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Curriculum Overview

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The curriculum at Leeds West Academy

Students joining Leeds West Academy in September 2018 will enjoy a broad and balanced curriculum. This new curriculum is designed to ensure that students demonstrate a thorough understanding of the content / skills contained within each stage of the curriculum before moving onto the next. We strongly believe that knowledge and skills retention will be the key to success for our students as they work towards the new heavily exam based GCSEs in five years’ time.  

A pathway for progress

Our curriculum ensures that students are challenged at the appropriate level, depending on their starting points. The curriculum: 

  • Builds the knowledge, skills and understanding that students will need to perform well in their examinations in Year 11 and beyond. 
  • Emphasises the importance of reviewing and retaining the core knowledge and skills in each subject area. 
  • Ensures that students are secure in their learning before they move on, and that they understand the next steps in their learning. 
  • Engages students in regular assessments, to ensure progress is tracked and reported to parents/carers and used to plan targeted support if required. 
  • Ensures that students develop the resilience to approach independent learning, revision and homework with success. 
  • The Academy uses the data from Key Stage 2 tests to set aspirational targets. These targets would represent very good progress and would lead to students potentially achieving grades significantly above national average.   

Student flightpaths will be set depending on the information we get from primary schools, as well as our own baseline testing of students which will take place in the first few weeks of September.  All Year 7 students also complete Cognitive Ability Tests that can help us to identify students that need specific support.   

Assessments

To ensure that we accurately track the progress of our students throughout the year, students will be regularly assessed in each subject area. Students will be assessed against GCSE criteria from the outset in Year 7.

We work collaboratively with other academies within the White Rose Academies Trust (WRAT) to moderate the accuracy of these assessments. After each assignment is completed, teachers will give an indication of the performance of students against their subject exam criteria.   

Teachers will assess each child’s progress continuously, through in-class assessments, homework tasks and end of unit tests. Progress is reported to parents three times a year. This Progress Report will provide you with an indication as to how your child is progressing against GCSE criteria. This provides precise tracking of progress for students at Leeds West Academy and prepares students well for GCSE study.

At the end of each school year, students will sit end of year exams. These exams are designed to get students used to the increased challenge of the new GCSEs but also to ensure that the levels achieved in each assignment are an accurate reflection of a student’s understanding of the curriculum at the end of the school year.   

Students at Leeds West Academy chose their GCSE Options in Year 8, starting their final GCSE courses from the beginning of Year 9. 

Key Stage 3

At Leeds West Academy, students study abroad and balanced range of subjects throughout their first two years. Our curriculum, which consists of English (Language and Literature), Maths, Science, History, Geography, Spanish, Citizenship, Art and Design, Technology, Drama, Music and PE, is designed to enable students to make the best choices when it comes to choosing their GCSE options at the end of Year 8. Students who find reading or writing difficult will be supported through an additional two hours of literacy each week, to drive forward accelerated progress in preparation for the demands of GCSE study.

Students also sit an end of year exam at the end of Year 7 and the end of Year 8. These exams are based on the 9 – 1 GCSE assessment model for each subject, enabling students, parents and teachers to track progress towards GCSE target grades.

Year 7 Residential

Every year, we take our Year 7 students away on a team-building residential. This provides an excellent opportunity for our newest students to make new friends and to try adventurous activities such as archery, climbing and raft-building. Throughout the residential, students will be supported by their form-tutor and a range of staff who are there to make sure they have a great time. As well as being a great personal experience, the Year 7 Residential provides a foundation on which to build a positive year-group ethos.

Reading

At Leeds West Academy we think that reading, and in particular reading for pleasure, is one of the most important factors in allowing children to reach their full potential. A love of literature and a genuine desire to read opens doors to students that remain closed for reluctant readers, no matter how strong their ability. In order to support the drive to engage students with reading for enjoyment, the academy offers a range of activities and experiences linked to reading for pleasure.

Within English lessons, all students in Years 7 and 8 take part in weekly Reading Lessons as an addition to their traditional classes. All students engage with the Accelerated Reader programme, which is proven to drive significant improvement in reading, expanding vocabulary and underpinning the enjoyment of reading as well as strong academic success. Students’ comprehension is tested after the completion of each book, further reading is suggested that will both entertain and challenge.

For those students who need extra support in reading we use a range of bespoke programmes aimed at helping students to develop the phonics skills they need to become fluent readers and writers. This may provide one-to-one or small group tuition during the school week. 

All students have access to well-resourced Library, which is at the centre of reading in the academy. All students are expected to have a reading book, with some form periods dedicated to reading each week. The library has a series of activities scheduled to raise the profile of reading and promote reading for pleasure throughout the year. 

 

Key Stage 4

The options process presents the first significant opportunity to shape your own learning for the next three years, up to and including your GCSE examinations. I hope that you enjoy the process of discovering the courses on offer. You will be supported at every stage by your Form Tutor, your Year Manager, your Progress Leader and your parents or carers.

As you move into Year 9, certain subjects will remain mandatory. These are our Core Subjects. Option subjects enable you to continue to study subjects that you already enjoy, but also explore new subjects that are not studied in Years 7 and 8. You should think carefully about the courses you might want to study, using the guidance material at the back of this booklet to help you consider which subjects you would like to choose to study.

On the next page you will find a breakdown of the curriculum, showing you which subjects are compulsory as part of our Core curriculum, and which subjects you can choose. It is very important to note at this stage that not every option is available to every student, we carefully tailor your options selections based on your ability, to ensure that every student in Year 8 has the opportunity to study for appropriate qualifications to their experience and ability. Certain combinations of subjects will also be restricted, as courses with overlapping content, will not provide a balanced curriculum for our students. We will always try our best to accommodate the first preferences of every student, however, this is not always possible, so we ask for students to consider reserve options to ensure we can always provide options in order of preference.

Should you have any questions regarding the options process, please contact your Progress Leader, Miss Buckley, in the first instance at Buckley.l@whiteroseacademies.org.

 

Year 8 Options Booklet 

 

Key Stage 5

16-19 Study Programme:

At Key Stage 5, a wide range of A-Level, Applied General, and Technical qualifications are offered.  Students continue to develop their understanding and knowledge of social, moral, spiritual and cultural aspects through the Sixth Form Values Curriculum. 

Extensive time is given to ensuring that students are supported in their next steps.  A majority of our sixth form students go on to University courses, but an increasing number find high-quality apprenticeships and other types of employment and training.

  • All 16 to 19 students, whether studying academic, applied or technical qualifications, will be given the opportunity to take a study programme which reflects their prior attainment, education and career goals.
  • Study programmes will normally include substantial academic or applied and technical qualifications; non-qualification activity including work experience; and the study of English and maths where students do not hold a GCSE graded A*-C/9-4 in these subjects.
  • Study programmes will be focused on progression to the next level of education, apprenticeship, or other employment.

 

Pathways

 The following pathways are available for students:

1) Academic pathway: 3 A-levels
Minimum entry criteria: 5+ A*- C/9-4 at GCSE including English and maths, plus fulfilling entry criteria for selected courses.

2)  Applied General or Technical pathway:  level 3 BTECs equivalent to 3 A-levels (plus English or Maths GCSE resit, as necessary)
Minimum entry criteria: 5+ A*- C/9-4 at GCSE or equivalent including at least one of maths and English, plus fulfilling entry criteria for selected courses.

3) Combined pathway: mixed A-levels and level 3 BTECs as equivalent to 3 A-levels
Minimum entry criteria: 5+ A*- C at GCSE or equivalent including English and maths, plus fulfilling entry criteria for selected courses. Some flexibility will be applied in the case of students who have obtained only English or maths GCSE but who show talent in a subject they wish to follow at A-level.

4) Level 2 pathway: Maths and English GCSEs, plus level 2 vocational courses
Minimum entry criteria: 4+ D - G at GCSE or equivalent

Please note: Re-sitting Maths and English GCSE is compulsory for students who have not already obtained a C grade or above in these qualifications

Details of all subjects offered can be found in our full prospectus

 

 

Values Curriculum

The Values Curriculum is mainly delivered through assemblies, tutorials with Form Tutors, through Citizenship lessons in Years 7 and 8 and through whole-school immersion days, known as SPACE Days (Social, Personal and Citizenship Education Days.  However, many other aspects of our curriculum offer students a chance to develop their understanding of the Values Curriculum, including additional activities such as Sports, Academy Productions and the many trips and visits that are organised for students throughout the year. 

Personal development and welfare curriculum threads and themes

The personal development curriculum has been divided into five threads that cover all of the elements of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students within the curriculum and wider school environment to include citizenship and religious education.

 

 Thread

Objectives / topics

Religion, Personal Identity. Equality and Diversity

  • Developing self-worth, resilience & independence
  • Developing confident learners
  • Valuing diversity, promoting tolerance, tackling prejudice & challenging extremism
  • Encouraging self-reflection & valuing the beliefs, religious or otherwise, of others
  • Showing respect for others, preventing bullying & hate incidents
  • Willingness to participate positively in artistic, musical, sporting & cultural opportunities
  • Taking pride in personal achievements & in achievements of others in the school
  • Developing religious views on the meaning of life

Personal well-being and safety, religion & relationships

  • Understanding how to stay safe in different situations and settings, including on-line, fire and road safety.  
  • Making informed choices about a wide range of activities that impact health & well-being: including diet, sports & leisure, drugs, alcohol & smoking.
  • Emotional & mental well-being & managing stress
  • Understanding healthy relationships at all ages
  • Understanding the importance of attendance
  • Understanding religious beliefs & the purpose of marriage & family

Career Aspirations and Economic Well-Being

  • Enabling informed career choices
  • Developing skills & qualities, such as the grit & determination to succeed
  • Managing money, understanding finance and debt
  • Preparing for higher education
  • Reflection on behaviours & attitudes to learning & working
  • Understanding religious attitudes to the purpose and importance of work

Religion in a multicultural and modern society

  • Understanding British values of democracy and individual liberty
  • Promoting engagement with British values
  • Building knowledge of the Prevent Agenda, the rule of law & recognising the difference between right & wrong
  • Engaging with modern society & appreciating the cultural influences within society in order to promote tolerance
  • Reflecting on the consequences of actions & the impact on others
  • Becoming thoughtful & caring members of society, being able to resolve conflict
  • Building knowledge about the roles played by public institutions & voluntary groups in British society
  • Understanding the influence of integration, immigration & emigration
  • Gaining knowledge of different cultural celebration

Global Citizenship, religion and human rights

  • Considering the role of individuals within the global community
  • Understanding the impact of human activities on the environment, sustainability & resources
  • Building knowledge about the role of international organisations & voluntary groups
  • Discussions & debates on global issues, current affairs, such as the global economy, global conflict & world health issues
  • Developing respect for different cultures, human rights, religions viewpoints & engaging in constructive debate

 

Threads and Themes - Printable version

 Tutor Periods

Each week, form tutors will dedicate time to a theme related to Personal, Social and Health issues, or to a current affairs topic. These will often link to the Assembly theme for the week.

Assemblies

Assembly Programme

SPACE Days (Social, Personal and Citizenship Education)

SPACE (Social, Personal and Citizenship Education) Days are an opportunity for our academy community to explore many of the core areas of Personal Social Health Citizenship Education, British Values and Careers and Economic Education Information Advice and Guidance.  Alongside the form tutor programme, assemblies and dedicated Citizenship Lessons, three times per year there is a 'SPACE Day'.  SPACE Day is a 'drop down' day when students do not follow a regular timetable, but have the opportunity to work as a Form on a number of different topics linked to an overall theme for the day.  This assists in developing a community ethos within the Form, and within the Year Group.  The day usually includes the involvement of external providers, and a motivational speaker.   

Whilst we do plan specific topics for these days, they also allow us to react to concerns voiced from within our community, including students, staff, parents, governors and the local community.  The first SPACE Day, held in December, was on the topic of Positive and Negative Risk, and Tolerance.  The day included workshops by the RNIB, Hearing Impairment Awareness sessions, drug and alcohol education by WY Police, Year 7 Paralympic Sports, and Driver Safety Sessions for Post 16 students.  We also welcomed Shenaz from Positively MAD.  Positively MAD work with educational establishments across the country developing student resilience and helping students with revision techniques.  Our motivational speaker for the day was Bonita Norris.  Bonita was the youngest British female to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, and she shared her inspirational story with all students.