Park Lane Academy

Curriculum Rationale 

 

‘The totality of student experiences that occur in their educational Journey.’

(Concept of curriculum, G. Angadi)

Mission Statement

A Park Lane Academy, we welcome everyone into our learning family. We are committed to ensuring everyone in our academy community meets their potential, instilling a culture of pride, respect and ambition for all.

We work together to provide all students with high quality teaching, exceptional support and guidance. We enable all to develop and grow into successful, responsible and resilient young people with the educational outcomes, attitudes, knowledge and skills to make a difference.

Vision for the PLA Curriculum 

Everything we do at Park Lane Academy is designed to support all our students to ‘be the best versions of themselves’. Our curriculum offer is both rich and engaging; providing a curriculum journey that is student focussed, relevant to our context and needs of the locality. Our curriculum supports students to take pride in their learning, is designed to respect and fully meet both our student’s needs and their aspirations and encourage ambition from the moment they start at PLA.   

 

In line with our Academy Aims, the curriculum we deliver develops knowledge, understanding and behaviours for learning that means students are both motivated and equipped with the knowledge, skills and ability required to be successful in the future and into the world of work.

The curriculum we have developed provides learning, opportunities and experiences that will equalize the life chances of our students. Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural learning is at the heart of everything we do.

 

Curriculum Aims

At Park Lane Academy we place our students at the centre of everything we do.  To this end our curriculum is designed to meet the following aims:

A curriculum that recognises and fully meets the needs of the students we serve.

All students including Disadvantaged/SEND will make strong progress irrespective of starting points because our curriculum is specifically designed to support the context of the students we serve. (55% of Pupils identified as Pupil Premium, 30% of Students identified as SEND, 7% EHCP and all vulnerable group data approximately double the National Average with a high student inward mobility).

 

  • A literacy focused curriculum including additional literacy lessons and intervention at KS3 to support the reading age gaps apparent upon entry. Studies show how children who are weak readers, will struggle as much in Mathematics and Science at GCSE as they do in English and the Arts. Therefore, it is our belief that by focusing on reading and vocabulary development, we will remove the barriers that learners may face, ensuring all students can access learning with independence throughout their time at Park Lane Academy and beyond

 

  • A broad and balanced Key Stage 3 curriculum where students are exposed to and supported in all aspects of learning to promote interest and engagement. The curriculum model is structured so that all elements of the National Curriculum are delivered progressively, building on prior learning from KS2, deepening knowledge that can then be applied using skills taught.

 

  • A varied and relevant Key Stage 4 curriculum that provides both academic and vocational pathways designed to support and engage our older students, broadening options available post-16 and provide effective preparation for future careers. Our curriculum design at KS4 also supports the current context of the academy, meaning we can better meet the curriculum requirements of learners joining us in KS4.

 

  • A curriculum offer that prioritizes personal development and wellbeing. We recognize our responsibility for ensuring our students develop the social skills and cultural capital needed for future success. We will create citizens who are able to contribute positively to their local community now, enabling our students to make a positive difference to society in the future. Our students will learn about respect, responsibility and how to keep themselves and others safe. Our expectations in terms of high standards of behaviour and engagement will enable students to thrive in a culture of mutual respect.We will develop individual interests and abilities by providing learning opportunities and experiences that we believe every young person should have irrespective of background.

 

A curriculum that promotes our core values of pride, respect, and ambition:

Pride – Student pride is important for two reasons. Firstly, pride indicates that students are a part of the learning process, not merely observers. Secondly, students who have pride in their work and in their school tend to be more involved in school and earn better grades. Our curriculum ensures students are proud of their work, proud of their classroom, and proud of each other.

RespectRespect is defined as having due regard for the wishes, feelings and rights of others. Respect is evidenced by allowing yourself and others to do and be their best. At Park Lane Academy we offer a mutually respectful atmosphere, modelling respectful behaviour so students can thrive during their time with us.

Ambition - Ambition drives students to advance and accomplish their goals. Ambition comes from development of self-esteem and higher power of visualization of the future.  When students are ambitious more things will seem possible for them.  We strive to instil ambition from their very first day at Park Lane Academy allowing all our students the motivation and strength to achieve their goals.

 

Curriculum overview

At Park Lane Academy we offer a 5-year educational experience, that includes a 3-year Key Stage 3 and 2-year Key Stage 4. Our KS3 curriculum provides breadth, ensuring full curriculum entitlement and builds on the skills and knowledge developed at KS2 through a progressive curriculum sequence that develops strong foundations in knowledge and skills required for moving into more in-depth study at KS4.

Key-stage 3

At Park lane Academy we deliver the full National Curriculum at Key-stage 3 allowing our students to experience all aspects of a rounded education.

We enable all students to embrace a lifelong journey of learning and personal development through our literacy and SMSC offer.  We also incorporate cultural capital encouraging our students to understand the world around them, this means that our curriculum will positively impact on every student in our care, including disadvantaged learners.

The main gaps in learning faced by our disadvantaged students include:

  • - Attendance.
  • - Social, Emotional and Mental Health.
  • - Literacy and numeracy skills.
  • - Access to extended learning opportunities.
  • - Parental Engagement.

 

To bridge these gaps, we offer Personal Development Education (PDE) lessons three times a week during form time, enrichment sessions and additional PDE drop-down days focused on topics relevant to safety and wellbeing.  We also deliver Relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education using subject specialists in curriculum time.  According to the Secretary of State ‘These subjects represent a huge opportunity to help our children and young people develop. The knowledge and attributes gained will support their own, and others’, wellbeing and attainment and help young people to become successful and happy adults who make a meaningful contribution to society.’ 

In KS3 we place emphasis on the development of basic skills, particularly in literacy.  Young people who develop reading skills early in their lives by reading frequently add to their vocabularies over time. In The Matthew Effect, Daniel Rigney explains: “While good readers gain new skills very rapidly, and quickly move from learning to read to reading to learn, poor readers become increasingly frustrated with the act of reading, and try to avoid reading where possible.  Our ‘reading for Success’ lessons strive to provide the confidence for our students to access the world beyond our school gates and ‘prosper in the changing world they inhabit’ (Dr Tony Breslin).

Key-stage 4

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a combination of five GCSE subjects that are all academic in nature and comprises of subjects that are considered essential to a route into higher education.  Pupils who wish to gain the English Baccalaureate (this is open to all students) will study English, Mathematics, Separate Sciences, a Modern Foreign Language (Spanish or French) as well as a Humanities subject (History or Geography).  They will then have a choice of one other option subject, including vocational qualifications (BTECs).

 

The students not selecting the EBacc pathway will still follow the National Curriculum, set by the government; requiring pupils to study a broad range of core subjects, including compulsory examined subjects of Mathematics, English and Science along with options chosen from a range of academic and vocational qualifications on offer.

All students, irrespective of pathway selected, study none-examined subjects of Physical Education, Religious Education, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education and Relationships Health and Sex Education.

As a small school, we have used research to develop a dynamic KS4 curriculum that increases the number of qualification and opportunities for all our students; by increasing the breadth of our curriculum.

 

Through provision of GCSEs and vocational qualifications studied over the course of one or two years, (depending on the qualification) and the mixing of year 10 and 11, in some option groups, we have increased the opportunities for all our KS4 students. This will allow students the opportunity to study subjects they have an interest in, as well as supporting their career development pathways, empowering students to achieve their ambitions and transition successfully to their chosen post-16 route.

 

Preparation for Post-16

We offer a comprehensive careers curriculum to ensure that students are well prepared for the next stage of their education and onto a career.

To encourage our students to embrace their post-16 options we provide all students with interview training provided by local business leaders who interview students, so they gain valuable experience in the interview process.  We also teach students how to write effective CVs and offer students the opportunity to attend a variety of post-16 career fairs.  We hold an annual apprenticeship day and encourage students to complete work experience so they can sample working life and make decisions based upon real-life experience.  Finally, we support all our students to ‘aim higher’ with regular university trips and alumni talks from our previous students.  These activities expose our students to the world beyond Park Lane Academy and the variety of choices they have after a successful educational journey with us.

 

If you wish to find out more about the curriculum at Park Lane Academy please contact the Academy on 01422 362215 or Mr Ansell (Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Assessment) at ansellm@parklane.org.uk