Waterhead Academy

Curriculum

About our Academy Curriculum

Our Curriculum Rationale

At Waterhead Academy we ensure that all of our young people benefit from a caring and welcoming community. Our aim is to provide a broad range of high-quality experiences and education, within and beyond the classroom so our young people are supported to be the very best that they can be.  

Our philosophy is that subjects such as PE and the arts (creative and performing) very much complement rather than detract from the 'academic' curriculum. They allow skills such as concentration, resilience and confidence to be built in a natural environment, transferring these skills into everyday life.

To be able to achieve social equality together, our aim is to deliver a curriculum experience that will ensure students are career and life ready as a result of teaching through our shared values, responsibility, determination and success.

Our curriculum is designed to meet the needs of our young people and ensure all students can reach their full potential and become educated citizens, equipping them to be successful adults. It is balanced and broadly based, promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development and prepares our young people for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

The national curriculum forms one part of our school curriculum. Ensuring that we teach religious education to pupils at every key stage and sex and relationship education to pupils. We make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), and citizenship.

Underpinning our curriculum design for year 7-11, we aim to provide a curriculum that is:

  • Broad -fully immersed in knowledge, vocabulary and experiences relevant to the world in which we live. Encompassing a breadth of reading, writing, language, communication and maths skills.
  • Balanced - academic rigour, vocational and technical provision and the development of employability skills within the broader curriculum experience
  • Rich – so that all children and young people can widen their horizons develop creativity, life experiences, and increase cultural capital. Creating direct links to enrich pupils’ subject learning and increased interest in and enjoyment of those subjects.
  • Powerful knowledge– meaning they have the fundamental understanding of a range of subject skills, knowledge and concepts, but most importantly how they can be applied.
  • Relevant – so that our young people are prepared for the next stage of their education, and for life in modern Britain as good neighbours and citizens: ethically and morally grounded; respectful of others and excited by diversity, compassionate and generous of spirit, and able to lead, build community and do good as they go.
  • Progressive – learning builds on prior experience, gradually deepening understanding and mastery. Assessments, both formative and summative are used to identify misconceptions and adapt the curriculum to ensure that students have a solid foundation enabling to embrace, deepen and master curricula.

 Principles for Learning:

Our teachers aim to provide a high quality of education to our students through evidence-based strategies under the umbrella of:

  • Retrieval/activate learning: quizzes and low stakes tests are used to embed and develop long-term memory. Allowing students to have the cognitive ability to access new learning.
  • Big picture – providing an understanding of the importance and purpose of studying different topic area/concepts.
  • Literacy- develop reading, writing, language, communication and enriching vocabulary
  • Modelling and explicit explanations – stepping out new information through modelling, using model and explanations that consider cognitive overload
  • Identifying misconceptions – By pre-empting misconceptions and planning for these, using different forms of formative assessment to recognise where students need support and challenge
  • Responsive teaching – adapting resources and considering the needs of students to ensure that they can access learning and be successful.
  • Feedback – providing opportunities to improve learning, deepen and master a subject.
  • High expectations and teacher relationship – develop routines, behaviours and relationships that help maximise learning.

At GCSE, some additional courses have been included for students who will benefit from a more appropriate curriculum. This offer will be extended next year with a focus on the addition of additional practical / vocational subjects.

Key Stage 3  (Years 7 to 9)

Our key stage 3 curriculum bridges the gap between primary and secondary school through a focus on developing core skills plus wider knowledge and understanding whilst building on the wonder and excitement of the many varied subjects we offer.

Our young people have access to a far-reaching and coherent curriculum that empowers them through learning, plus our strong core of English and maths ensures that basic skills are embedded early to allow students to flourish throughout their time with us. A three-year Key Stage 3 provides the time and space to gain this secure understanding and experience a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the needs of our young people.

In 2021 the curriculum has altered to allow for:

More lessons in ICT: This should give us the capacity to build basic computer literacy around general competence as well as giving opportunity for coding and more technical aspects of the curriculum.

PSHCSE to be placed across all year groups in the same session - Wednesday P6. This will be in tutor teams and in year group areas. This will allow assemblies, external speakers and visitors and additional time for form tutors to build relationships with their form.

Health and Wellbeing (HaW): a new lesson in KS3 which will cover food, mental health and resilience and much of the RSE curriculum. It will ensure that all children in Years 7 to 9 receive a whole term of food teaching. The idea of creating a 'reduced size' team allows for a more specialist delivery in these key areas. 

Maths and English have 5 lessons per week at KS3 to aid the recovery and catch-up programme.

 

Subjects studied and time allocations at KS3:

Subject

Weekly lesson allocation

 

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

English

5

5

5

Maths

5

5

5

Science

4

4

5

Geography

2

2

2

History

2

2

2

MFL

2

2

2

Computing/ICT

2

2

2

Art & Design

2

2

1

P.E.

2

2

2

Ethics

1

1

1

music

1

1

1

PSHCCE

1

1

1

Food/Health and Wellbeing

1

1

1

Key Stage 4  (Years 10 & 11)

The Key Stage 4 Curriculum at Waterhead Academy is broad and balanced with a strong core in English, mathematics and science alongside a selection of interesting and high-value option subjects. With our expertise and guidance, students can liaise with parents and families to make informed decisions about which option subjects they choose. Our young people are guided down one of three pathways, the EBACC, mixed or vocational pathway.

In 2021 some additional courses have been included for students who struggle with the more traditional / academic curriculum. This offer will be extended next year with a focus on the addition of more practical / vocational subjects without comprising the ‘academic subjects.’

Subjects studied and time allocations at KS4 2021/22:

Subject

Weekly lesson allocation

 

Year 10

Year 11

English

4

5

Maths

4

4

Science

6

5

Option A

2

2

Option B

3

3

Option C

3

3

Option D

3

3

Ethics

1

1

P.E.

2

2

PSHCCE

1

1

GCSE (and equivalent) Options 2021-22

To find out more information about Waterhead Academy’s curriculum please see the individual subject links on the Teaching & Learning menu tab. Here you will also find more information about our options process. For further discussion about our curriculum contact: Mrs Lynn Rogers, Assistant Principal via email:

l.rogers@waterheadacademy.co.uk.

Religious Education and Collective Worship 

The Academy does not have a religious denomination and welcomes students from all faiths. Provision is made for religious education to be given to pupils at the academy in accordance with the agreed local syllabus. This is given through the Ethics programme in KS3 and KS4 and as a key component in KS4 PSHCRE lessons. The Academy provides collective worship of broadly Christian themes and celebrates other faiths and morality in accordance with our values. This is given through planned assembly themes and a thought for week which is also reflected upon in lessons and whole school messaging. The Academy complies with the Mainstream Academy Supplementary funding agreement.    

Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE. We encourage parents to research this decision before applying for a place at the Academy. We also encourage parents who are considering this to meet with school staff first to understand the educational objectives and content of the RE syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision.