Curriculum Rationale

King’s Lynn Academy

Curriculum Rationale

We believe that all students at King’s Lynn Academy are entitled to experience a vibrant, challenging, relevant, engaging and appropriate curriculum across their five years at KLA.  In designing our curriculum, we take careful note of all statutory expectations and guidance from the Department for Education, as well as taking very special care to ensure that what we teach, how we teach and the demands we make of our students reflect the ethos, culture and core values of our academy.

This curriculum rationale forms part of our 2017-18 review of curriculum effectiveness and appropriateness.  It reflects our determination that all students, regardless of background or prior attainment, share an entitlement to study a broad curriculum grounded in academic rigour.   It also takes cognisance of the fact that new GCSE specifications contain significantly more content and are much more challenging, and that our students must be supported to attain as highly as possible in these.  Finally, our curriculum must nurture a lifelong love of learning, and prepare students for the world that they will face when they leave school, including developing employability skills.

For the avoidance of doubt the following principles underpin our proposed curriculum for 2018-19 prior to a full review of the curriculum to be undertaken by Eastern Multi-Academy Trust for the years beyond;

  • That most students are supported to study the full suite of EBacc subjects throughout their time at KLA. Where deemed necessary, individual students may be disapplied from either or both of humanities or MFL subjects, but this will only be done where there is a clear need.  Our expectation is that by 2020 70% of our students will take GCSE in all elements of the EBacc.  Currently 5% of pupils leave with this important clutch of qualifications, underlining why this change is so necessary.
  • We place great weight on the importance of creativity in our curriculum, and all students must be allowed sufficient time to study art, music, drama, catering and design technology in KS3 to make sure that they are allowed time to develop their skills in these areas. Currently, owing to a late teacher retirement, we are currently looking for a new teacher of music, and until we find that excellent colleague we have temporarily removed music from the KS3 curriculum.
  • We will continue to work in close partnership with vocational partners, including the local FE college, to do all that we can to offer appropriate vocational access at KS4.
  • We believe that the perception of the ‘divide’ between Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 has become an unwelcome and unnecessary one. Our recent rewriting of curriculum programmes of study for all subjects has made clear to us that teaching and learning at KS3 needs to properly link to the demands of GCSE study, and this has been central in our thinking.  In addition, we are acutely aware of the need to ‘raise our game’ in planning learning pathways in Year 7, to ensure we properly challenge and build on students’ success at primary school.  These points have led to us devising programmes of study for all subjects that are designed as single five year programmes, rather than two separate key stages.  What is crucial in our model is that sufficient Guided Learning Hours (GLH) are given to foundation subjects in KS3 to allow for meaningful study that provides a solid basis for making option choices.
  • We currently ask students to make their GCSE option choices at the end of Year 8. This provides sufficient time for students to cover the GCSE specification content in enough depth to be well-prepared to succeed.  In addition, this model fits with those other schools with whom we work in partnership to offer a wider range of GCSE option subjects, as well as with the local FE college who run 3-year Level 2 courses that we access currently in Engineering, Hair & Beauty, Construction and Uniform Services.  However as core knowledge accumulate faster in KS3, we will keep this under review for subsequent years and it is entirely possible that we will in time move to a more traditional KS3/KS4 arrangement.
  • As a small secondary school we will continue to embrace cross-site opportunities for our pupils to access courses at our sister academy) King Edward VII Academy) situated opposite our site. Both schools have aligned timetable arrangements and currently our students can access courses in Ancient History, Latin, Computing and music at KES.  We also offer a voluntary extended school day at KLA for students to extend their learning, attend booster classes or study individual topics in depth.
  • The teaching of reading, writing, oracy and numeracy are not considered at KLA to be solely the responsibility of the English and Maths faculties. Curriculum planning in all subjects must address these key areas in all phases explicitly, and we will expect these skills to be taught in a consistent manner, following our agreed policies.
  • The teaching of PHSE, SMSC, citizenship (including modern British culture and values) should be taught explicitly within our curriculum, by a dedicated specialist, reflecting the important place this study holds for us.
  • We define ‘curriculum’ as both that which is taught and how it is taught. As such, the role played by our assessment protocols, and the link that assessment has to curriculum planning is considered important.  The explicit teaching of knowledge, assessment objectives, and specification content is a key role for teachers, while not reducing the curriculum to an ‘exam factory laundry list’.   Therefore curriculum planning must take account of trust-wide assessment points and GCSE specifications to enable all students to succeed.

Proposed draft KLA curriculum map for 2018-19 (please note this may be subject to change for staffing reasons)

KS3 (each lesson 1 hour)

 

English Maths Science History Geography MFL PE Art Perf

Arts

Food Tech RM PHSE (Inc RE)
4 4 4 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
Total lesson entitlement in KS3 (hours)*
312 312 312 156 156 156 156 78 78 78 78 78

*KS3 39 weeks per year, 2 years, (78 weeks total)

KS4 (each lesson 1 hour)

English Maths Science Humanity MFL PE Opt 1 Opt 2 PHSE
5 4 5 2 2 2 2 2 1
Total lesson entitlement in KS4 (hours)*
540 448 540 216 216 216 216 216 108

KS4 39 weeks per year, 2 years and 30 weeks Year 11 (108 weeks total)