times, students will study a careers curriculum through the tutor time programme, which allows them to look at a range of ideas such as personal identity and skills, understanding the world of work, post-16 qualifications, managing change etc.
Students are offered the opportunity to have face-to-face guidance with an impartial careers advisor.
Local sixth forms, colleges, universities, alumni, employers and training providers visit the academy to talk with our students, in order to raise aspirations and improve social mobility. Our students also experience a range of taster days and workshops in the field of business and further and higher education, in order to assist them in making informed choices for their future; so that their choices are grounded in real experience.
The annual Careers Day is an important and informative events for our students in order to prepare them for a successful future.
Citizenship and PHSEE
Citizenship and PSHEE are delivered through sessions that run during tutor time and through interactive workshops and extended assemblies, run by external organisations and charities, which complement the topics they will study.
Homework should be seen as preparation for the next lesson(s) and is an integral part of the curriculum. It is set regularly with each student having a weekly homework timetable. Homework is recorded online, on the Show My Homework (SMH) website, which can be accessed via the website or your child’s pin number; it can also be recorded in student study planners. Both the task and worksheets, if used, will be on the SMH web page. The planner is designed to be a practical link between the home and the Academy. Please check your child’s planner and books to ensure that homework is noted, completed to the best of the child’s ability and neatly laid out.’
The Student Planner contains lots of information on school expectations and advice on planning and managing time. A general guide is that a child in Years 7-9 should be spending between 45 and 120 minutes per night, rising to between 90 and 150 minutes in Key Stage 4.
Parents and carers may be interested in finding out about the substantial changes to the Key Stage 4 assessments and curriculum that the government has introduced which will continue to be rolled out over the next few years. Click here to view the main changes.