Curriculum Overview at AGS

At Acklam Grange School we strive to offer a curriculum that not only follows the principles of a broad and balanced curriculum promoted by the National Curriculum, but also to deliver one that promotes equality for all students regardless of race, gender, sexuality or socio-economic background and provides equity by aiming to support students in overcoming those barriers proven to limit social mobility locally such as low levels of reading, vocabulary, low self-esteem and low aspirations.

Our curriculum aims to incorporate our five key AGS Pride characteristics which are intrinsic to everything we do. We aim to support and develop our five PRIDE values of Perseverance, Respect, Initiative, Direction and Expression through our curriculum delivery.  This is because we want our students to be confident articulate human beings who have those values, beliefs and skills that we believe will enable them to make a positive difference to themselves, their families and to help them shape a positive society in the future.

Embracing a personalised learning agenda, our curriculum design meets our students’ needs and promotes lifelong learning. Students are allocated to one of four Personalised Learning Curriculum Pathways each following a varying route and ensuring access to a broad and balanced personalised curriculum.  Student’s needs are constantly reviewed and these pathways can and do change in response to student needs either through our regular pathway reviews or whenever it is deemed to be in the best interests of the student so that they experience a curriculum which is as bespoke and personalised as possible.

Whilst striving to be as aspirational as possible by promoting a curriculum with an academic focus characterised by the Ebacc, our students will also have access to the support they need so that the core ingredients of reading and vocabulary are of a standard that allows them to flourish within their own personalised learning journey.  Students will be supported in making the right choices for their ability and interests, in striving for success and to go on to follow the Post-16 progression route they desire. In 2017-18 99% of students secured a place with a Post-16 provider which is something we are very proud of.

Across both KS3 and KS4, students now follow a carefully planned and sequenced journey which continually builds on prior learning and is designed to prepare the students for the rigours of the new, more challenging GCSEs and to prepare them for life Post-16 beyond Acklam Grange School.  Students follow a very aspirational and challenging, yet deliberately constructed learning journey from the moment they become part of the Acklam Grange Family in Year 7, which focusses specifically on developing the right skills and a broad range of knowledge that will enable them to contribute positively to British society.

In Year 7 students begin studying Mathematics, English, Science, French, Computing, Design and Technology, Art, FTT, Drama, Art, Music, Religious Studies, Physical Education and elements of the SRE and CEIAG curriculum.  This choice of subjects is then refined at the end of Years 8 and 9 so that we can personalise each individual students pathway.

To raise aspirations even further, we are now asking students to follow an EBacc pathway.  This entails all students beginning their GCSE studies in earnest from Year 9 in Humanities and a language for students in appropriate Pathways. Any student wishing to continue studying a language will be considered for a Pathway move in one of our termly pathway review meetings. This will be supported by students making further choices to personalise their studies even further for Years 10 and 11.

This layered approach to personalising the length of courses is a further improvement to the curriculum model we offered which enabled us to be in the top 5% in the country for Progress 8 in 2016 and 2017 and top 10% in 2018, an achievement we are all very proud of and hope to match, if not better, in subsequent years.

We constantly review our curriculum to ensure it meets the needs of our current and future students as well as our community. This is through a detailed annual curriculum review which takes views of staff, students, parents, governors, primary schools and Post-16 providers on board.  At the end of each year all students also complete a MyPRIDE questionnaire which helps to identify any prevalent social attitudes and issues that may need addressing through PRIDE (PSHE) the following academic year.

Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) is embedded throughout all areas of our curriculum. PRIDE lessons are our version of Personal, Social and Health Education and offer a wealth of opportunities for students to access important learning experiences which significantly contribute to their development as independent and resilient learners and well-rounded citizens. PRIDE is also the vehicle for the promotion of British Values incorporating Democracy, Law, Mutual Respect, Individual Liberty and a Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs as well as the teaching of CEIAG, SRE and Citizenship.  

The curriculum is implemented via careful sequencing of lessons using spaced practice and interleaving of content to promote long term learning through retrieval practice. Staff take time to design effective assessments to make inferences about deep learning and not just short term performance. These carefully designed diagnostic assessments inform responsive teaching in the classroom and also serve as great opportunities for students to practice knowledge recall and strengthen their knowledge of key subject matter.

This process of developing long term learning increases students’ fluency, freeing up working memory so that they can successfully connect and apply these facts to a range of diverse contexts. Within day to day teaching, staff utilise opportunities for low stakes quizzing to promote knowledge recall, together with elaboration to deepen students’ knowledge of why specific knowledge is important in the wider world, rather than just having to remember a series of unconnected facts.  This is an approach we expect to see across the whole curriculum.

For further information contact Mr Hassack on 01642 277700.