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 Year 7 and 8 curriculum establishes a ‘launch pad’ for future success at the Halifax Academy and beyond. It builds upon the knowledge, skills and experiences gained from the Primary curriculum whilst introducing students 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 outlines in our vision and values).
The formal curriculum provides:
- High quality teaching from subject specialists in English. All students are encouraged to develop a pleasure for reading which underpins their writing and broadens their understanding of the world around them.
- Mathematics taught to all students through a Mastery approach. Mathematics Mastery is an engaging and accessible style of mathematics teaching, inspired by Singapore and Shanghai. The approach is designed to enhance understanding and enjoyment, as well as raise attainment for every child. Mathematical concepts are explored in a variety of representations and problem-solving contexts to give pupils a richer and deeper learning experience
- Science lessons which encourage students to learn the skills neded to behave and think like a scientist and the knowledge that underpins how our world works.
- A variety of interesting and engaging lessons delivered by high quality staff in:
Humanities – Geography, History, Religious Studies and Business Studies.
Art and Design – including modules on Drawing, Painting, Resistant Materials, 3D Design, Textiles and Ceramics.
Modern Foreign Languages - with a programme that builds upon the bilingual ability many of our students arrive with, to enhance their ability to speak and write fluently in at least one European language.
Our bespoke ‘Hearts and Minds’ curriculum which works alongside our ‘guarantee’ personal development programme to deliver lessons on Oracy, personal and social education, food and nutrition, Citizenship, ICT skills and Computer Science.
Extended curriculum days in Music and Drama throughout the school year.
In Years 7 and 8 we also deliver an innovative 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 in smaller group sizes by specialist teachers who focus on improving the core skills that students require to make progress across the curriculum.
As a fully inclusive school, the curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all students, whatever their needs. We provide many personalised programmes for students who are identified as vulnerable during their school career, which might include classroom support, reading programmes or mentoring support. We encourage all students to support each other and display our values of ‘Hearts and Minds’ when working with others.
Our wider, informal curriculum focuses on the personal development of our students. We seek to provide a range of life-enhancing experiences which enable our students to gain the cultural capital to support their academic learning whilst developing into well rounded individuals who exemplify our values.
Whilst the formal curriculum assesses students’ academic progress and achievement, a wide and varied enrichment programme provides students with a number of opportunities to enrich and extend their Key Stage 3 experience. These include a visit to Bolton Abbey, Walk to School and Road Safety initiatives, Charity walks, Bake off competitions, Outdoor pursuits activities, Science week and Theatre visits and a Forced Marriage workshop. We have five Personal Development Days a year to provide opportunities to build on the PSHE curriculum.
In addition, our Key Stage 3 Guarantee tracks their contribution to and participation in school life;their development as an independent learner; their communication and presentation skills and their involvement in the wider community. Students graduate in Year 8 with an award that recognises their success in their first two years in the Secondary Phase. Read more about the guarantee here.
Key Stage 4
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, some 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 always exclusive of each other and sometimes pupils will find themselves in groups with students from other pathways.
In years 9, 10 and 11 all students study:
• Mathematics – Students will study GCSE Maths
• English – Students will study English Literature in addition to English Language
• Science – Students will study either Combined Science or Separate Sciences – Physics, Chemistry and Biology
• PPE – Personal and Physical Education
• Religious Studies
As well as these subjects students 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, Enterprise and Marketing, ICT, Computer Science, Sport, Drama, Art, Design and Photography.
In order to reduce the examination burden on students from the new GCSE specifications, we have introduced a new curriculum model that enables students to complete two subjects by the end of year 10 and focus their time in year 11 on fewer, core subjects. We believe this will enable all students to reach their full academic potential , as well as provide the opportunity for more targeted intervention.
For further information about the different pathways available to students, please read through our Key Stage 4 Options booklet.
The informal curriculum in Key Stage 4 also focuses on the personal development of our students. Careers education provides all students with an individual careers interview, University visits and an interview skills day that provides an opportunity to undertake a life-like job interview with local employers.
Our curriculum offer is reviewed and evaluated 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.