At The Gainsborough Academy our curriculum creates the foundation that ensures our students are given every opportunity to rise to the opportunity and be the absolute best they can be in everything they study and do. Effective curriculums establish the foundation of what students are expected to know, do and understand in order to deepen learning. The National Curriculum is used as a baseline to inform our curriculum planning. As such all of our subject areas have sequential, progressive and ambitious plans so that students build on prior knowledge and skills to secure their fluent understanding.
In every lesson clear, aspirational learning objectives and outcomes ensure students know what is expected of them. The content of the curriculum ensures that students develop their skills for learning, or curriculum competencies so that what they know and what they can do progresses in tandem. Given the depth and breadth of our curriculum this approach is essential in order to facilitate student learning at all levels so that true sequencing of learning takes place over time to conceptualise student understanding. All students are supported to reach their full potential and those students who fall behind are helped to make rapid progress through effective action ensuring all students make at least good progress.
Formative and summative assessment is central to effective curriculum mapping. At Gainsborough we have in place a rigorous assessment strategy that informs students exactly what they need to know and achieve at clearly defined endpoints. Given the nature of our curriculum planning we empower colleagues to work collaboratively across WPT to maximise expertise to ensure that student learning builds on what has been taught before and what understanding is yet to come.
We aim to engender a love of learning, self-belief and aspiration through 4 key intentions:
Removing barriers to learning
Four common barriers (listed below), if left unchallenged, will limit the progress, engagement and development of our students. We therefore remove barriers to learning and support students’ ability to access the curriculum through the development:
- Literacy and language acquisition
The ‘Read All About It’ study, conducted by the organisation behind the NGRT assessments used in WPT schools, showed that there is a significant correlation between reading ability and achievement.
Every teacher understands the tremendous value of reading – for school success and so much more – but not every teacher is trained equally to understand how children ‘learn to read’ and go on to ‘read to learn’. All teachers at WPT support comprehension by modelling how expert readers read actively, including by monitoring their understanding, asking questions, making predictions and summarising in line with our own unique reciprocal reading model.
Through our numeracy curriculum design we aim to ensure all students are numerate and leave with the knowledge and skills required for everyday life. This is achieved through consistent teaching methods and terminology used in numeracy, maths and across the whole school curriculum. Through a consistent approach to models and methods we ensure that all students, irrespective of ability, can access the numeracy and mathematical content of their study. The maths departments in all schools work collaboratively with colleagues across the curriculum to embed core routines such as:
- Geography – Line graphs and compare data, we use an arid region and a fertile region
- Art – Ratio linked to mixing colours. Fibonacci sequence
- Food – Metric and imperial measurements linked to recipes – Ratio
- Science – Compound measures
- Music – Fractions linked to note value
- English – Averages from paragraphs, comparing two texts – will also embed reciprocal
All schools in WPT have clear expectations with regard to oracy including:
- Modelling high standards of language (including standard English)
- Challenge students’ use of language if unclear
- Be rigorous with questioning to develop depth of understanding and verbal articulation
- Use verbal sentence frames to facilitate the structuring of answers
Our approach to vocabulary is embedded to ensure students can access the whole curriculum. Once we have taught students the strategies that they need to become effective readers, through a consistent diet of reciprocal reading and explicit vocabulary instruction across the curriculum, students will become more effective learners. The Education Endowment Fund advises that schools ‘provide targeted vocabulary instruction in every subject.’ To achieve this, schools across WPT adopt a tiered approach to explicitly teaching vocabulary followed up with regular assessment through low stakes quizzing. The following strategies, from the guidance, we have adopted into the development of our own ‘Vocabulary Toolkit:’
- Explicit teaching of Tier 2 and Tier 3 words
- Using graphic organisers and concept maps (e.g. Frayer Model)
- Undertaking regular low stakes assessment
- Consistently signposting synonyms
Developing knowledge and skills for learning in a range of subjects
Each curriculum area intends to grow mini subject specialists through the development of the subject knowledge and skills. Student knowledge and essential learning skills go hand in hand. We strive, at all times, for personal excellence in all subject areas through the development of our ‘Subject Ways.’
Developing PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES (The Gainsborough Way)
The Gainsborough Way allows us all to promote the attributes our children need in order to develop their independence, responsibility and resilience to have a happy and successful life. We promote a high-challenge low-fear environment, where students and staff are encouraged to have a go without fear of making a mistake.
To enrich students’ experiences and broaden their horizons
We have designed a curriculum that values the development of the ‘able’ as much as it does ‘qualified’. At Gainsborough we believe that both are equally important to our students so that they can play their full part in the world.
Our pastoral curriculum is planned for progression and identifies milestones in personal development and opportunities for social, cultural and career experiences. Starting in year 7 and continuing through to Y11, our students experience a full programme of PSHE opportunities.
The PSHE curriculum is developed to build key knowledge and skills around SMSC, British Values and to give age appropriate messages around health, well-being, relationships and sex education. This is in line with the new ‘Relationships, Sex Education and Health Education in Schools (2020)’ guidance.
We have developed a pledge award system to challenge students to contribute to developing the social capital of the school community and the wider community. These pledges cover life skills, cultural experiences and active citizenship.
Information on careers is delivered through the curriculum in schools but also through enrichment via external providers including: workplace visits, mentoring programmes and study days at higher education institutions. Through high-quality guidance and advice, led by our Careers Leader and careers adviser, students are able to use their learning to make well-informed decisions at each stage of their career progression and achieve their full potential.
Students have access to a wide range of extra curricular and enrichment opportunities at all of our schools.
In summary, our school’s curriculum seeks to equip students with the understanding of how to develop themselves as well rounded citizens and maintain healthy relationships; to enrich and broaden their horizons, both in their cultural capital and future aspirations.
We take every opportunity to extend student experiences within the curriculum through both entitlement and enrichment in equal measure.
Through our curriculum design all students have access to a broad, balanced and ambitious offer that is beyond the national curriculum including:
- First Aid training through PE, Science, Technology and Food
- Money Matters training through our maths curriculum
- Careers curriculum in its own right that is delivered through PSHE, form tutor time, drop
down days and subject areas
- School Pledge initiative
- Outdoor adventurous activity
- Charitable events, for example, sponsored walk
- Virtual work experience
Through our curricular and extra-curricular programme students also have opportunities to develop their skills and interests further through:
- School Extra
- Virtual enrichment
- Duke of Edinburgh
- Wide range of sporting activities
- STEM clubs
- Student council and student leadership
- Inter-Trust Competitions
- Performing Arts and Creative Arts
- Educational visit
- Peripatetic Music curriculum
ALL STUDENTS FOLLOW A TIMETABLE OF 20 LESSONS PER WEEK.
We adopt a 5-year approach to our curriculum planning. As a result, each discipline has 5 year sequential plans that build on previous learning and progressively develops student’s knowledge and skills such as reading, writing, oracy, numeracy and the ‘grammar’ of each subject. To this end, subjects have long term, medium-term plans and progression maps that define what students will know at key milestones.
*Some students may be withdrawn for literacy and numeracy intervention.
In Year 7, Drama is taught on a 3 week carousel during an English lesson.
How we comply with our duties under the Equality Act 2010 and SEND Regulations 2014
We ensure that all students, regardless of gender, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or other individual circumstances, have an equal opportunity to access the curriculum. All students can access the full range of subjects in our curriculum offer, and we will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that any barriers a student faces in order to access any aspects of the curriculum are removed. This may include support from Teaching Assistants, provision of auxiliary aides or other equipment, and co-working with external agencies who offer additional support. In delivering the curriculum, we ensure that all topics are approached and delivered in an impartial way and without bias, to ensure that no student or group feels unfairly discriminated against during their learning of any part of our curriculum.
Our Subjects at KS4