SRWA Quality of Education Statement
At the Sir Robert Woodard Academy:
- We talk about curriculum in terms of the students’ whole experience
- We think about curriculum in terms of the day to day experience of the children in our school
- We encourage our students to ‘Aspire to Achieve’
- We want our students to become lifelong learners
- We deliver a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum designed to prepare our students as best we can for their later lives
We take a highly structured approach to curriculum planning to ensure that our curriculum offer is ‘balanced, rigorous, coherent, vertically integrated, appropriate, focused, relevant’ (D.Williams).
As a truly comprehensive community school based on the South Coast, it is our solid consensus that a broad and balanced curriculum with a strong academic core is a right for all our students. We therefore provide a three year Key Stage 3, covering all aspects of the national curriculum including PSHE, Citizenship, SRE and IT. At Key Stage 4 our curriculum is structured to ensure high ambition for all our students. All students are entitled to follow the Ebacc pathway regardless of prior attainment or SEND - we believe this is the most appropriate route for the majority of our students. A number of vocational options are also made available at KS4 in order to further expand the offer. Currently 75% of our students complete an Ebacc pathway and we have a committed ambition for this to increase further.
Considering curriculum in terms of the day to day experience of the children in our school, means carefully considering all aspects of their experience, which is seen as a seven year journey. Content, knowledge and skills are carefully considered and are logically sequenced over time as a ‘learning journey’. Lesson planning in each curriculum area is rooted in long and medium term overviews and a structured Assessment Calendar, which are adhered to consistently. Alongside curriculum mapping, handbooks are created for each year group to ensure we articulate to parents/carers and students what our intention is and the ‘road map’ to where we are going.
Throughout our offer we prioritise futures, careers and relevant aspects of SMSC, particularly those pertinent to our local context. With a high proportion of first time scholars in our community, the Academy lies in one of the ‘Uni Connect’ target areas for widening participation. As such we work closely with higher education partners such as The Universities of Sussex and Brighton, from transition projects with year 6 students in our feeder schools, right through to our year 13 students. Also key are planning opportunities to develop and address gaps in student literacy, particularly through a focus on vocabulary and reading.
Extra and super curricular programmes are integrated into the school week and intervention is part of the day to day experience as required. Trips should be part of the experience of every child and where possible should include at least one residential trip abroad. In terms of the whole child, we also believe that every student should leave with a hobby for life, e.g. play an instrument, participate in a sport or be actively involved in drama or dance.
Academic and personal growth at the Academy are rooted in our Aspire to Achieve ethos and Aspire learning characteristics. Alongside a strong Chapter system of wrap-around pastoral care, we look to ensure every child is ‘known and nurtured’. We seek to ensure that barriers to learning are identified, supported and removed so that our students can benefit in full from our curriculum provision.
We aim to educate the whole child and we believe this is the whole point.
Our formal curriculum is taught across a two week timetable of 25 weekly periods of one hour each. It is collectively in the many thousands of lessons happening each term where the greatest impact on our students occurs. Lesson time is maximised with learning planned using the Accelerated Learning Cycle. The ‘SRWA DNA’ forms the basis of what is expected in the classroom, so that lesson experience is as consistently positive and purposeful as possible.
Lessons and learning are sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and students can work towards clearly defined end points. Our 3D Learning Outcomes (Know, Be able to, So that) structure and articulate students’ learning in terms of knowledge, skills and the ‘big picture’, or in other words the ‘what, how and why’ of their learning. Memory retrieval is actively supported by revisiting skills and content and by the practice that every lesson starts with a ‘Reconnect’ which encourages students to re-engage with prior learning and connect new with existing knowledge.
Assessment for learning is a key tenet of the SRWA DNA. Teachers take a broadly common approach to giving written feedback and we think carefully about the impact of our teaching on the students. Teachers check regularly for student understanding and misconceptions. Summative and evaluative assessment are carefully planned and mapped through the departmental schemes of work and feed into the Assessment Calendar. This enables us to evaluate the progress of our students at key points in the learning journey and allows teachers to plan for reteaching and intervention.
At Key Stage 3 we have invested in GL Assessment as a Trust to ensure a sharp evaluative focus is kept on the progress of students. This enables us to identify both, where there are significant learning deficits and where students are performing at an exceptional level. We run interventions and a Summer School to support those who are identified as at risk of falling significantly behind and we run a Super-Curriculum programme to stretch the highest attainers.
Home learning is integrated into the curriculum and is planned to support in-school learning by meeting one or more of the following principles:
- Embed learning by consolidating what has taken place in the classroom
- Extend learning beyond what has been achieved in the classroom
- Exercise learning by practising learning from the classroom
Our commitment to educating the whole child means that we invest a lot in our extended curriculum. Our hope is that every child in the Academy will be involved in some form of personal enrichment during their time with us. The after-school clubs and extra-curricular opportunities at the Academy are therefore numerous and cater for the many diverse interests of our students, ranging from activities as diverse as debating to dungeons and dragons, and coding to creative writing.
Sports are a huge part of Academy life and we encourage students to take part and represent the school in their chosen sport. Our SRWA Bears Basketball Academy is well-known in the area and beyond, providing students with fantastic experiences and expert coaching, as do our links with two Premiership football clubs. Performing Arts is another huge strength of the Academy and the quality of opportunities in this area are exceptional. Students will have the chance to play in a band, sing in a choir and to take part in the numerous music, drama and dance performances that take place throughout the year.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award has grown in leaps and bounds since its launch, with nearly 30 students successfully completing the assessed expedition in the South Downs National Park. There are also activities which encourage students to look beyond the Academy such as volunteering in the community and enterprise events, as well as the community work encountered in our international trips. The Academy is also a bronze award winner for student participation in the National Citizenship Service, with high numbers of year 11 students completing the programme upon completion of their GCSE exams.
As well as exploring explicit curriculum links to careers and futures in lesson plans, we are particularly passionate about providing students with additional ‘real’ experiences that prepare them for the world of work. We have been recognised for our excellent links with business and are proud of our unique partnerships with major organisations such as; Ricardo, IRIS, Greenpower, Parafix and Bower and Wilkins plus many other local businesses. These partnerships connect our students with world-leading organisations and their exceptional staff, inspiring our students to think beyond what they thought possible. Throughout their time at the Academy, students are given opportunities to engage with such employers in a tangible way, to hear about their career pathways and ask them questions. All KS4 students also partake in a careers interview in order to fully guide them on their next steps into KS5.
Key Stage 3 Curriculum
Our broad, rich KS3 runs across years 7, 8 and 9 and covers all aspects of the national curriculum. The KS3 curriculum incorporates:
- Maths, English, Science
- French or Spanish
- History, Geography, RPD - RE and Personal Development (Skills for Life, PSHE and Citizenship)
- Drama, Dance, Music, Art
- IT and Computer Science, Design Technology, Food
Encouraging reading is an important part of our curriculum delivery. Students are encouraged to read aloud and they regularly experience teachers modelling good reading practice in class and through a ‘Register and Read’ initiative. To further support reading, all KS3 students have a weekly English lesson in our vibrant LRC, situated at the heart of the school. Students follow a structured reading programme which monitors their reading progress and aims to foster a love of reading. Where required, students are supported through a graduated range of reading and literacy interventions.
Key Stage 4 Curriculum
KS4 runs across years 10 and 11 and all KS4 students study Maths, English Language & Literature and Science. They have core PE time every week and ‘drop-down days’ currently occur throughout the year in order to deliver PSHE. From 2021, Religion & Personal Development will be integrated into the core timetable as they are at KS3.
In terms of choosing options, students select three option subjects from a broad selection. The majority of students follow the Ebacc pathway and make an open choice from a suite of creative and physical subjects such as Performing and Production Arts, Dance, Music, Art, 3D Design and PE. A number of additional vocational options are also made available at KS4, enabling students to tailor their experience by choosing from options such as Business Studies, Sports BTEC or Hospitality & Catering. This is not designed to overcome barriers to learning or disadvantage, but to give all students appropriate choices which help them to make informed decisions about their future. The aim is that expanding the offer will encourage improved engagement at school and all option decisions are supported by ‘knowing our students’.
Key Stage 5 Curriculum
In our W6 sixth form we offer a variety of programmes, ranging from academic to more career-path focused vocational courses, such as performing arts, sports based or enterprise routes. Students at W6 are supported and guided to choose a combination of subjects and specific courses that build a pathway to best lead them on to their desired next steps of university, employment or further education.
Outside of KS5 lesson time, careers and futures are a key part of the W6 curriculum. Our links with local and national businesses, universities, further educational bodies and other organisations allow us to provide our students with an unrivalled programme in this regard. W6 students have the opportunity to get involved in all elements of college life ranging from performing arts productions, fitness activities, our basketball Academy and sporting fixtures. All students take part in a weekly enrichment programme to develop their wider skills and they are expected to take on student leadership roles within the Academy.
We want our students to know more, remember more and be able to do more, developing during their time at the Academy into lifelong learners with a desire to ‘Aspire to Achieve’.
When leaving, either after Year 11 or Year 13 to pursue their chosen path of education, training or employment, we want our students to move on from the Academy as well-equipped as they can be for their next steps. Our aim is that our curriculum educates the whole child and maximises the future life chances of all our students.
We have a demonstrable impact in terms of very strong national examination outcomes in many of our subject areas, with others showing significant and ongoing improvement, which we continue to focus on.
As well as examination success, it is also key to us that our leavers possess the learning skills and cultural capital needed to go on and have fulfilling, happy lives. Our destination statistics are extremely positive, with the vast majority of our students leaving for a defined path in terms of their next steps, be that school sixth form, vocational college, apprenticeship, university or work.