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Curriculum

Academy 360 has revised its curriculum to address the needs of all pupils whose education has been disrupted by closure due to COVID – 19.  We will continue to follow government guidance, together with DfE, Ofqual, Ofsted and of any other relevant external body who provide guidance to schools or monitors standards. 

The intent of these revised priorities is to keep children safe whilst minimising the impact of closure, limit disruption to learning, close gaps and ensuring that all young people achieve their academic potential. Our intent:

A curriculum that is flexible in its delivery. The future for the delivery of learning is uncertain. We acknowledge that there may be extended periods when individuals, small groups, year groups, phases or entire cohort may not be able to access school premises for due to illness, isolation, or closure, thus preventing children being educated on site.  In response to this risk, we have prepared: 

An effective digital strategy developed to promote a tiered approach in response to the scale of potential disruption caused by the pandemic. So far, a high proportion of students have accessed our Remote Learning platform throughout closure with some requiring this since re-opening in September 2020.  We recognise that there is no substitute to young ro replace a teacher, our tiered approach has enabled us to minimise disruption to learning whilst reviewing our curriculum to re-engage students and plan a robust recovery. 

We embrace digital technology and recognise its role in promoting good teaching and learning.  We are determined to ensure that our learners make rapid progress whether on site, at home or accessing a blended curriculum diet.  Our detailed contingency plans allow us to respond both confidently and efficiently to the challenges presented. 

Raising Standards of Literacy and Communication remain a key priority at Academy 360 irrespective of age, phases or additional need.  Our rigorous Catch-Up strategy focusses on vital development skills, literacy and communication, thus enabling young people to access a broad and balanced experience. 

Addressing Wellbeing – the Social and Emotional needs of all pupils.  Effective PSHE and welfare support are central to Academy 360’s ethos for all learners.  We recognise that our school community has a range of needs and we have a moral obligation to ensure that children are well supported.  In addition, our skilled safeguarding and welfare team work in partnership with external organisations to ensure that young people have access to timely interventions that allow them to learn and develop well.  Out curriculum harnesses independence, resilience and is highly aspirational, preparing our students for the 21st century world of work and equipping them with the necessary skills to be good citizens who make a valuable contribution to their community and beyond.  

Strong focus on high academic achievement at all key stages. The curriculum is ambitious whilst supporting the development of basic skills, delivered through a broad and balanced experience for all learners. Robust assessment drives good teaching and learning allowing young people to succeed within our All-Through school. We demonstrate an unwavering commitment to to ensure that our students are ready for the next phase of learning at Academy 360 and beyond. Academy 360 follows national guidance for statutory assessments in Reception, Year 1, Year 2, Year 4 and Year 6 and Y11to ensure that all learners realise their potential. 

High impact intervention will be used to address ‘lost learning’ and support professionals to close gaps using timely assessment to inform planning.  In response to the current challenge presented by the pandemic we have extended the school day for KS2 and KS4 students and provide a host of targeted interventions for all key stages, both within curriculum hours and beyond. Crucially, all intervention is carefully coordinated, strategically deployed and bespoke to individual need.  We are confident that our model will deliver.

Challenging inequalities. All learners at Academy 360 engage in cultural experiences  embracing heritage, language customs and traditions, thus enriching the curriculum and developing their understanding of the 21st century global community.  We are proud to offer opportunities across all key stages to accelerate social and emotional development and support aspirational career choices.

A broad and balanced curriculum that encourages all learners to develop as informed, astute, confident and responsible citizens. The curriculum enables students to develop talents and interests; to research; to explore opinions; to debate; to consider alternative viewpoints; to develop ideas and concepts and raise awareness of the ever-changing world we live.

For more information about the curriculum,please get in touch.

Primary School Teaching and Learning @A360

‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’ Benjamin Franklin.

When you visit lessons in our primary phase  you will  experience our  well established teaching and learning model which supports the high quality lesson design and lesson delivery.

A good classroom climate is often difficult to quantify but nevertheless it is essential to a child’s learning. Above all every child should feel safe. They should of course feel safe physically but also emotionally; confident that they can express an opinion or make a mistake without fear of ridicule or consequence. 

You should observe a feeling of teamwork between adults and children. Children are allowed to take ‘risks’ (as do teachers) and they are not put off by failure or mistakes (as should teachers!) but should continue to strive to understand a concept.

Children are enthused, engaged and respond to the teacher’s instructions. You will find the physical environment to be stimulating, reflecting pride in the children’s work and achievements and promoting high quality learning for all.

This model which is built around the ‘7 preferred practices’ is based on pedagogy to develop effective engaged learners. These are:

  1. No hands up strategies
  2. Sentence stemming
  3. A formative assessment rich classroom
  4. Strong routines
  5. The teacher is the model, for behaviour, learning and expectations
  6. Talk partners
  7. Questioning focused not just on the retrieval of information but on the process, the why and the how.

 

Primary Classroom Climate

Learning Habits

At A360 primary phase  we promote and ensure a  collegiate, whole school approach to learning. Although there are no set formats for lessons there are clear expectations based on a foundation of learning habits, knowledge and skills. These secure good foundations and prepare the children as they enter secondary education and their IP@A360 teaching and learning model.

 These are:




The Primary School Curriculum @A360

 

At Academy 360 primary phase we aim to prepare all our learners for their next steps in life.  Our curriculum and teaching demonstrates very high expectations of achievements and standards to ensure all children can fulfil their potential, make progress and have high aspirations whatever their preferred learning style and aims in life.  

Our primary curriculum ensures that all children have the opportunity to access first hand experiences, engage with visitors, access to high quality resources and exploit the outdoors.  Our locality provides many opportunities to work within the community and alongside community partnership groups.

SMSC plays a significant part in all subject areas ensuring our children excel and become confident learners who strive for excellence.  Our own values, British values, school virtues and those values and beliefs of others are permeated throughout our subject areas.

The primary curriculum encourages our learners to be, resilient, display empathy, be courteous, demonstrate perseverance, be challenged, cooperate, develop friendships, build self-confidence, encourage courtesy, politeness, trust, happiness, safety, honesty and self-control.

We endeavour within our curriculum to exploit and develop enterprise and diversity ensuring children are able to broaden their thinking and aspirations. 

 We encourage passion for the arts and culture and our community and partnerships.

We highly value our stimulating learning environments both indoors and out to ensure that children have access to high quality resources, display and learning opportunities to encourage and display a thirst for learning and deepening knowledge.

We are special because we have high expectations and that everyone within our learning community is valued. This leads into the curriculum values within our secondary school where we are fortunate to develop a 5-8  curriculum, teaching and learning model.

British Values Primary Phase

The primary phase makes considerable efforts to ensure children have exposure to a wide experience beyond their local community during which these concepts are shown, through for example, sporting events, residential visits and outdoor centres and through visiting speakers.

Fundamental British Values

  • We take responsibility to prepare our children to live and succeed in modern Britain.
  • We celebrate other religions, cultures and beliefs, as well as the United Nations “Rights of the Child” Convention, to teach the children the core British Values. democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
  • The School Council facilitates the pupil’s involvement to participate in a democracy. 
  • The Behaviour Policy, School Rules, PSCHE curriculum and themes support the teaching and learning of the core British Values.

 

Primary School Virtues

We fully promote the importance of the primary school virtues throughout all we do in school. Each week emphasis is given to one particular virtue to explore and demonstrate. These are recognised and celebrated during assembly and on social media each week.

The primary school virtues are:

  • Positivity
  • Wisdom
  • Integrity
  • Self control
  • Humility
  • Love
  • Justice
  • Fortitude
  • Hard work
  • Gratitude

 

 

 

 

Secondary School Teaching and Learning @A360

Inevitable Progress @ A360 

In September 2020 we adopted an innovative and highly effective approach to teaching and learning that is termed ‘Inevitable Progress @ A360’.  It is a mindset that means whatever challenges students present, we can find a way to overcome these and make progress inevitable. It involves a series of T&L approaches that are used across all year groups and subject areas with the Three Storey Intellect being the most important of these.

Three Storey Intellect

The Three Storey Intellect is represented by a diagram of a building that is organised into three storeys. Within each storey, ‘learning words’ are provided that relate to the different learning processes that take place in the classroom. Across all subject areas, these are the words that we use to talk about learning and this helps our students to make connections between their learning in each different subject.

The Three Storey Intellect breaks down into the following:

1st Storey – Gathering – These words relate to more straightforward learning tasks where students are ‘gathering’ together the key information.

2nd Storey – Processing – These words relate to learning tasks where students are undertaking task to make sense of the information already ‘gathered’.

3rd Storey – Applying – These words relate to learning tasks where students need to take the information ‘gathered’ and ‘processed’, ‘applying’ it in new situations.

Using the Three Storey Intellect to help us, we encourage students and staff to think more consciously about the learning process and the way in which the various elements of this fit together.  We understand the importance of ensuring firm foundations for future learning that link to the ‘gathering’ stage of the Three Storey Intellect.  As well as this, we also look to move students up to the second and third storeys whenever it is possible, ensuring that the more challenging thinking and learning at these storeys is taking place.

We plan to meet the needs of our students by using consistent scaffolding, supporting all students to make progress at each storey of our building. Staff deliberately plan to gradually reduce and finally remove the scaffolding creating independent students. 

Inevitable Progress in Developing Literacy Skills

Our school curriculum and linked approach to teaching and learning places enormous importance on supporting our students to develop excellent literacy skills and we recognise that these are vital to support them to achieve their full potential.  The ability to read is crucial to students in being able to unlock learning in all subject areas and we foster a love for reading during the time that our students spend with us.  In addition to this, we have a structured approach to the development of reading skills that students learn across subject areas and which then supports them to be able to extract meaning for themselves from increasingly challenging texts.

 

Thinking Hats and Thinking Maps - Secondary Approach To Supporting IP@A360

Inevitable Progress @ A360 is a two-year journey that is designed to support students to think more deeply and with greater independence. During the course of the 2020/21 academic year we will continue to build these skills in our students through the launch of Thinking Hats and Thinking Maps.

Thinking Hats

Students develop the strategy of using the six Thinking Hats (based on the research of Edward De Bono). By using the six hats, students are encouraged to think about different aspects of the issue as each hat relates to a different kind of thinking:

Blue Hat – Planning and organising ideas.

Red Hat – Emotions and how you feel.

White Hat – Facts and the information that you know.

Yellow Hat – Benefits relating to the issue being considered.

Black Hat – Problems relating to the issue being considered.

Green Hat – New ideas and creative thinking.

Thinking Maps

Having observed excellent learning in several different schools, we have chosen to train our staff and students in using the eight Thinking Maps developed by the American academic David Hyerle. These Thinking Maps act as ‘visual organisers’ and are a consistent and effective way of students organising their thinking about any issue, in any curriculum area.

Each of the six maps to be implemented are outlined below:

Circle Map – Defining in Context – Putting down on the page the information that you already know (or think you know) about the subject.

Bubble Map – Describing with Adjectives – Identifying the adjectives that best describe the different aspects of the subject you are thinking about.

Double Bubble Map – Comparing and Contrasting – Considering the similarities and differences between two people, places, events, etc that you wish to compare.

Flow Map – Sequencing and Ordering – Organising a series of ideas into the right or best sequence and understanding how they link together.

Multi Flow Map – Causes and Effects – Used to identify the different factors that might cause something to happen and the range of possible effects of this.

Tree Map – Classifying and Grouping – A range of people, places, events, etc are organised into different groups depending on the way that they relate to one another.

Recovery Plan

We recognise that the extended school closure linked to COVID-19 has the potential to have a significant negative impact on the learning of our students.  As a consequence of this, we have ensured that a robust ‘recovery plan’ is in place that is designed to meet the specific needs of all of our students and support them to realise their full potential.  This plan will be reviewed regularly throughout 20-21 as we provide the support that our students need and deserve.

Our recovery plan is organised around three stages:

Re-engage: Our aim is to support students to return to a school experience that is as close to normality as is possible. Our approach to remote learning during the lockdown has been designed to support this.

Review: We need to review progress that students are making as they re-engage with day to day education in school – as well as establishing the learning that has been lost, there needs to be a focus on assessing the speed with which students are ‘catching up’.  We also need to closely monitor the wellbeing of all students, ensuring all who require additional support are able to receive this.

Recover: Once students have successfully been re-engaged with day to day education in schools and we have reviewed their progress, more significant curriculum and other changes will be made as appropriate.  At all times, the best interests of each student will be at the heart of any changes made.  We also need to consider longer term measures that will help to support the wellbeing of all students and where appropriate, provide increasingly intensive support to the most vulnerable students who face the greatest challenges in successfully returning to school.

Among the key elements of our recovery plan are the following:

Curriculum focus on vital content: Our starting point is to ensure that the core curriculum lesson time that we have with our students has the maximum impact.  Extensive work has taken place to review the curriculum in each subject to ensure our teachers have been able to identify the knowledge and skills that will be vital to the success of their students.  As a consequence of this, we can be confident that the learning that takes place focuses precisely upon this.

Digital strategy: The school developed an approach to setting remote learning that was successful during the extended national lockdown from March to July 2020.  As a consequence of this approach, high numbers of students were regularly accessing learning throughout this period.  Whilst we appreciate that there is no substitute to students being in a classroom with their teacher, our approach helped us to reduce the learning deficit and place us in a strong position to recover. We have detailed contingency plans in place that mean we are confident that we will be able to respond effectively in the event of any partial or total closure of schools in the future.

Further literacy development: Whilst literacy development is already identified as a key priority for the school, there is now an even greater focus upon this as a consequence of the loss of learning time.  The introduction of the ‘Reciprocal Reading’ and ‘Reading Plus’ approaches are a significant development in providing students with a strategy that they can internalise and then apply to enable them to extract meaning from complex texts.  In addition to the adaptations to teacher planning to provide additional literacy support, for students identified as requiring further intervention, this is provided through a comprehensive support programme.

Focused and high impact intervention: Even though we are ensuring excellent delivery in lessons, the loss of learning time means that it is important for schools to look at where additional time may be found.  As a school, we have and will achieve this in a variety of ways including extending the school day and intervention sessions that take place outside of curriculum time.  Crucially, all intervention that takes place is carefully coordinated to ensure it will have a significant impact on precisely identified areas of lost learning.  In this way, we are confident that our approach will ensure our students are supported to fulfil their enormous potential.

As indicated above, we have extended our core school learning hours to provide capacity to carry high quality intervention.  As well as lessons that have been scheduled at the end of our regular school day, carefully planned holiday intervention programmes also take place, targeting individual students who are identified as requiring this approach.

In supplement the high-quality intervention that is delivered by our existing teaching staff, the school has also developed a programme of one to one intervention staffed by intervention tutors who have been specifically employed for this role.  Our intervention tutors work with a range of students, focusing particularly on those in Y11 who need additional support to prepare them for their external examinations this summer.  Utilising our team of intervention tutors to work with disadvantaged students and those with weak literacy skills, we ensure that all of our students are given an opportunity to maximise their potential.

Supporting the social and emotional needs of all pupils: Ultimately, our priority as a school is to support our students to thrive and they can only do so when they are happy and secure.  We recognise that our students have had many different experiences over recent months and that we must provide a wide variety of support to ensure a positive return to day to day education.  Thinking about the needs of all students and the specific needs of individuals is at the heart of our recovery approach and the school has extensive pastoral and welfare support in place to afford this.

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To find out more information on the subjects we offer at GCSE please visit our Year 9 Pathways page