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Curriculum policy

Adopted: September 2016

Curriculum principles

The curriculum offer is guided by core principles, which link to our overall vision and ethos:

  • The need to provide a knowledge rich curriculum that fulfils and exceeds the specific needs of our students.
  • Our high aspirations for academic outcomes
  • The need to raise English standards and particularly reading skills. This will be supported by the college's English specialism.
  • The need to fully prepare students for continued academic study and progression to the UK's best universities.
  • The need to develop well rounded young people who are independent, resilient, and confident and have a love of learning.

Our curriculum goes beyond simply meeting the academic needs of our students. It is deep, challenging and provides rich, memorable experiences.

Overview

Students in KS3 and 4 have 25 hours of formal classes a week - and all pupils benefit from an extended curriculum.

The overall education being provided for our students is much more than just the subject allocations. As well as the 5 timetabled lessons detailed, we provide all students with a morning reading session and form time in which the wider knowledge and skills of citizenship, personal, social and health education and British Values are supported. The values are embedded throughout our taught curriculum.

In addition to this, all students have 45 minutes of prep time and an additional hour of Elective enrichment three days a week.

Key Stage 3

We offer a two year Key Stage 3, with a curriculum that is challenging, but also supportive, ensuring that no child is left behind. Expectations are extremely high, but rigorous assessment, combined with highly personalised support and intervention will ensure that all students can access the curriculum and progress exceptionally well.

Key Stage 4

A three year Key Stage 4 allows for 'deep learning' and for a focus on scholarship and wide reading. Students are able to develop their own interests and areas of study independently to support the core learning for their courses. This is enhanced through our prep curriculum, which develops a high level of independent study skills.

Additional support and intervention groups, led by subject teachers, academic mentors and the SEN department address specific learning needs of students. This is particularly important for students who have low prior attainment, special educational needs, or are experiencing other specific barriers to achievement.

Our curriculum combines high expectations and a traditional academic focus, with rigorous systems of support to ensure that students be successful. Students are expected to take GCSEs and the English Baccalaureate but at the same time, support and intervention groups, academic mentoring and 1:1 support will ensure no child is left behind.

Our electives programme

It is essential that young people develop as well rounded, resilient individuals with their own interests and passions and our extra-curricular electives allow them to do this. This supports our belief that students should be able to achieve both academic and personal success. This is achievable for all young people, if they are given the right support and teaching and learning opportunities.

These enrichment sessions are part of the college's compulsory extended school day.

Three days a week, students take part in electives, which they have personally selected, to supplement their academic timetable.

Electives allow them to take part in clubs/activities they enjoy, or to broaden the experiences. and are very wide ranging. Electives develop self-discipline, whilst also allowing students to develop important team work, leadership and social skills.

Aspirations are also raised through developed social confidence.

The skills developed through the electives programme are essential in preparing students for employment.

The elective programme is an important feature of the sixth form curriculum. Sixth formers are expected to take a leadership role and lead sessions for younger students or undertake challenging activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh Silver or Gold Award. Jane Austen College also links with the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form Free School to develop further extra-curricular opportunities and give our students a wider choice.

Our unique links with local partners and businesses also support the range of activities we offer. Our students are able to have real life and cultural experiences because of this. This will support progression to university and employment.

Academic monitoring

Our curriculum must meet the needs of all of our students.

As part of the curriculum, all our students receive 1:1 academic mentoring. The mentoring will be based upon Carol Dweck's theories on student motivation and 'attribution theory'. This allows us to raise the aspirations of students and provide excellent levels of support.

All students make ‘pledges’ based around their aspirations. These pledges promote high aspirations and allow students to receive specific targets and tasks set by their mentors. These targets ensure students extend their knowledge and skill sets appropriate to their pledge and develop and enhance their academic progression.

Intervention

Intervention and support is essential to ensuring our curriculum is right for our student profile. Intervention and ‘booster classes’ allows us to address low attainment on entry. Rigorous tracking and monitoring through our Mastery Checkpoint System enables us to identify underachievement early and act appropriately with timely intervention. Intervention/support groups are run for small, targeted groups of students to address specific barriers to learning or skills of knowledge gaps. Our first priority is literacy and numeracy master classes. These run alongside the prep curriculum and form time.

English - our specialism

Jane Austen College specialises in English. This subject is therefore at the heart of the curriculum vision for the school.

Reading, writing and communication skills are explicitly taught and assessed across all subjects in the curriculum. In addition, to reading daily for pleasure, students have wide and regular opportunities for reading within all of their subjects. Literacy is an enabling competence and as such is vitally important.

Cross-curricular links

Across all year groups and key stages, heads of faculties seek to explore and embed regular cross-curricular links that will enhance learning and students’ curricular experience. This will promote deep learning through reinforcement and encourage transferable skills. This should be facilitated through joint planning, to ensure our curriculum is cohesive.

Prep curriculum

Prep is an important part of daily life at the college. Every day, 45 minutes after school will be spent on focused, independent study. The prep curriculum is designed to develop core literacy competencies, to develop cultural literacy and deep knowledge and encourage students to improve and develop their own work.

It has a cross curricular focus, but work opportunities are also set by subject teachers with the majority of time being spent on the core subjects. Daily independent study encourages self-discipline, scholarship and independent learning skills.

Faculties will create knowledge organisers for students to use the rehearse and revise key knowledge to support their subjects.

For Key Stage 3 students, daily prep is their only prescribed independent study outside of lessons and no additional homework will be set, although they will be expected to read at home.

Key Stage 4 students are expected to undertake further independent revision and study.

Key Stage 5 students complete prep as part of their timetabled day in independent study time, they require slightly less direct supervision and are encouraged towards independence.

Qualifications

At Jane Austen College, students are supported in gaining the best academic qualifications possible. All students, regardless of background, are entitled to this. Vocational opportunities, such as work placements and high quality work experience will be arranged in KS4, to supplement the academic curriculum, but will not be formally assessed by examination.

In order to fully ensure that our curriculum always meets the needs of our students we undertake a full curriculum review each year, to ensure that our curriculum offer is the best for our students.

Key Stage 4: Our students study a core curriculum supplemented with personalised options. The core subjects will incorporate the English Baccalaureate subjects.

Additional Qualifications: As part of our stage not age approach, we will look to offer appropriate qualifications to provide stretch and challenge. This may particularly support students who wish to progress to the best universities.

Sixth Form: As the sixth form is partnered with the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form Free School, the Jane Austen Sixth Form will be a specialist Humanities and Arts provider, with students able to study maths and science subjects at Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form Free School.

Roles and responsibilities

Governing body

  • Defines the principles underlying the college’s curriculum policy.
  • Ensures that all aspects of the policy promote equality for all students and address individual need.
  • Monitors and evaluates the implementation of the policy and its effectiveness by receiving reports and data.

The Principal and senior leadership team

  • Promote the curriculum vision, for a high quality, academic and highly personalised curriculum
  • Promote and implement a policy, which develops a high quality curriculum that more than meets the needs of the college’s students
  • Provide structures and training to support staff in ensuring the policy is effectively implemented
  • Ensure that the policy promotes equality for all students and addresses individual needs.
  • Monitor and review the curriculum so that its effectiveness is rigorously evaluated and a full programme of quality assurance is in place.
  • Support the practical strategies of the policy by
  • Provide communication systems with parents and other stakeholders
  • Provide adequate resources so that the policy can  be effectively implemented
  • Provide appropriate class groupings and timetable arrangements, allocating resources appropriately and effectively.
  • Ensure that the policy is consistently and fairly applied.

Heads of faculty

  • Promote and implement a policy, which develops a high-quality curriculum that more than meets the needs of the college’s students.
  • Monitor and review the curriculum within their faculty so that its effectiveness is rigorously evaluated and a full programme of quality assurance is in place.
  • Liaise and communicate effectively with other heads of faculty to ensure the policy is consistently and effectively implemented.
  • Support the practical strategies of the policy.
  • Communicate effectively with parents/carers regarding curriculum and provide advice or support for families.
  • Communicate effectively with feeder primaries, to aid transition and effective student support
  • Manage curriculum resources effectively, to uphold the highest of standards.
  • Work with the senior team to provide appropriate class groupings and timetable arrangements, allocating resources appropriately and effectively
  • Provide structures and training to support staff in ensuring the policy is effectively implemented

Heads of house

  • Promote and implement a policy, which develops a high quality curriculum that more than meets the needs of the college’s students
  • Communicate effectively with feeder primaries, to aid transition and effective student support
  • Support the practical strategies of the policy.
  • Communicate effectively with parents/carers regarding curriculum and provide advice or support for families.

SENCO

  • Promote and implement a policy, which develops a high quality curriculum that more than meets the needs of the college’s students
  • Work closely with heads of house/faculty to ensure the curriculum fully meets the needs of all students, providing expert advice where needed.
  • Monitor and review the curriculum within their area so that its effectiveness is rigorously evaluated and a full programme of quality assurance is in place.
  • Communicate effectively with feeder primaries, to aid transition ad effective student support
  • Support the practical strategies of the policy.
  • Communicate effectively with parents/carers regarding curriculum concerns and provide advice or support for families.
  • Monitor individuals or groups to allow for early intervention and review of support provided.
  • Evaluate support for individuals through reports to the head of house/faculty, senior team and governors.

Teachers

  • Implement the policy effectively and consistently.
  • Monitor and review the curriculum with regard to their own teaching so that its effectiveness is rigorously evaluated
  • Prepare lessons that support all students in their learning and support the curriculum vision
  • Model in their own actions the expectations the college has for students.

Academic mentors

  • Implement the policy effectively and consistently.
  • Provide mentoring support for identified individuals and groups, that supports the curriculum vision outlined in this policy
  • Advise the pastoral support and inclusion team on appropriate courses of action.
  • Communicate effectively with parents/carers regarding curriculum concerns and provide advice or support for families.
  • Monitor individuals or groups to allow for early intervention and review of support provided.
  • Evaluate support for individuals through reports to the head of house/faculty, senior team and governors.

Learning and teaching assistants

  • Implement the policy effectively and consistently.
  • Monitor and review the curriculum with regard to their own teaching/support so that its effectiveness is rigorously evaluated
  • Prepare lessons/provide student support that support all students in their learning and support the curriculum vision
  • Model in their own actions the expectations the college has for students.

Support staff

  • Implement the policy effectively and consistently.
  • Support other college staff with implementing the curriculum vision.
  • Model in their own actions the expectations the college has for students.