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Curriculum Overview

United Learning Curriculum Statement

Intent – our ambition for our students; how we achieve the best in everyone

Our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life.  Our curriculum is designed to provide children with the core knowledge they need for success in education and later life, to maximise their cognitive development, to develop the whole person and the talents of the individual and to allow all children to become active and economically self-sufficient citizens. 

Hundreds of United Learning teachers and leaders have been involved in developing the United Learning Curriculum as a core academic curriculum, founded on these key principles:

  • Entitlement – We believe that all children have the right to learn what is in the United Learning Curriculum; schools have a duty to ensure that all children are taught the whole of it.
  • Mastery – We want all students to achieve a full understanding of the knowledge specified in the Curriculum for each year, and teaching should not move on until this is achieved.
  • Stability – We won’t constantly amend the Curriculum: while we should make occasional adjustments in the light of feedback and experience, we will aim for stability over many years, so that teachers can develop expertise, and we constantly build assessments and teaching materials to support the Curriculum.
  • Concepts not context – The Curriculum is intended as a concise specification of knowledge and content to be taught and learned; it is for schools and teachers to decide how to teach and bring it to life.

Implementation – how we expose our students to powerful knowledge and provide education with character

The curriculum in each subject can be accessed on the subject-specific pages of the website. Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and you will see differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in different subjects. Standardised written assessments, for example, play less of a role in performance subjects such as music, drama and physical education. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers of the same subject to plan together and collaborate.

Further subject specialism is provided by United Learning’s subject advisors. These advisors are subject experts who help teachers link the subject discipline to our pupils’ daily experience in the classroom. Subject advisors meet regularly with Heads of Department across United Learning and provide curriculum resources to support the implementation of the subject curriculum.

As a mastery curriculum our students study fewer topics in greater depth, with the expectation that we don’t move on to the next topic until all students have a secure understanding of the current topic.  A 3-year Key Stage 3 provides students with the time and space to gain this secure understanding. In our lessons we expect to see all students grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for students who need it.  Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers produce work of greater depth and flair.

Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:

  • Demonstration (explanation and modelling) of new material in small steps (I)
  • Guided practice with prompts and scaffolds (we)
  • Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from teacher (you)

At each point in this instructional core, teachers check understanding of all students by asking lots of questions and providing feedback.

The Rosenshine principles support the implementation of the curriculum by ensuring that students regularly recall prior learning. You will often see this at the start of our lessons. When prior learning is committed to long term memory it becomes fluent or ‘automatic’, freeing space in our working memory which can then be used for comprehension, application, and problem solving.

In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch-up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support students who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.

Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum.  Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense.

Impact – how we measure and secure continuous improvement for all

With thousands of students across United Learning following the same curriculum, we have been able to develop common assessments in most subjects.  These are summative assessments which allow students to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and enable teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. These summative assessments are typically taken once or twice a year, allowing teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson.

We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing. Knowledge organisers provide students with key information that they are expected to learn and recall with fluency, enabling them to develop their understanding of key concepts outside of their lessons.

The culmination of our curriculum is that students leave our school with the confidence and intelligence to thrive. We know our students as individuals which enables us to provide curriculum guidance and careers guidance throughout their time with us. We expect all students to leave our school with the grades required to progress to their desired destination, and the character required to flourish once they get there.

By teaching our curriculum well, and delivering education with character, we bring out the best in everyone.

 

An overview of our curriculum

Key Stage 3

The curriculum at The John Roan has ensures that all students follow a broad and balanced curriculum from Y7 to Y11. The school day is organised into three equal length sessions of 100 minutes, each divided into two lessons of 50 minutes. Most subjects are taught as double lessons. Setting is in place in English, Maths and Science.

Our Designated Special Provision for students with ASD offers the full range of subjects from Y7 and students are given opportunities to join mainstream classes when this will best meet their needs. The KS3 curriculum is distributed as follows:

 

Year 7

lessons per week

Year 8

lessons per week

Year 9

lessons per week

Art

2

2

2

Computing

0

0

2

Drama

1

1

1

English

5

5

4

Geography

2

2

2

History

2

2

2

Maths

5

5

4

MFL

2

2

2

Music

1

1

1

PE

2

2

2

RE

2

2

2

Science

4

4

4

Technology

2

2

2

Total

30

30

30

 

Key Stage 4

Having chosen GCSE and BTEC options during the Spring term of Year 9, the Key Stage 4 curriculum begins at the beginning of Year 10. All students study a core GCSE curriculum of Maths, English (Language and Literature), Science and core PE (not assessed).

In Science, there is the opportunity to opt for Combined Science, which results in two GCSEs, or Triple Science, which results in discrete qualifications in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, amounting to three GCSEs in all. The latter option is subject to entry criteria.

The core represents a minimum of six GCSE qualifications, and for this reason a greater amount of curriculum time is dedicated to English, Maths and Science than in Key Stage 3. The remainder is dedicated to Option subjects.

Year 10 students have chosen three further option subjects, and Year 11 have chosen four. Students are encouraged to pick at least one of the most challenging academic subjects from the EBACC groups. In order to qualify for the full EBACC, students must choose a language as well as either History or Geography.

Enrichment GCSE options are offered in Astronomy, Further maths and community languages.

 

Year 10

lessons per week

Year 11

lessons per week

English

5

5

Maths

5

5

Science

6

6

Core PE

2

2

Option 1

4

3

Option 2

4

3

Option 3

4

3

Option 4

NA

3

Total

30

30

 

Current option subjects at Key Stage 4 are:

EBACC Options

GCSE Computer Science

GCSE History

GCSE Geography

GCSE French

GCSE Spanish

 

Other GCSE Options

GCSE Religious Studies

GCSE Psychology

GCSE Art and Design

GCSE Photography

GCSE Product Design

GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition

GCSE Textiles

GCSE Business

GCSE Music

GCSE PE

GCSE Drama

 

BTEC Options

BTEC Sport

BTEC Health and Social Care

BTEC Information Technology

BTEC Creative Media

 

Key Stage 5

Our course offer meets specific needs through 4 distinct pathways that cater for those interested in both academic and vocational courses and who would like to progress to Russell Group and other universities as well as those wishing to explore direct routes into training and employment.

We deliver GCSE Maths and English to those students who need to attain a grade 4 or above in one of these subjects.

 

Year 12

lessons per week

Year 13

lessons per week

Art

6

6

Btec Business

6

6

Biology

6

6

Business

6

6

Chemistry

6

6

Computing

6

6

Drama

6

6

Economics

6

6

English

6

6

EQP

2

2

French

6

6

History

6

6

Health and Social Care

6

6

IT

6

6

Maths

6

6

Media

6

6

Music

6

6

PE

6

6

Photography

6

6

Physics

6

6

Government & Politics

6

6

PSHE

6

6

Psychology

6

6

Btec Science

6

6

Sociology

6

6

Btec Sport

6

6

Spanish

6

6

Textiles

6

6

 

PSHE and PRIDE  

As part of the PRIDE weekly plan students spend one day per week on PSHE activities with tutors following an organised programme which is carefully planned and resourced to ensure a consistent and comprehensive delivery of PSHE across the school.

Tutorial Programme 2019 - 20

YEAR

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

7

Self-esteem

Staying Safe

Digital safety

Hygiene

Emotional Health Mindfulness

Prejudice and Discrimination 

Stephen Lawrence Day

Growth Mindset

The Power of Yet

Families

8

Friendships and Bullying

Respectful relationships

Economic Wellbeing

Gangs and Crime

Healthy Choices

Human Rights

9

Healthy Relationships and Families

Careers and Options Pathways and Labour Market

Risk and Harm

Prejudice and Racism  Stephen Lawrence Day

Economic Wellbeing

Emotional Health

10

Learning Pit and Resilience

Extremism and

Social Media

Prejudice and Bullying  Stephen Lawrence Day

Business and Finance

Healthy Relationships

SRE

Contraception and STI's

11

Careers

WEX Prep & Post 16 Destinations

Digital Safety

Drugs and Alcohol

Facts and Consequences

Emotional Health

n/a

n/a

This programme is further supported by PRIDE days and weekly assemblies which reflect our PRIDE ethos and complement the PSHE tutorial programme. The entire programme is planned in advance but there is some flexibility to enable the incorporation of topical/local issues, safeguarding and student voice via additional assemblies, targeted workshops or interventions.

All staff and all students are involved with the PSHE programme of study which includes three core themes:

· Health and Wellbeing

· Relationships

· Living in the Wider World

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