RPA’s Curriculum Intent
Richmond Park Academy will provide a curriculum with social equality and opportunity at its heart, erudition as its aim and our values of pride, aspiration, resilience, kindness and skills at the forefront. All students will be met with intensity and rigour in every aspect of their school life and we will strive to ensure that there are no wasted minutes in the classroom.
Staff will endeavour to craft intellectually demanding sequences of lessons that meet students with higher expectations than that which they would expect of themselves with medium-term planning for long-term retention as a cornerstone of our academy.
Students will develop a deep working knowledge in their chosen areas of study through the exploration of a topic, experiencing its application and drawing out the ethical principles that underpin it. Students will acknowledge their focus on fluency as providing them with the toolkit necessary to solve in-depth tasks in every subject and, in developing their complexity of thought, they will understand the ability to make links as being the foundation of intellect, all with the purpose to serve and help the community and world in which they live.
The 3ES - our unique curriculum
RPA’s new curriculum model launched in September 2020. We know that the quality of the curriculum a school offers shapes the quality of thinking that goes on in our classrooms and in turn shapes the minds of the young people in our community. We asked our students for their views and input in the summer term and have been working hard in departments to get this right. In an ever changing world, we know that our curriculum needs to offer the space for our students to:
Explore new knowledge and skills fully
Experience new concepts through application in practical or real world contexts
Consider the Ethical Principles and issues that underpin a topic to help use the knowledge we have acquired to help the community and world around us.
We are calling these our 3E's: they drive our curriculum. RPA's core values remain the same and are at the heart of everything we do; Pride, Aspiration, Resilience, Kindness and being Skills for life.
You can review the curriculum overviews for each subject on this website. These will give you a clear idea of the rationale behind the progression of our curriculum and the big questions we investigate in a particular unit of work. While teachers may use flexibility on occasions in delivering the curriculum in the way that best suits their students, we hope that you find this overview useful. If you have specific questions regarding our Curriculum please contact the Teaching and Learning Team: TandL@richmondparkacademy.org
Learning Resources at RPA
Teachers will routinely upload their lessons (slides or resources) onto Google Classroom. This allows students to go over classwork or access the learning they might have missed in the case of absence.
In preparation for assessments and to aid the retention of new information for each topic, teachers will also provide Knowledge Organisers. These one page documents summarise the essential information, terms or principles for that particular topic. These will be invaluable when students need to revise.
Students should also make use of The Day, a daily online newspaper for secondary schools, which we subscribe to. It links current affairs and news stories to the curriculum and encourages pupils to debate and engage with the wider world.
The Curriculum offer
All of our students enjoy a broad and balanced curriculum and as an inclusive school, we have high expectations for all of them. Our aim is also to ensure that students have a breadth of experience. As such, we teach our students in mixed ability classes for most of KS3 and only set in KS4 for Core Subjects.
A high percentage of RPA students are High Prior Attainers (HPAs). Research has shown that mixed ability teaching is the most appropriate way to structure classes to offer opportunity for all and the best chance of achieving positive outcomes. Within the mixed class environment, teachers differentiate work to stretch the ablest and break learning down for those who may be finding it harder.
In addition to timetabled lessons, we also teach and inspire students through assemblies and our CAPD time programme (Character, Aspiration and Progress Development), which includes PSHE, Careers, Literacy and Numeracy.
Key Stage 3: Years 7, 8 & 9
Most students study English, Maths and Science (which covers Chemistry, Biology and Physics), a Modern Foreign Languages (Spanish or French depending on the teaching group), History, Geography, Religious Studies, Physical Education,Performing Arts, Art, Digital Communication & ICT, Design & Technology (Food, Product design and Textiles).
For Key Stage 3, creative arts, performing arts and technology subjects take place on carousels. This is an important opportunity for students to experience a range of subjects before they make their important GCSE choices in Year 9.
Key Stage 4: Years 10 & 11 GCSEs
Mandatory subjects: English Language and English Literature, Maths and Science.
Additional EBAC choices: History, Geography and French or Spanish.
Other options include: Business Studies, Computer Science, Construction, Drama, Health & Social Care, Hospitality & Catering, Latin, Music, PE, Psychology, RS (Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics), Textiles and Vocational Sports.
Non Qualification subject: Core PE (games)
Key Stage 5: Years 12 & 13 AS/A Levels
A Levels, on offer at RPA currently; Art, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English Literature, French, Further Maths, Geography, History, Maths, PE, Philosophy & Ethics, Physics, Politics , Psychology, Spanish.
BTECs: Business studies, Performing Arts and Sports Science.
Homework is an important component of every student's experience at secondary school. It allows for independence, breadth and depth as well as opportunities to extend learning from the classroom. We now use google classroom exclusively to set Homework assignments. Further information can be found here : Guardian’s guide to classroom.
The amount of homework set will increase steadily as students progress through the Academy. Generally, Year 7 and 8 students will be set approximately 30 minutes of learning activities once a week, for each subject, though this will be twice for core subjects. These may be separate tasks or one extended piece of work. Where possible we will ask students to ‘hand in’ assignments on google classroom as this allows teachers to monitor the quality of work efficiently and to give guidance quickly when needed. In Years 9-11, homework tasks should take 45 minutes, per subject, to reflect the increased demands of the Key Stage 4 curriculum. Students in the Sixth Form would expect an average of 5 hours homework per week for each A Level/BTEC subject.
The Hub and Library are open every afternoon between 3.15pm and 4.15pm. Students are welcome to come along if they need to use a computer or if they would like somewhere quiet to study, to complete coursework or need help with their homework.
Reading at RPA
We are proud of the Reading culture we have at RPA and our library is buzzing with activity on most days. We know that reading regularly and with insight is fundamental to educational and worldly success. To support this, we use the Accelerated Reader Programme in KS3. You can find out more about this here. Essentially, the scheme ensures students read books that are pitched in the appropriate range for them to understand but remain challenged and engaged. We support their reading choices and development with a timetabled Library session (every three weeks) when students can be guided in their book choice and quizzing. We actively encourage our stronger readers to read widely and take the ‘Staircase Challenge’ or ‘Classic Challenge’ too.