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Curriculum

The curriculum at Wayland Academy is designed with long term learning in mind, students should be able to take what they learn into adulthood and use it to provide them with opportunities to succeed in life. The curriculum takes students beyond what they already know and enables them to be more socially mobile. It ensures that students acquire knowledge that they wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.

Our curriculum is based upon the principle that all students will acquire an understanding of their subjects and gain mastery of a body of subject-specific knowledge that we have defined. This will provide capacity for students to learn even more and develop their understanding.

Our aim is that no matter what a child’s social disadvantage or prior learning, students will be able to access knowledge. An example of this is our work with Accelerated Reader in Year 7 to 9, we are fully aware of the links between reading and accessing the curriculum.

Every student has equal access to the curriculum and their progress is rooted in what we expect them to know at each stage of their education. Just like our vision, we want students to know the ‘Big IDEAs’ in subjects and we expect teachers to plan learning for every lesson in this way. We see the importance of making the curriculum relevant and meaningful to students, that way it becomes transferable and allows them to build links across subject areas.

When teachers plan their lessons, leaders have an expectation that they demonstrate not only what they are delivering but, ‘how’. Subject-specific vocabulary is emphasised in all lessons. Formative and summative assessment is used to capture student progress throughout the academic year. Gaps in knowledge, skills and depth of understanding are identified, informing future lesson planning, as well as subject specific curriculum design. Heads of Faculty and Lead Professionals are given a level of autonomy to structure and plan the teaching of their subject as they have the specialist knowledge and expertise.

“Inspectors will take a rounded view of the quality of education that a school provides to all its pupils, including the most disadvantaged pupils, the most able pupils and pupils with SEND. Inspectors will consider the school’s curriculum, which is the substance of what is taught with a specific plan of what pupils need to know in total, and in each subject.”

“Inspectors will consider the extent to which the school’s curriculum sets out the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each stage (intent). They will also consider the way that the curriculum selected by the school is taught and assessed in order to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply that knowledge as skills (implementation). Finally, inspectors will consider the outcomes that pupils achieve as a result of the education they have received (impact).”

The curriculum sets out the aims of a programme of education. It also sets out the structure for those aims to be implemented, including the knowledge, skills and understanding to be gained at each stage. It enables the evaluation of pupils’ knowledge and understanding against those expectations.

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Intent

In evaluating the school’s educational intent, inspectors will primarily consider the curriculum leadership provided by school and subject leaders.

  • The school’s curriculum is rooted in the solid consensus of the school’s leaders about the knowledge and skills that pupils need to take advantage of the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. In this way, it can powerfully address social disadvantage.
  • It is clear what end points the curriculum is building towards, and what pupils will need to be able to know and do at those end points.
  • The school’s curriculum is planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before, and towards those defined end points.
  • The curriculum reflects the school’s local context by addressing typical gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills.
  • The curriculum remains as broad as possible for as long as possible, and pupils are able to study a strong academic core of subjects, such as those offered by the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).
There is high academic/vocational/technical ambition for all pupils, and the school does not offer disadvantaged pupils or pupils with SEND a reduced curriculum.

Implementation

In evaluating the implementation of the curriculum, inspectors will primarily evaluate how the curriculum is taught at subject and classroom level.

Research and inspection evidence suggest that the most important factors in how the curriculum is taught and assessed are that:

  • teachers have expert knowledge of the subjects that they teach and, where they do not, they are supported to address these gaps so that pupils are not disadvantaged by ineffective teaching
  • teachers enable pupils to understand key concepts, presenting information clearly and promoting appropriate discussion
  • teachers check pupils’ understanding effectively, identifying and correcting misunderstandings
  • teachers ensure that pupils embed key concepts in their long-term memory and apply them fluently
  • the subject curriculum that classes follow is designed and delivered in a way that allows pupils to transfer key knowledge to long-term memory; it is sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards defined end points
  • teachers use assessment to check pupils’ understanding in order to inform teaching
  • Teachers use assessment to check pupils’ understanding in order to inform teaching, and to help pupils embed and use knowledge fluently and develop their understanding, and not simply memorise disconnected facts.
     
    This must not be reduced to, or confused with, simply memorising facts.

Impact

When inspectors evaluate the impact of the education provided by the school, their focus will primarily be on what pupils have learned.

Inspection experience and research show that the most important factors to consider are that:

  • A well-constructed, well-taught curriculum will lead to good results because those results will be a reflection of what pupils have learned. There need be no conflict between teaching a broad, rich curriculum and achieving success in examinations and tests
  • Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND acquire the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
  • National assessments and examinations are useful indicators of pupils’ outcomes, but they only represent a sample of what pupils have learned. Inspectors will balance outcomes with their first-hand assessment of pupils’ work.
  • All learning builds towards an end point. Learners are being prepared for their next stage of education, training or employment at each stage of their learning. Inspectors will consider whether pupils are ready for the next stage by the point they leave the school or provision that they attend.

If you would like to find out more about the curriculum our Academy follows, please contact us on 01953 881514 or office@waylandacademy.org.uk