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Curriculum


Introduction and Intent

Queen Katharine Academy (QKA) has an extremely diverse cohort, and our curriculum is designed to ensure that all students are able to achieve their full potential.  QKA offers a range of academic and vocational qualifications, thus allowing students a range of opportunities to follow diverse career and educational paths once they leave the Academy.  Our aim is to ensure that students gain the necessary cultural capital to become valuable members of our global community.

QKA has high expectations based on a clear knowledge and understanding of our students’ needs. We firmly believe in offering a wide range of opportunities for all students and provide appropriate support, stretch and challenge. Our curriculum is literacy rich and, due to the nature of our cohort, is developed to meet the needs of our students, including the majority who have English as an additional language (EAL).

At Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) we offer an Accelerated Curriculum to support those students who arrive at the Academy needing additional support, as well as bespoke Literacy, Numeracy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) options at Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11).  Additionally, we have a Community Education Administrator and a range of bilingual staff to support newly-arrived EAL students and families to settle into the Academy.  QKA has also used its international partners across Europe to provide enrichment through multi-lateral working, at the same time supporting students to retain links with their countries of origin.  Wherever possible, students are encouraged and supported in achieving qualifications in their home languages.

We support our More Able and Talented (MAT) students in a variety of ways both in school and externally. We work with a number of providers who aim to raise aspirations, increase awareness of higher education, and provide experiences for students. We work with Insight, in partnership with the University of Cambridge, from Year 7 through to Sixth Form. Working with the Smallpeice Trust, we offer students in Years 10-13 funded Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) residential opportunities which take place at a variety of universities across the country. Our students also work with the Brilliant Club, who offer them the chance to collaborate with University PhD students to complete an academic assignment. We often have workshops from other external visitors, such as the Marine Cadets, Bloodhound Project, Routes into Languages and staff from Oxbridge universities to enrich our student’s experiences.

In school, teachers use stretch and challenge in lessons, by deepening, broadening, and accelerating student’s learning. Mentoring has also taken place with Higher Prior Attainment (HPA) students in Year 11 which focussed on revision and exam technique.  Following positive feedback from its inception last academic year, this scheme will be rolled out to 3 cohorts of Year 11 students this year.  The vast majority of QKA’s cohort stays on in the 6th Form and continuation to university is high and increasing.

Students have a wide range of enrichment opportunities, both curricular and extra-curricular.  Student leadership is embedded and growing across the Academy, with our Student Leadership Coordinator supporting and developing a team of Prefects and student leaders across the whole school.  In addition there are successful leadership schemes including:  Language Leaders, Maths Leaders, Roma Leaders, etc..  Students are encouraged to participate in enrichment schemes across the curriculum, examples of these include the Science Fair, Foreign Language Spelling and Translation Bees, Physical Education (PE) clubs and Maths Challenges (amongst others).

Our curriculum is embodied by the following features:

Key Stage 2-3 transition

Curriculum provision builds sequentially upon KS2 experiences (where appropriate).  Subject leaders have a clear understanding of the KS2 curriculum, pedagogy, assessments and outcomes in order to further develop pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding.

QKA has an established Transition Leader and team who work with our primary stakeholders throughout the academic year to ensure that information is shared and Key Stage 2 (KS2) students are sufficiently prepared to start their secondary journey.  QKA provides a series of transition days for Year 5 and Year 6 students, where they get to meet subject teachers, tutors, have ‘taster’ lessons and meet student leaders.

In addition to this, there are a number of enrichment opportunities offered to our primary stakeholders including:  Language Leaders and The Language Magician workshops, Primary Maths Challenge, KS2 Science Club, amongst others. 

Key Stage 3

Students at KS3 study a broad and balanced curriculum including academic, creative and practical subjects.  There are a range of extension opportunities implemented with appropriate time allocations across a range of subjects, including a Year 9 ‘taster option’ model, to allow students to better understand the full range of KS4 options prior to making their choices.

Our ‘Aspirant Curriculum’ offers a range of opportunities for the majority of our learners, and pedagogy provides stretch and challenge for all.  An ‘Accelerated Curriculum’ has also been embedded to meet the needs of our learners who arrive at the Academy needing additional support.  The ‘Accelerated Curriculum’ and associated programmes are coordinated and tailored in order to meet individual needs and enable accelerated progress to the ‘Aspirant’ provision when appropriate. 

The ‘Accelerated Curriculum’ is a literacy- and linguistics-based, thematic approach to subject delivery, allowing for a linguistic and numeracy focus.  Learners on the ‘Accelerated Curriculum’ are taught as a discrete group for nearly half of their timetable, but join the whole cohort for the remainder of the week.  Learners on the ‘Accelerated Curriculum’ are taught by fewer teachers and spend most of their lessons in their ‘base’ room.  Additional Teaching Assistant support is focussed towards the ‘Accelerated Curriculum’.

Key Stage 3-5 progression

Programmes of study clearly identify the big ideas and concepts so that the subject curriculum can be sequenced from starting points to examination in order to allow for revisiting and re-teaching as appropriate.

In Year 9 students start 3 selected preparatory courses from a range including Creative Arts, Technology, Media and Computer Science.  These preparatory courses will prepare skills and knowledge required for KS4.  Preparatory courses offer more time to these subjects than experienced in years 7 and 8.  Students are not locked in to a course having opted for it as a preparatory course.  Completing a preparatory course is not a pre-requisite for starting a course at KS4.

Subjects offered in the different key stages will build up the required skills for progression e.g. Vocational subjects offered at KS5 will follow a similar offer at KS4.

Assessment

Assessment is an integral part of each subject’s programme of study and is integral to teaching and learning.

Assessments are well considered and meaningful and reflect the Assessment Objectives of subject and exam specifications.

Assessment are timely, accurate and inform teaching to enable impact.

Key Stage 4 and 5 pathways, particularly for new and nearly new arrivals

A range of academic and vocational subjects are offered at KS4 and 5  including GCSE, BTEC, Cambridge ESOL and A Level, but clear consideration is given to group size viability. 

We aim for the vast majority of our students to follow an Attainment / Progress 8 ready curriculum, however, for a small minority of students, we recognise that this may not be appropriate - the focus is always on ensuring students are able to make the next steps in education or employment.  There is, however, an expectation that all students will gain a minimum of 6 GCSEs or equivalent by the end of Key Stage 4.

Students following the Aspirant Curriculum will be entitled to study English Language and Literature, Maths, 3 English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) subjects (Sciences, Computer Science, Language, History and Geography) and 3 Open subjects (E.g. Art, Sport, Media, Business, Health and Social Care, Drama, Dance).  All student in KS4 will take part in core PE and Human and Cultural Education.

Appropriate independent advice and guidance is given to all students regarding their KS4 and 5 option choices.  At Key Stage 5 an individual student’s curriculum is appropriate to their needs and knowledge of their intended next steps.

At KS5, Students are encouraged to opt for subjects that support their career plan and are most likely to give them success, regardless of whether A Level or vocational.  Additionally, KS5 students who have not yet achieved sufficient Level 2 certificates will have a broad range of options to achieve meaningful qualifications to help them access Level 3 provision.

Transition to work/FE/HE

Pathways that students follow are appropriate to their intended next steps.

The curriculum offer and provision enables students to progress to work/FE/HE, and time and focus within the curriculum is provided to develop the necessary skills for progression.

Collaborative Key Stage 5 provision

Consideration is given to the range of subjects offered at KS5 and to the utilisation of localised specialist resources and provision.