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Curriculum Overview

Our Curriculum at Saltley

Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum at Saltley Academy is built to inspire and challenge students, giving them opportunities to develop and become outstanding learners.  It is both broad and rich, underpinned by our principle of respecting the rights of all in our community, and meets individual needs, allowing all students to secure outstanding achievements.

We aim to provide our students with a breadth of knowledge, skills and experiences that enable them to reach their full potential academically, culturally, socially, morally and spiritually.  As a Rights Respecting School, Articles 29 (the goals of education) and 31 (the right to leisure, play and culture) are central to the aims of our curriculum.

At Saltley Academy students will:

  • Experience a broad and rich curriculum
  • Be literate and numerate
  • Learn to become active citizens
  • Learn and develop the Saltley Outstanding Learner Qualities needed for success in life
  • Prepare for and secure the foundations for future progression

Broad and rich curriculum

At KS3, the curriculum is broad, and students experience the full National Curriculum through each subject’s learning journey, giving them opportunities to explore each subject and become junior experts e.g. junior historians whilst learning the key knowledge and principles required.  Each learning journey has been carefully planned for all to make progress towards goals, sequenced to make sense and build on prior learning.  Subjects make links with each other which allows students to make further meaningful links with knowledge information and skills and gives them further opportunities to recall and practise this knowledge and skills.

Most students have a clear idea of subjects they enjoy and connect with the most and least by the middle of year 8 and offering choice at this stage engages students in their learning and leads to focused and improved learning and outcomes.  Students spend more time in chosen areas in Year 9, not necessarily to begin KS4 courses, but to develop a mastery of the skills required to succeed in the subject at GCSE.  We recognise that the curriculum journey in Key Stage Three in each subject is not standalone and that there are many links between subjects that we aim to build on.  This cross-curricular work along with our themed work in Dimension Days (see below) allows us to cover the skills and knowledge needed to prepare our students for Key Stage Four.  At KS4, the courses are carefully planned to ensure that the content is thoroughly revisited, which certainly prepares students for the eternal examinations at the end of the course.

Literacy and Numeracy

All students in years 7-11 have a 20 minute reading and literacy session, three times per week.  The aim is to develop our students into competent readers, who have a wide array of vocabulary but also to instil a love of reading into our students.  We know that students must be able to read well, in order to achieve well in GCSEs and that reading is an important life-long skill.  More able, habitual readers have the option to study Latin in this time, allowing a deeper knowledge of language to develop.

In addition, during form time, students have a weekly literacy or numeracy session, which aims to foster handwriting, spelling, grammar and punctuation skills, and develop numeracy knowledge and skills.

Outstanding Learner

The ten Outstanding Learner Qualities that students learn about and are expected to develop are embedded in each aspect of the school as well as in bespoke “Outstanding learner” lessons in year 7 and 8.  We see these qualities as integral to success and becoming life-long learners.

Respect                      – Show it to earn it

Independence            – Show your skills

Resilience                   – Show commitment

Communication        – Be understood

Innovation                  – Be creative

Leadership                 – Take responsibility

Reflection                  – Take time to evaluate

Knowledge                – Apply it

Collaboration            – Be a team

 

Curriculum Implementation

KS3

National curriculum content is carefully tracked to ensure that pupils have covered all areas of non-statutory KS4 subjects by the end of Year 8. Subject Leaders, who are experts in their subjects, carefully construct a curriculum that promotes a deep understanding of a wide range of topics.  Teachers plan learning that allows pupils to embed and recall knowledge through techniques such as interleaving of topics and spaced practice. 

The timetabled curriculum at Key Stage Three includes:

Subject

Number of lessons per fortnight

Maths

7

English

7

Science

7

History

3

Geography

3

Religious Education

3

Citizenship*

2

Spanish or Urdu**

3

Physical Education

3

Art

2

Drama

2

Music

2

Computing

2

Design Technology***

3

Outstanding Learner****

1

 

 


*Citizenship includes elements of Personal Social Health Economic Education

**Students choose to study Urdu or Spanish when they join in year 7

***Design Technology includes resistant materials, food, graphics and textiles taught on rotation

**** Outstanding Learner lessons include some elements of PSHE, financial education and careers education

 

In KS3 students are divided into X and Y band.  They are set by attainment in Maths and English and taught mixed ability in all other subjects.  In year 8 students are also set in Science.

 

Pathways

Just before Easter in year 8, students are taken through the options process.  Each student is carefully chosen and offered the right pathway and option choices based on current attainment data, KS2 scores, attitudes to learning and reading age.  Every student receives a one-to-one interview with a member of the senior leadership team or Head of House to discuss their allocated pathway and subsequent subject choices.  The Saltley Key Stage 4 non-compulsory subjects are:

GCSE Chemistry

GCSE Biology

GCSE Physics

GCSE Art & Design

GCSE Drama

GCSE Food preparation and Nutrition

GCSE Geography

GCSE History

GCSE Media Studies

GCSE Music

GCSE Photography

GCSE Physical Education

GCSE Spanish

GCSE Urdu

Cambridge National level 2 in Child Development

ASDAN Level 1 Award of Personal Effectiveness (AoPE) 

There are five pathways and our priority is to ensure students complete the pathway most appropriate for them.  We want to ensure every student has as many opportunities open to them as possible when they leave us.  We have a strong belief in EBACC subjects and believe that studying a humanities subject and a modern foreign language at GCSE will open doors for our students.   The pathways offer:

 

Red                 - Triple science (higher), History or Geography, MFL

Blue                 - Combined Science, History or Geography, MFL, option choice

Green              - Triple science (foundation), Humanity or MFL, option choic

Orange           - Combined Science, Humanity or MFL, option choice

Yellow            - Certificate in Science (incl. GCSE Chemistry), ASDAN, option choice

 

During year 9 there is some flexibility for students to change their chosen subjects within option blocks ensuring that they are satisfied with their option choices before beginning the full GCSE course at the end of the year.

 

 

KS4

As part of our commitment to a broad and engaging curriculum and one which prepares our students for life and future study, our core curriculum, which all students study and sit exams in, includes the following subjects:

  • GCSE English Language
  • GCSE Mathematics
  • GCSE RE
  • GCSE Citizenship
  • Computing Creative iMedia (Cambridge National Certificate)
  • GCSE Combined Science

 

with all students taking part in Core PE until the end of year 11.

 

The options are designed to stretch and challenge students and offer them a practical element to study from all areas of the curriculum. Within the option subjects, the academy offers a range of different accreditation routes including academic and vocational options (e.g. Creative iMedia, Asdan AoPE) This gives every pupil a broad and balanced curriculum, but still offers a flexibility to maximise the outcomes achieved by each individual. This model also maintains the widest possible choice for progression routes Post 16 as every pupil will have a greater range of subjects on which to choose future opportunities for education and training.  The academy’s strong links with local sixth form colleges helps ensure that a student’s option choices links to their career aspirations, ensuring they are not disadvantaged in any way through the subjects or pathway they choose.

At Key Stage 4 Dimension days also form part of our planned curriculum and allow students to learn about a variety of topics in a different way to normal lessons.  They include themed days, for example in year 10 Shakespeare : A Christmas Carol, which includes a performance and workshops with character role play and analysis.

All students take their GCSE in English Literature at the end of year 10.  This is a decision that has been taken in consultation with students and with their best interests in mind.  It allows students to experience completing one GCSE on it’s own, before completing the remaining 10 GCSEs at the end of year 11 and allows students to focus on one area of examined English at a time, although of course, lots of skills and knowledge are used for both Literature and Language at GCSE.

All students also take part in Core Physical Education lessons, and have access to additional sporting activity during break times and in after school clubs, which provides beyond the recommended two hours per week.

 

Timetabling principles

  • The school day begins with Registration in House areas and is followed by Book Club (reading for pleasure) or Assembly between Tuesday and Friday.  Monday is extended registration and includes a literacy activity. 
  • There are 5 timetabled lessons, with break between lesson 2 and lesson 3, and lunch between Lesson 3 and Lesson 4.
  • Double lessons after lunch at KS4 where possible minimise movement around the school, creating calm after the release of energy at lunchtime.
  • Core subjects will have a double lesson each week at KS4 to allow for the ease of assessment.

Curriculum Hours

Subject Hours per fortnight
English   9
Maths    9
Science  8
Computing  3
Options    5
CZ     2
RE    2
PE    2

At KS4 wherever possible in Maths, English and Science, the whole year group will be on at the same time.   This allows for targeted teaching and setting with the flexibility of movement between groups for certain topics and for assessments to take place at the same time.  It also gives HoDs added flexibility on group sizes.  There is no setting or streaming in other subjects and groups are taught mixed ability.  Where possible in certain option blocks, some subjects e.g. history are able to set students in an upper or lower attaining group where there is more than one group.

Curriculum Impact

At Saltley Academy, our curriculum will:

  • ensure that the sequence of learning builds on previous knowledge whilst supporting future progression.
  • lead to qualifications that are of worth for employers and for entry to further and higher education.
  • enable all to fulfil their potential.
  • meet the needs of students of all abilities.
  • develop students into outstanding learners and active, contributing and content citizens.
  • allow pupils to acquire an appreciation and respect for their own and other cultures.
  • prepare pupils to make informed choices at the end of KS3, KS4 and beyond.

 

Assessment

On arrival in year 7, students are given a target band to work towards from the following: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper.  Their band is determined using KS2 SATs scores and is linked to two GCSE grades.  In order for students to show they are making the right progress during year 7 and 8, they should continue to achieve their target band in each summative assessment.  The assessments have been planned for progression, so that the difficulty level of an assessment in Year 7 summer is higher than the assessment in year 7 autumn.  For example, a student achieving Gold in an assessment, who has a target band of Gold, is making expected progress.  It is not until students reach year 9 that they are given their GCSE target grade.

In year 7 and 8 summative assessments occur at the end of the Autumn Term and then again in the summer term.  This allows for true consolidation of themes and concepts and tests students on more than one of these, thus beginning the preparation for exams at the end of year 11.

In year 9, this pattern continues with the assessments beginning slightly earlier on the Autumn term to determine how well suited students are to their chosen subjects.  In year 9 students are given their individual target grade, instead of a target band.  As these are aspirational, targets are similar for each subject.  They are based on average KS2 scores.

In year 10 and 11 students have at least three summative assessments, which are recorded as GCSE grades.

Formative assessment occurs frequently in schemes and lessons.  Regular, low stakes testing e.g. retrieval practise during the Do Now and the reference to cross curricular links ensures that students embed knowledge into their long term memory.  Regular self and peer assessment takes place in lessons, and live marking from the teacher gives students immediate feedback on their work.   The feedback from formative assessments allows students to fill gaps in knowledge and hone their skills towards an improved mark in the summative assessment.

Parents receive full (with comments) or short (no comments) reports after each summative assessment.  All reports include an indication of the student’s behaviour and attitude to learning for each subject studied.

Target setting day occurs in October and is an opportunity for form tutors to hold a valuable, informative meeting with their tutees to discuss overall achievement both academically and in their development of the necessary skills to succeed and three targets are agreed upon.  Form tutors meet again with parents after summative assessments have been completed to discuss the progress made towards the targets set in the Autumn term.

Enrichment:

Saltley Academy is committed to a series of assemblies, special events in school and visits to ensure that all students are prepared for adult life as happy, successful citizens in modern Britain. This will include a programme of ‘Dimension Days’ to expand students’ learning experiences and special events, such as charities, our Christmas Assembly (in school) and our Grand Iftari (out of school time). The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students is important and our ‘Saltley Guarantee’ of experiences supports this as well as our academic curriculum.  Please see the form time and assembly programme and the outline of the Saltley Guarantee.   Included in this is also independent advice and guidance, careers education, and, in Year 10, one week of work experience. We also have extensive links with Post 16 providers, including Washwood Heath Academy’s sixth form, and universities.  Please see our Careers overview and Careers plan.

The Academy is also committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles and life choices by   developing our students’ ability to take sporting, leisure and cultural opportunities as part of their lives through extensive access to supervised activities through lunchtimes and after school. Our academy offers a range of after school clubs, as well as extensive revision sessions, which also take place on some Saturdays and during school holidays. Information on these is sent to specific students and their families when relevant.

Students also have the opportunity to achieve the Arts Award and we are working to ensure that this is possible, even if students do not opt for arts subjects at Key Stage Four.

We are committed to enhancing students’ learning experiences through creative projects with our partners, the arts group Stan’s Café. See the specific page for Saltley on their website: http://www.stanscafe.co.uk/project-saltley-academy.html

Following the publication of updated statutory guidance on Relationships, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) We have recently updated our policy on the deliver of this and Health Education.  This policy and the mapping of when and how elements are taught has been part of a consultation with students, parents, and staff to ensure we meet the needs of our students and fulfil the aims of the statutory guidance.

Curriculum Review

The curriculum is reviewed each year to ensure we are meeting the needs of our learners and equipping them with the skills needed to succeed.

Curriculum implementation is reviewed and quality assured through our departmental review process, which takes place biannually and includes student voice.  Discussions around the impact of the curriculum e.g. specific schemes of learning occur through line management and Middle Leader meetings once a half term.

The impact of the curriculum is always thoroughly reviewed in meetings with the Deputy Head Achievement & Curriculum and the Head of Academy and subject leaders during the exam results analysis meeting in September so that any improvements can be implemented and considered at the beginning of the academic year.

The curriculum hours and subjects offered are reviewed annually by the senior leadership team and the Academy Advisory Board.

Parents have opportunities to review and comment on the curriculum in the many parental and student surveys offered each year e.g. during parent days.

 

Latest News & Tweets

Latest News

Twitter

@saltleyacademy - 24 Jun
I've had an amazing morning talking about citizenship, equality and the future of Birmingham with students . Thanks to the school staff and trustees for arranging the visit! https://t.co/o7VIiurg3t
@saltleyacademy - 22 Jun
Information on a great community event on 16.07.2022 at Saltley Wellbeing Centre! https://t.co/E0F3tqQz3F
@saltleyacademy - 9 May
Saltley pupils having fun during a rewards trip in school. https://t.co/feC4kKYVKv
@saltleyacademy - 4 May
Advice for parents and carers on group chats. https://t.co/fy5UxnNgQV
@saltleyacademy - 29 Apr
England Cricketer Lauren Bell visited Saltley Academy today and gave a wonderful coaching session, as well as an insight into being a professional sportswomen.  https://t.co/QaM1Px95VY
@saltleyacademy - 28 Apr
Saltley Academy is hosting a Grand Iftaar, which includes live performances. Please join us today at 7:20, using the link below. https://t.co/VH7PYtL92e
@saltleyacademy - 4 Apr
We are delighted to announce that our 2022 Great Oracy Exhibition this year will take place in coordination with . We are so excited to be hosting this part conference/part festival on all things oracy! Tickets are officially on sale ➡️ https://t.co/TgQA4gRc5S https://t.co/EnbcAwPERd
@saltleyacademy - 23 Mar
@saltleyacademy - 23 Mar
@saltleyacademy - 8 Mar
Useful preparation tips on the GCSE maths paper, for both parents and students. https://t.co/9VNpvXkhai
@saltleyacademy - 8 Mar
Advice for parents and carers about the dangers of WhatsApp. https://t.co/6YM8zuIRbG
@saltleyacademy - 6 Mar
Online resources regarding E-Safety for parents and carers. https://t.co/vFDWg7O3Cz
@saltleyacademy - 3 Mar
Saltley Academy pupils meeting Chris Whitty on the 25th February 2022 https://t.co/8Be3UtSjWv
@saltleyacademy - 1 Feb
Information for parents about YouTube. Please check the parents section on the website for more details. https://t.co/uKalTc4EHE
@saltleyacademy - 24 Jan
Year 11 please find the link to your teams lessons in the ‘Year 11 Live Remote Learning’ document below: https://t.co/eI6pbYE2tx
@saltleyacademy - 15 Dec
One of our ex pupils Ibrahim Suleiman who is a boxing champion (64KG). Congratulations Ibrahim, for all your achievements. https://t.co/bYgG6ztPz8
@saltleyacademy - 10 Dec
Some of our amazing students are preparing to ‘hack’ a thorny health issue in Birmingham, alongside Our feedback session will be online and virtual this Tuesday . Join us, using this link: https://t.co/0J10tpIl9r
@saltleyacademy - 4 Dec
We would like to thank all the staff and students involved in the big sleep out! Thank you for your continuous support. We have attached the link below if you wish to donate. https://t.co/DalDnyowXr https://t.co/9LeVW8xACC
@saltleyacademy - 23 Nov
In celebration of youth action week join us this Friday, 26/11, 3-4pm for a review of our youth-led Asthma, our environment, and Youth Social Action project, featuring our students alongside fr https://t.co/41bJbZjGA3 https://t.co/rV1diXPBnJ
@saltleyacademy - 12 Nov
Such a honour to spend some time with students leading on the school's new tiny forest - backed by as part of the legacy. Real leadership on the race to zero carbon from our young citizens! https://t.co/oquZe2VL4U