What the curriculum is designed to do
At Newcastle Academy we have designed our curriculum with pupils’ learning at the centre. We recognise that a curriculum has to be broad, balanced and offer pupils opportunities to grow as individuals as well as learners in a caring and supportive environment through a range of subjects at Key Stage 3 and 4 that encompasses both academic and vocational subjects.
Through our Quality First Principles, we aim to ensure pupils enjoy learning and feel prepared for life after school. We also intend to offer our pupils new and exciting experiences through extra–curricular activities that are designed to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem.
We recognise that pupils should be challenged in their schooling; learning from failures and celebrating successes. We intend for our curriculum to be empowering, enabling pupils to develop their both their academic and cultural capital through interpersonal skills, creativity and independence, as well as promoting spiritual, moral and social responsibilities. Our aim is to ensure that all pupils are challenged from entry in Year 7 to their point of leaving the academy in Year 11 to pursue relevant and aspirational post-16 qualifications.
How Newcastle Academy intends to deliver the curriculum
Key Stage 3 Curriculum
At Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9), all students follow the National Curriculum by studying English, Mathematics, Science, Art, Geography, History, ICT, Languages (French), Performing Arts (Music and Drama), Physical Education, Religious Education, PSHE, Character Curriculum and Technology. The Key Stage 3 curriculum develops a strong foundation for these subject areas, strengthening skills and building knowledge required for further study, whilst striving to develop a passion and enthusiasm for learning.
Key Stage 4 Curriculum
Currently Key Stage 4 is introduced in Year 10 however, this was introduced for our 2023 cohort. Our Options process is designed to allow all pupils access to a wide range of GCSE and Vocational courses. The Ebacc curriculum is available to those pupils who wish to pursue this, but for the current Key Stage 4 cohort is not mandatory. This has been designed to reflect both the needs of our pupils and the local environment. Pupils are supported at an individual level to help them choose the subjects that are right for them. All pupils study English, Mathematics, Science and all pupils take part in timetabled physical education. Pupils are also able to select from a selection of courses offered by our Trust partner to further broaden the possible experiences available to all our pupils. No pupils are prevented from accessing these courses.
As briefly mentioned above, we intend to deliver the curriculum through a variety of outlined in our Quality First Principles. Below, we have outlined how we intend to deliver this promise. We promote equal opportunities to all of our pupils in line with the Equality Act 2010 throughout our practices.
Our staff value the different ways in which pupils learn and plan lessons to account for these differences, taking into account the academies’ Quality First Teaching principals, this includes the use of PSHE days (drop down days). We encourage teachers to make cross-curricular links where possible within their lesson plans, so that pupils can draw upon knowledge from different subjects and understand how each topic plays a part in everyday life.
Teachers use different learning resources to teach core content, e.g. educational videos, guest speakers and ICT lessons. By using different techniques, we intend on keeping pupils engaged with learning and accommodate pupils who learn differently to their peers.
A full list of the subjects available to our pupils in each year can be found below.
Various assessment methods are used at Newcastle Academy to identify an individual pupil’s strengths and areas for development; to assist in identifying the need for intervention; and to help track progress over time. In addition, assessment helps provide information for parents, pupils and teachers on the standards that a pupil has met
The Academy follows an assessment cycle process during the academic year. There will be 4 cycles, each culminating in a collection point (see calendar). During these cycles staff are expected to follow the suggested plan, teach, assess cycle with their groups. providing a consistent pattern for students.
The designing of assessments is obviously key to this process. The content of assessments is designed to allow key skills/knowledge/content to be measured. The outcomes of this assessment influence curriculum/interventions/differentiation etc. Assessments are designed with a clear purpose in mind and this produces data which drives decisions about learning.
Further information about the Assessment Cycle can be found in each Faculties Quality First Curriculum Handbook as well as the Quality First Curriculum Handbook. These handbooks are designed to inform staff, pupils, parents etc of the assessment process within that particular Faculty, including Assessment Topics, Marking procedures, standardization process etc.
At Newcastle Academy pupils learn in a safe, supportive environment where they develop the confidence, self-esteem and teamwork skills to be effective learners and become active, purposeful and responsible citizens of the future. Pupils are equipped for their futures in a rapidly-changing world, recognising the importance of communication for dialogue and understanding. We value, celebrate and build on pupils’ religious and cultural heritage and encourage mutual respect for those with different faiths and beliefs.
All pupils are given the opportunity to learn the benefits of physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles, by participating in high quality Personal, Social and Health Education, including sex and relationships education, through a discrete PSHE programme. These discrete sessions are supported and complemented by a wealth of enrichment activities and the school’s comprehensive system of pastoral support. PSHE is one way in which we support the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of pupils and promote fundamental British values.
We follow the school’s Safeguarding Policy in full at all times (please see ‘Safeguarding Policy’).
Extra-curricular activities: We provide a variety of extra-curricular activities for pupils that enhance their learning experience. The activities range from after–school clubs, to educational trips and visits – a list of the extra-curricular activities available for each year group is available below. Extra-curricular activities are designed to enhance pupils’ learning experience, form personal connections between pupils and their peers, and teach skills essential for life after school.
How Newcastle Academy involves parents, pupils and the local community in curriculum planning and delivery
Our school values the input of its pupils, parents and the local community with regards to the planning and delivery of the curriculum. We believe pupils get a well-rounded education if everyone is involved in shaping it. Parents are invited to attend our half-termly Parents forum where all aspects of the school are discussed. Pupil Voice activities are carried out on a regular basis to involve the pupils in their learning and to gauge how the feel they learn best.
We engage with the wider community by ensuring there are opportunities for pupils to participate in community projects, eg Duke of Edinburgh and embed each project within the curriculum into the relevant subjects. This shows pupils the value of protecting and being involved in their community and establishes a link between the theories they learn in the classroom to practical examples in real life.
How the curriculum benefits pupils’ learning and personal development
Our curriculum has been designed for a range of learners, providing equal opportunities for all – by doing this, pupils will benefit in the following ways:
- Learning how to lead safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
- Understanding that failure is part of the road to success
- Being rewarded for academic successes
- Being supported with their next stages in education or training and feeling prepared for life after school
- Becoming responsible individuals who contribute to community living and the environment
- Achieving to the best of their ability
- Acquiring a wealth of knowledge and experience
- Becoming critical thinkers
- Finding a sense of belonging to the school and its community
- Learning how to cooperate with their peers and respect one another inside and outside the classroom.