Curriculum

Curriculum aims

The aims of the curriculum of Wood Green Academy are to enable students to develop:

  • a sense of enquiry, the ability to question, solve problems and argue rationally;
  • a willingness to apply themselves and an aptitude for learning;
  • knowledge and skills relevant to adult life and employment in a changing world;
  • literacy, numeracy and competence in the use of information technology;
  • communication skills so that students can communicate precisely and effectively;
  • their creativity, critical awareness, empathy and sensitivity;
  • a recognition of their own and others’ achievements, in school and beyond;
  • self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence;
  • the skills of working as an individual and as a member of a group or team;
  • appropriate moral and spiritual values and tolerance of others, to value each individual and to learn to live together in an atmosphere of mutual respect;
  • an awareness of the student’s place in the community and opportunities for service to each other and to the community.

Curriculum principles

Student entitlement

As a fully comprehensive, 11 – 19 school, we are committed to the principle that all students, regardless of ability, race, cultural background or gender, have a right to the highest quality of education we can provide. This means that we work to ensure:

  • breadth and balance for all ;
  • appropriate levels of expectation and genuine challenge;
  • relevance, continuity and progression in learning;

This is achieved by providing courses of study and teaching methods which are tailored to the wide range of needs, interests and aspirations of our students. It also means that many features of the curriculum are common to all students. No student is denied access to any part of the curriculum on the grounds of ability.

Access

The principle above presents us with a responsibility to find ways of ensuring that all students are engaged in their learning, motivated and enabled to succeed. Teaching staff are expected to ensure that, wherever possible, students who are having difficulty or becoming de-motivated are identified early and provided with appropriate support, encouragement, guidance and (if necessary) different teaching styles and work, so that they might continue to participate at the most appropriate level for them. The responsibility of finding means of access to the curriculum for all is a result of our stated intention to include, not exclude.

Expectations of staff

Putting principles into practice Staff are expected actively to promote and seek to secure the curriculum aims (above) and, in particular to

  • have high expectations of students;
  • employ a variety of appropriate teaching and learning methods;
  • ensure that, wherever possible, students are given a means of which to access the curriculum and also given opportunities to succeed;
  • deliver subject content which builds upon students’ previous experiences, providing progression and continuity;
  • provide work which meets their students’ needs and aspirations, which offers depth and challenge, and which motivates and inspires them;
  • involve the learner in the process of learning, by discussing work, giving regular feedback through assessment and marking, negotiating targets and encouraging students to evaluate their own achievements;
  • develop students’ skills to become independent learners;
  • encourage, reward and value achievement and effort, both formally and informally, through praise in the learning environment;
  • work in partnership with other staff, parents/carers and the wider community to achieve shared goals;
  • keep parents/carers informed about the progress and achievements of their child.

 

Curriculum structure

The timetable and setting

The school operates a 50 hour teaching period per fortnight. On a Monday there are 6 periods (4 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon), each of which is one hour in length. On a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday there are 5 periods per day (3 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon), each of which is one hour in length. On a Wednesday there are 4 periods per day and for Years 7 and 8 an extra one hour of enrichment activities. Twenty minutes per day are devoted to form time and year assemblies. This means that teaching time is 25 hours per week, in line with government recommendations.

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 and 8

There are 50 periods per fortnight:

  • English (7)
  • Mathematics (7)
  • Science (6)
  • Technology (4)
  • Modern Foreign Language (6)
  • Physical Education (4)
  • Religious Education (2)
  • Music (1)
  • Art (2)
  • Computing (2)
  • Drama (1)
  • History (4)
  • Geography (4)

 

Technology consists of a variety of subjects: Food Technology, Textiles and Design Technology.

Personal and Social Development is delivered through our SHAPE programme. On induction days in July Year 6 students take a reading test which along with the recommendations of their Primary Schools, form the basis for setting students according to their ability.

Population 1 Population 2

M – very able and C – very able and
R – able students T – able students
L – average ability students H – average ability students
F – students needing support Y – students needing support
W – students with learning needs G – students with specific learning needs

In Year 7 students are taught in these groups for: Art, English, Music, Drama, Geography, History and Religious Education. For Mathematics, Science, Technology, Modern Languages, PE and Computing students are in sets according to their ability in each of these particular subjects.

In Year 8 students are taught in these groups for: Art, Religious Education, Music and Drama. For English, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Geography, History, Computing, PE, Science and Technology students are in sets according to their ability in each of these particular subjects. In Year 8 there are additional sets for High Potential students in Maths, English and Science.

Students in teaching group G in Years 7 and 8 have access to the whole KS3 curriculum, but receive extra literacy and numeracy support through a Skills Development programme delivered by the SEND department.

Students’ progress is carefully monitored through assessments, class work, homework, termly reports, data collections and internal school examinations. Students are promoted or demoted when it becomes apparent they are misplaced.

In Year 8 students follow a structured options programme which enables them to make an informed choice as to which subjects they will study in Years 9, 10 and 11. The programme ensures that each student receives an information booklet, attends a presentation session, investigates possible careers (SHAPE programme) and undergoes at least one interview with a member of the Senior Leadership Team or the Year Leader. Student Support Managers and Connexions staffs are also present in the option interviews for the vulnerable students. Parents of SEND students are also invited into school to speak to the SENDCo about option choices before the interviews take place. The Senior Leadership Team and the Year Leaders have access to each student’s prior assessment data, attendance records, referrals etc, which can all be used to ensure students are placed on appropriate courses.

At the start of KS4 all parents are invited to an information evening. During this evening additional information is provided about each of the courses e.g. revision material, as well as strategies on how parents can support their child through KS4.

Key Stage 4 – Years 9, 10 and 11

Year 9 – Mathematics (8), English Language and English Literature (8), Science (6), Computing (2), RE (2) and a full SHAPE programme.

In Year 9 students study four optional courses over three years (five hours per fortnight for each option). Students must study at least one EBacc option subjects (Computer Studies, Geography, History, MFL or Triple Science).

Years 10 and 11 – Mathematics (8), English Language and English Literature (8), Science (10), PE (4) and a full SHAPE programme.

The range of Level 2 optional courses offered comprises:-
HISTORY
GEOGRAPHY
FRENCH
GERMAN
BUSINESS STUDIES
ART AND DESIGN
MUSIC (BTEC)
MUSIC (GCSE)
ICT (TECHNICAL AWARD)
ICT (GCSE)
DANCE (BTEC)
DRAMA
P.E.
GRAPHICS
RESISTANT MATERIALS
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE (GCSE)
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE (CAMBRIDGE NATIONAL CERTIFICATE)
MEDIA STUDIES
SOCIOLOGY
PSYCHOLOGY
TEXTILES
TRIPLE SCIENCES – BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS
ELECTRONICS
RELIGIOUS STUDIES
COMPUTER SCIENCE
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

Key Stage 5 – Year 12 and Year 13
Students are expected to choose a minimum of 3 advanced level subjects to study from a wide range of A Level, OCR National and BTEC courses;
ACCOUNTANCY
FINE ART
ART, CRAFT AND DESIGN
BIOLOGY
ENGLISH LANGUAGE
ENGLISH LITERATURE
ICT
MATHS
FURTHER MATHS
MEDIA STUDIES
BUSINESS STUDIES
SOCIOLOGY
COMPUTER SCIENCE
PE
PSYCHOLOGY
CHEMISTRY
FRENCH
GERMAN
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE
HISTORY
MUSIC
DRAMA
GEOGRAPHY
PHYSICS
SPORT
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
RELIGIOUS STUDIES

EXTENDED PROJECT QUALIFICATION

Any student who has not successfully passed GCSE Maths or English at grade 4 or above is required to study for the qualification again in Year 12. Any student who is studying an A Level Science subject, but is not studying A Level Maths is required to attend Numeracy in Science support sessions. In addition, all sixth form students follow a Study Skills and SHAPE (Every Child Matters) programme which prepares students for the world of work and University.

Class sizes

In Years 7 – 8, the class sizes vary from 10-32 students, with the average class size being around 24. Where setting exists, the norm is to create smaller groups for the least able students, so that more individual attention can be provided.

In Years 9, 10 and 11, groups in English, mathematics and science average at about 25 students. Most other subjects are options and group sizes vary, average class size is 21. In the sixth form, the minimum size of a viable group is around 12 students.

The learning environment

The academy is aware that a lively, purposeful and structured learning environment is essential in promoting high standards and good working practices. Displays of students’ work, stimulus materials and appropriate resources are very important in setting standards and raising expectations. All departments are expected to emphasise good display in their areas and contribute to displays in public areas of the academy. The structure and organisation of the classroom is also an important factor in developing effective working methods and a positive ethos. Whilst this is left to individual teachers and departments, it is expected that classrooms are orderly environments where students can work effectively with adequate resources that are provided and are accessible, and that students treat classrooms, workshops, study rooms and the resource centre with respect.

Student Voice

Students are consulted on issues relating to the curriculum through the Student Council and any feedback is taken into consideration e.g. using different colour signs around the school to distinguish between Week One and Week Two. Students have also shared their views on the choice of optional subjects available, particularly at KS5. As a result of this the academy has recently introduced A Level Religious Studies and the full A Level Further Maths course.

Schemes of learning and lesson planning

Each department is required to have schemes of learning for all of its courses. These schemes of learning are followed by all departmental staff and their delivery monitored by Heads of Department. Schemes of learning set out how the content of the course is structured, so that students’ skills, knowledge and understanding are developed progressively, and how the teaching is organised. These schemes of learning are supported by assessment strategies and methods for ensuring standardisation of expectation and assessment. Departments also have marking policies which all staff follow. Teachers plan individual lessons, or sequences of lessons, in different ways.

The academy does not prescribe a single method for short-term or long-term planning. It simply expects that such planning takes place, in sufficient detail to ensure that students achieve high standards and can achieve their potential. Each department has an agreed method for the recording of lessons and homework.

Please read the Teaching and Learning and the Assessment, Feedback and Marking Policies for more detail.

Homework

Wood Green Academy recognises the importance and value of homework as an extension of class work, and a vehicle to practise skills, acquire new ones and develop good study habits. The Academy has a separate, detailed homework policy.

The expectation of the length of homework will depend on: the curriculum time for each subject; the nature of the work; the ability of the students and the particular year group. We recognise the importance of family life and the mental wellbeing of all the students. On average:

  • Year 7 and 8 students should expect to spend between 20-30 minutes on each homework task, approximately 60 minutes per day. Art, Computing and RE will set homework once per fortnight. Drama and Music will set homework once per half term. All other subjects, apart from PE, will set homework once per week.
  • Year 9 students should expect to spend between 30-45 minutes on each homework task, approximately 60 minutes per day. Computing and RE will set homework once per fortnight. All other subjects, apart from core PE, will set homework once per week.
  • Year 10 and 11 students should expect to spend between 45-60 minutes on each homework task, approximately 60 to 90 minutes per day. All subjects, apart from core PE, will set homework once per week.
  • Year 12 and 13 students should expect homework tasks of at least 3 hours per subject per week, but they are expected to supplement work in lessons and for homework with self-directed study (e.g. reading around the subject, doing revision notes and completing past exam questions).

A homework timetable is published each year. Homework can, however, take a variety of forms, including reading, research, planning and evaluating, as well as the more-familiar written work. Students in KS4 prepare for GCSE examinations and undertake a wider variety of homework tasks.

Please read the Homework Policy for more detail.

Special educational needs

The role of the special needs department is to support the right which all students have to access the curriculum, regardless of their ability. Students, whether they have special educational needs or not, have an equal opportunity to participate in the full curriculum of the academy and all activities. Students with special educational needs are encouraged to become independent and take responsibility within the academy.

Access to the full curriculum of the academy is achieved by careful differentiation of class work by the subject teacher. Through careful planning, the teacher will define what the student is expected to learn. Once the learning objective is defined, a subject teacher can seek advice from the Special Needs Co-ordinator on strategies which might be used to help a student achieve the learning objective. It is the responsibility of the subject teacher to assess whether the objective has been achieved. Schemes of learning take account of the need for teachers to plan individual programmes of appropriate content and pace, using a variety of teaching methods and materials.
All those who teach a student with special educational needs are informed of the need by the Special Needs Co-ordinator. Each subject department has a link rep who acts as contact person in relation to special needs. The Special Needs Co-ordinator will ensure that all who are likely to come into contact with the student are updated regularly with appropriate information. Where students have a very specific problem, a meeting will be convened of all subject teachers concerned, to disseminate available information.

The work of the Special Needs Co-ordinator is supported by Learning Support Assistants (LSAs). As far as possible, each student with a statement of special educational need receives their allocated hours in the form of classroom support. A small number of students benefit from a limited amount of withdrawal from mainstream lessons.

Please read the SEND Policy for more detail.

Equality of opportunity

All departments have equal opportunities statements in line with the academy’s equal opportunities policy. These statements and policies should actively promote equality of opportunity in the curricular work of each department.

High Potential students

A number of students display special talents, skills, expertise and understanding in particular areas. These include both high levels of ability in subject disciplines and in activities beyond the curriculum – sporting prowess and musical excellence, for example. It is the responsibility of all staff to identify such students, to encourage their interests and to make appropriate provision for them. Such provision includes planning classroom-based work which genuinely stretches such students, and additional challenges and experiences offered through clubs, discussion groups, interest and support groups, attendance at lectures and conferences, and opportunities to participate in external groups, societies, teams and organisations. Many of our students are already involved in such activities, often led by the school itself through the provision of Summer and Easter Schools and even Booster Sessions. The provision for High Potential students is an integral part of teaching and learning at Wood Green Academy and students are monitored at regular intervals throughout the year. This provision is also embedded within the Academy Improvement Plan and is an integral part to the tracking and monitoring of High Potential students across all year groups. Tracking and monitoring is also carried out through subject teachers, High Potential link staff and High Potential Coordinators to ensure particular groups of students are not under-represented in each cohort on the register and to ensure continuity.
Please read the High Potential Policy for more detail.

Examinations

It is expected that all students who embark on a course leading to a public examination are entered for that examination, unless they fail to fulfil the examination board’s requirements. Departments are expected to identify, at an early stage, students who are in danger of failing to meet the requirements, so that they can be supported, guided and encouraged. To this end, a ‘mentoring’ system exists for all students. Those who, despite the best efforts of staff, are not entered for the examination are nonetheless expected to complete the course of study, alongside other students.

The academy pays for all examination entries for courses for which it has prepared students. In the sixth form, students who change course after registration or entry fees have been paid by the academy are liable to repay those fees to the school.

Please read the Examination Entry Policy for more detail.

Vocational education

At KS4, students’ vocational entitlement is met by a combination of curricular experiences, in addition to specific courses. These experiences include the development of ICT capability, the careers education and guidance programme, work experience, awareness-raising (for example through assemblies and tutorial work) and personal management and decision-making skills delivered through the SHAPE programme.

Year 11 and 12 students are all given the opportunity to take part in a one-week period of work experience. This is designed to give them an insight into the world of work and to develop a range of skills needed in a work environment.

Information and communication technology

We believe that the development of capability in the use of ICT is an essential requirement of students’ education and that they have an entitlement to IT resources and teaching of the highest possible quality. The development of ICT at Wood Green Academy is guided by the following principles:

  • all students have an entitlement to the use of ICT, throughout key stages 3 and 4. They are expected to develop both understanding and practical expertise. Students develop their skills through specific teaching in ICT lessons, and as a result of the use of ICT in subject areas;
  • ICT resources are planned and deployed within the context of Wood Green as a community academy. We seek to ensure that resources of the highest quality, and of an appropriate type are provided to meet the needs of both the academy and community users;
  • the main forum for policy review and implementation is the e-Learning across the curriculum group. Staff representing all departments work together to promote a wider understanding and application of ICT;
  • staff are strongly encouraged to make full use of opportunities for professional development in ICT. Practical workshops are held on a regular basis as part of the CPD programme.

Religious education

The aim of religious education at Wood Green Academy is to enable students to understand the nature of religion, its beliefs and practices. In Years 7 and 8 one hour per week is devoted to religious education in order to complete the Key Stage 3 programmes of study. In Year 9 one hour a week is also devoted to religious education and this is used to complete the Key Stage 4 programmes of study. This work is then supported and built upon via the use of immersion days in all years.

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

Spiritual development is accomplished in a variety of ways, but mainly through the Religious Education lessons and immersion days where students are actively encouraged to examine the nature of religion, its beliefs and practices.

Students are encouraged to reflect upon their own attitudes and values, in both religious education and other lessons. In some subjects, notably perhaps art, drama, music and English, students explore their feelings and responses to wider issues and beliefs. Many lessons and extra-curricular experiences allow students to develop a sense of awe and wonder and to reflect upon inner feelings and ask questions about meaning and purpose.

Moral development is promoted through consistent application of the code of conduct and by positive reinforcement of good behaviour. The ethos and practices of the school encourage students to learn to distinguish between right and wrong. We seek to promote good relationships throughout the academy community and genuine tolerance and understanding of all cultures. In addition, the assembly programme addresses many moral, ethical, environmental and social issues.

Social development is promoted through many opportunities for students to work together, in a variety of situations, both within and beyond lessons. Students have extensive opportunities to take responsibility through activities such as Year councils, working groups (e.g. Eco Schools, Teaching and Learning Group) representing the academy at meetings, work in support of charities, and assisting at parents’/carers’ evenings, performances and events. The community dimension of the academy, mainly through our specialisms also presents opportunities for positive interaction between students, adults and the community in general.

Cultural development is encouraged both within lessons and through a very wide variety of extra-curricular activities such as music, drama and dance workshops and performances, art exhibitions and regular visits from theatre companies and artists-in-residence. Students also take part in a wide range of visits and trips to museums, galleries, theatres and foreign visits and exchanges. The range of cultures represented in the academy is valued and celebrated, with regular educational displays of cultural artefacts and explanations of traditions.

Personal and Social Education (including health, sex and drugs education)

Personal and social education is an integral part of the philosophy and ethos of the academy. Across the whole curriculum, we aim to develop students’ knowledge, values, personal and social skills to help them benefit from their school experience and prepare them to take their place as responsible citizens in society. Many aspects of the academy and its work contribute to personal and social education, the ways in which members of the academy community behave towards one another, the links between the academy and the wider community, our many extra-curricular activities such as sport, drama, music and a wide range of trips and activities out of school.

The PSE curriculum throughout Years 7 – 13 contributes to a number of cross-curricular areas, including personal organisation and study skills, health education (including drugs education, sex education and personal safety), and education for citizenship, environmental education, economic and industrial awareness and careers education. The PSE curriculum is delivered through our SHAPE days and reinforced across the curriculum. All members of staff input into the SHAPE days, supported by specialist staff and outside speakers.

Work related curriculum

An effective work related programme lies at the centre of the necessary experience of all students. The programme seeks to raise aspirations and help all students achieve their potential. We are aware that the changing nature of work requires special skills on the part of our students. As adults, they will need to be able to adapt to changing patterns of employment, operate in a climate of competition and be willing to develop new knowledge, skills and competences throughout their working lives.

Through a structured and progressive programme of learning, we expect students to develop an understanding of the demands and challenges of the workplace, the rewards and satisfaction work can bring the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, and knowledge of the requirements of employers and educational institutions and sources of information and guidance. We also expect them to develop relevant skills, including research, problem-solving and decision-making skills, presentational and communication skills, planning and self-management skills and the confidence needed to operate in the employment market place.

The programme operates in all years. Its principal features include

  • awareness-raising;
  • personal strengths analysis;
  • job application and interview skills;
  • research skills;
  • action planning;
  • careers interviews;
  • information and guidance about post-16 and post-school education and career routes;
  • work experience and work placements
  • various events e.g. ‘Careers Fair’ day

 

We have close links with Connexions, who are based on site for three days a week, and these advisers work with students in years 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. We have a strong partnership between staff, students, parents/carers, governors, employers, education/training providers and external agencies. Brokerage placements are used at key stage 4 for disaffected students or those at risk of permanent exclusion.

Curriculum links with partner schools

Many departments have well-established curriculum links with our partner primary schools, and we have a dedicated member of staff that co-ordinates this work. Incoming Year 7 students spend two days in Wood Green Academy in the preceding July. The transfer of information about students’ prior attainment and strengths and weaknesses in different subjects is co-ordinated by the SENCO and the Year Leader for that year group and communicated to relevant departments.

Monitoring, review and evaluation

Governors’ Achievement and Standards Committee

The Governors’ Achievement and Standards Committee meets twice per term. The committee considers developments and initiatives in the curriculum and assessment and monitors the effectiveness of curriculum provision, in order to ensure that the academy meets its statutory requirements. The committee receives regular updates on the work of departments. The committee reports to, and makes recommendations to the full governing body.

Governor links

A number of governors are ‘linked’ to departments and other areas of the academy’s work. The purpose of these links is to become better informed about the successes and constraints experienced by departments; to support and encourage, and where appropriate, to advise. The insight gained by governors in this process contributes to full and informed curriculum discussions at meetings of the governing body.

Heads of Department

Heads of Department are responsible for effective curriculum provision, including appropriate schemes of work, the necessary resources to support them, and the maintenance of appropriate standards. They are responsible for providing appropriate CPD training for staff to improve the quality of provision in the classroom. They are expected to monitor the quality of teaching in the department, and to take steps to improve weaknesses. They are also expected to monitor students’ standards of achievement and develop strategies to improve them. Heads of Department sample teachers’ marking and reports to parents/carers. They are expected to ensure common standards and expectations and to lead the department’s work in standardising assessments. Heads of Department have a crucial role in quality assurance in relation to the curriculum and its delivery.

The Monitoring Cycle

A rigorous and effective monitoring process has been established in order to identify underachievement and establish possible intervention strategies for all students in the school. Middle leaders meet with members of SLT as part of the line management structure and as per the monitoring cycle.

Curriculum complaints procedure

The 1988 Education Reform Act requires the governing body to have in place procedures for the consideration of complaints that the academy is failing to meet its statutory obligations in relation to the national curriculum and various other matters.

In summary, parents/carers may make representations if they feel that the governing body is failing to

  • provide the national curriculum in the school or for a particular child;
  • follow the law on charging for school activities;
  • offer only approved qualifications or syllabuses;
  • provide religious education and daily collective worship;
  • provide the information that they have to provide;
  • carry out any other statutory duty relating to the curriculum
  • or, are acting unreasonably in any of the above cases