We are constantly developing our 'Hearts and Minds' curriculum, which we aim to be interesting and relevant to our pupils. We use a flexible approach to ensure that we can respond to unexpected events and the interests of our children.
The Reception curriculum at our school follows statutory and non-statutory guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The educational aims of the Reception curriculum are based around the four guiding principles of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2014):
- every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
- children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
- children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and
- children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
We build on these principles through our Year 1 curriculum, which follows the requirements as set out in the National Curriculum (2014) and the Locally Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education.
In planning our curriculum we consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in our care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development and across all subjects. This information also enables us to ensure that we achieve the right balance between activities led by children and those led or guided by adults, enabling all pupils to make good progress.
In Key Stage One, we support children's development as independent learners through an approach to enable pupils to self-select their depth of challenge, supported by adults where necessary in order to ensure all pupils are suitably challenged to achieve their potential. Pupils learn about their stages of learning:
Apprentice - the stage when we are learning something new or are in the early stages of developing knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence
Skilled - the stage where we have a reasonably secure understanding and are able to start applying our knowledge, skills and understanding to start to reason and solve problems
Teacher - when we have a very secure understanding and are able to develop that further by teaching others and by working at a very deep level.
These depths of challenge are reflected in our assessment procedures which are focused on pupils understanding where they have strengths, where there may be gaps in their skills or understanding and what they can do to develop further.
Read about our exciting Primary curriculum here: Primary Curriculum
Teaching of Reading and Phonics
Every day in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, children have a fast paced opportunity to develop their understanding of letters and sounds. Our phonics teaching is interactive, fast and fun. We use the Department for Education document, ‘Letters and Sounds’, as the basis for our phonics teaching, using 'Floppy's Phonics' and the multi-sensory resource ‘Jolly Phonics’. Children learn phonemes (the sounds letters make) and graphemes (the way sounds are written). Children learn about grapheme-phoneme correspondences, in other words they develop understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words and that this underpins their reading and spelling of all words. Our pupils learn how the alphabet code can sometimes be unusual through learning about common exception words - you may have heard of these as 'tricky' words. Letters of the alphabet can make sounds in unusual ways, for example 's' in sugar makes a /sh/ sound.
Learn more about how we teach reading and phonics by following this link: Reading and Phonics
At The Halifax Academy we pride ourselves on delivering a curriculum which is engaging, challenging and appropriate for all students. We offer a two year Key Stage 3 in years 7 and 8 and a three year Key Stage 4 in years 9 – 11.
Year 7 and 8 Curriculum
The curriculum establishes a ‘launch pad’ for future success at The Halifax Academy and beyond. It builds upon the experiences of year 6 students whilst also introducing them to the exciting, wider world of our secondary curriculum.
Our curriculum in this foundation stage emphasises the key aspects of our ethos; hearts, minds and communication (as outlined in our vision and values).
The curriculum provides:
- High quality teaching in English, Mathematics and Science
- Separate lessons which will develop the core skills of Reading, Writing, Communication and Numeracy
- A variety of interesting and engaging lessons delivered by high quality staff in: Humanities – Religious Studies, Geography and History; Personal and Physical Education; Art and Design; Modern Foreign Languages; Music and Drama.
We also deliver an ACCELERATOR programme designed for students who were significantly below nationally agreed standards in English and Maths when they arrived in Year 7. These students are taught as a group by specialist teachers who focus on improving the core skills that students require to make progress across the curriculum.
All students will be monitored and assessed on their progress and achievement; contribution to and participation in school life; behaviour, attendance and punctuality through the KS3 Foundation Guarantee. Students graduate in Year 8 with an award that recognises their success in their first two years in the secondary phase. Read more information about the guarantee here.
Where necessary the school will intervene to ensure all students are achieving to their full potential.
Year 9 and Beyond
At the end of year 8 students will be guided towards different pathways depending on their personal strengths, interests, preferred ways of working and future ambitions. There are several different pathways available: Crimson, Red, Green, Blue, and Purple. Some pathways offer traditional academic subjects whilst others are characterised by more vocational courses which are set in the world of work. This allows us to offer as wide a range of courses to as many students as possible. These routes are not exclusive of each other and sometimes pupils will find themselves in groups with students from other coloured pathways.
In years 9, 10 and 11 all students study:
- English – All students will study English Literature in addition to English Language
- Science – Combined Science or Separate Sciences - Physics, Chemistry and Biology
- PPE – Personal and Physical Education
- Religious Education
As well as these subjects students presently have the option to choose from a range of examination courses to meet their interests and career aspirations. These include: Spanish, German, Geography, History, RE, Health and Social Care, Business Studies, ICT, Resistant Materials, PE, Drama, Art and Design.
For further information about the different pathways available to students, please click on the following link: Key Stage 4 Options Booklet
The curriculum offer is reviewed on a yearly basis to ensure that we continue to provide a personalised curriculum that offers both breadth and academic rigour, whilst maximizing opportunities for progression to post-16 education.
Curriculum Provision across all Year Groups
We are an inclusive school. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all students in mainstream classrooms. We also provide many personalised programmes for students who are identified as vulnerable throughout their school career. These include support in the classroom, reading programmes, mentoring support for challenging behaviour and extra English classes for those who are new to English.
We encourage all students to support each other and help more vulnerable students with their learning. The success of all students is celebrated.
RE is taught in line with the locally agreed syllabus, which reflects the main religious traditions found in Britain. Pupils learn about all the main world religions rather than being instructed in any of them. This ensures that our religious education syllabus develops students’ ability to reflect on their own beliefs whilst respecting the faiths, feelings and values held by others.
If parents do wish to withdraw their son or daughter from RE – or from the daily reflection – they may do so.
Education for Family Life
Science and PPE provide the context for sex education which has due regard for moral considerations and the values of family life. Where necessary, sex education will be taught to single sex groups by a teacher of the same gender. At all times regard is given to religious sensitivities. If parents wish to withdraw their son or daughter they may do so.
Careers lessons take place within tutor time. In year 11, all pupils have the opportunity for an individual careers interview and a life-like job interview during our highly successful interview skills week. A well resourced careers library is maintained and a careers adviser is available to help students make the right choices for them.
The Halifax Academy is well resourced with new technologies, including Interactive White Boards in all classrooms, and several computer rooms. We also have the benefit of a wireless network along with a class set of iPads and laptops which further enhance the E Learning opportunities for all. Students benefit from the use of technology during lessons to give a variety of activities and methods for them to engage with the curriculum. During their time at The Halifax Academy, students will have the opportunity to use video, audio and photographs as part of their lessons. This is extended beyond school with our intranet, which gives students access to resources from home.