Park Lane Academy

Curriculum Rationale 2020-21

The principals of our three secondary schools have consolidated their vision for

learning and teaching to formulate five core values:

¨ An environment that is safe, nurturing and inclusive which allow children to flourish

¨ Empowering all children with the skills and personal qualities to be successful learners

¨ Relationships -knowing and valuing what every child brings to the classroom

¨ Stretching thinking and performance

¨ An enriching learning experience within and beyond the classroom to foster a love of learning


Learning & Teaching

All lessons are focussed and planned around a key question which the content of the lesson aims to answer. In order to do this, all Park Lane lessons follow the SPARK initiative which consists of a 5 part metacognitive approach to the lesson planning structure.

Skills development builds upon developing basic skills: through literacy, numeracy or exam practice.

Promoting Thought allows pupils to think outside the box and link their learning together.

Active learning is when the main content of the lesson is taught and skills are practised and knowledge is embedded.

Resilience Time is a period of quiet time in which students work independently of peers and staff to show their understanding of the content delivered. This allows staff to monitor progress and plan the next steps in learning.

Knowledge Consolidation is the time when the learning that has happened in the classroom is consolidated ready for home learning and the next lesson.

All our lessons incorporate low stakes testing activities. This allows students to showcase what they have learned in a non-challenging way. This might be through games or competitions.

Retrieval activities are also included in lessons to ensure that pupils are constantly revisiting previous work to develop memory technique and make links in the learning being done.

Focussed and targeted questioning in all lessons is also used to ensure that all students are given an opportunity to verbalise their learning at the appropriate level.

Home Learning is set in all years for all subjects; 20 minutes per subject each week at Key Stage 3 and 30 minutes per subject per week at Key Stage 4. A Home Learning Hub is staffed each evening in school for pupils who find doing this work at home difficult.



     Park Lane Academy Intent for the Curriculum


Key Themes Key Values
Positive Contribution to Society Pride
Aspirations for all – belief, opportunity Respect
Love of learning and reading Ambition

Park Lane has a three-year KS3. This has been established in order to secure a deep and rich depth of knowledge and skills and prepare students for an aspirational, challenging KS4. Our two year KS4 enables our students to experience a curriculum that is genuinely broad and balanced, “untaught and taught”, and one which considers the “totality of the experience of the child” to enable them to achieve their aspirations when they leave Park Lane.  (Adapted from Mary Myatt, 2018, The Curriculum; Gallimaufry to Coherence).Throughout the curriculum, our students will have regular opportunities for enriching learning experiences, aiming to foster curiosity and happiness through ‘real world’ relevance locally, nationally, and globally whilst encompassing all aspects of safeguarding themselves and all our Park Lane community. 

Our inclusive curriculum is personalised to the needs of our students, and regardless of ability, each student is supported but also challenged in their learning.  Students with specific special educational needs and disabilities, as with all our students, will be monitored closely and if required, different approaches to provision will be implemented to enhance the learning experience.  Assessment will be constructive and purposeful, implemented in a variety of ways in order to increase the value of feedback.  Assessment will judge whether the learning has been mastered, to truly ensure that skills have been learned and knowledge is deepened in long term memory.  Assessment will be undertaken through live conversations, questioning, low stakes testing, planned formal assessment and students will be taught how to judge their learning for themselves. 

Park Lane is steadfastly committed to reviewing the impact of the curriculum to ensure it continues to be flexible, ambitious but also creative in its design, to provide the best learning experiences for the students in Park Lane Academy, now and into the future.  The curriculum responds to the aspirations and choices made by individuals but also the requirements of the local and national labour market research, to ensure students are equipped with the academic and vocational knowledge and skills to enable them to be competitive in the employment market and be a positive contributor to society in general. Close liaison with primary schools and post-16 provision ensures our curriculum supports the transition and maximises the learning and experiences of each student.

The curriculum has a range of subjects and through planned programmes of study, pedagogy, assessment, and a clear journey of learning, each subject teaches powerful knowledge, powerful vocabulary and provides links in learning across other subjects, to ensure students learn well.  In addition, the teaching of Character, Equality, citizenship, British values (fostering interest in politics, human rights, democracy, and the law), spiritual, moral, social, and cultural education both inside and outside the classroom, contributes to our students becoming positive, active participants in modern society. This will be reflected in our physical environment, through assemblies, through subjects, through PDE (Personal Development Education), and through the way we work with our students to develop a strong culture of acceptance.

The sense of ‘belonging and inclusivity’ is important to us at Park Lane Academy, and through strong pastoral support, engagement with our community, promotion of tolerance and understanding we would like our students to have an active awareness of the changing world around them, how they fit into it and how they protect it. 

Park Lane is committed to the provision of literacy intervention, recognising research which proves that knowing more words correlates to achieving higher grades in KS4 qualifications, but also the larger the vocabulary size, the higher the likelihood of achieving higher paid employment in the future. All students in KS3 whose reading age is more than two years below their chronological age will be placed on one of two discrete literacy improvement programmes, in addition to every lesson being a lesson of ‘literacy’ as every teacher at Park Lane is a ‘literacy’ teacher.  Across each subject, explicit teaching of the etymology of words, cross-curricular use of words and intentional increase of exposure to new vocabulary and new texts will be at the heart of each programme of study.   We want our students to say “I love reading” and have the background knowledge to assist them in making connections to new learning. 

The ‘interconnectedness of learning’ is key to increasing depth of knowledge, making knowledge ‘sticky’ and each aspect of Academy life contributes to a student’s learning ‘story’.  This story enables learning which can be applied across contexts and creates a schemata in a student’s brain which is compounded by high-quality memorable enrichment experiences inside and outside the classroom. 

Emphasis is placed on the refinement of work to encourage resilience and pride.  Celebration of success will not be artificial, but instead high profile and with real audiences where applicable. Exemplar work will be on display to share high expectations of standards.  

Academic rigour provided at Park Lane will also include the learning of ‘soft’ skills which are required by employers in all types of employment.  The following strands will weave throughout our ‘character education’ curriculum to enable our students to be ‘life and work-ready’: critical thinking; leadership; collaboration; organisation; responsibility; independent thinking; self-presentation skills; resilience. In addition, Park Lane Academy is committed to annual provision for all students of interview preparation and mock interviews with local employers to increase employment opportunities.


Courses delivered in KS3

Courses delivered in KS4


English Language

English Literature




French or Spanish

Computer Science

Art, Design and Technology

Physical Education

Personal Development

Sports Studies

Creative Media

Religious Education



English Language

English Literature

Combined Science

Triple Science





Creative Media

Fine Art

Fine Art: Sculpture

Art, Craft, Design


Hospitality and Catering

Sports Studies

Personal Development

Religious Education


The curriculum is vital to the progress and achievement of your son/daughter.  If you wish to find out more about the curriculum at Park Lane Academy please contact the Academy on 01422 362215 or Mrs D Otterburn (Assistant Principal for Provision) at