Barnsley Academy Curriculum

Our curriculum is underpinned by the ‘Framework for Excellence’ that is at the heart of everything we do at United Learning. It sets out the five key principals that we believe are vital to an excellent education for children any young people. Our aim at Barnsley Academy is to provide a curriculum that gives the students an excellent education both in and out of the classroom. The five key principals are:

  • Ambition – the best from everyone. At the heart of the curriculum intent.
  • Powerful Knowledge – Knowledge underpins the implementation of our curriculum. We expect all teachers to teach difficult concepts well, using Rosenshine Principals as a common structure.
  • Education with Character – It is essential that we are making opportunities for our students to develop their character as they become young adults.
  • Leadership in every role – We always strive to give all of our pupils structured leadership opportunities.
  • Continuous improvement – We are rigorous in evaluating impact. We stop or change things that require improving and we improve things which are.

Our Approach

Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. 

We use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (2012) to develop our teaching practice:

  1. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning
  2. Present new material in small steps with student practice after each step
  3. Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students
  4. Provide models
  5. Guide student practice
  6. Check for student understanding
  7. Obtain a high success rate
  8. Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks
  9. Require and monitor independent practice
  10. Engage students in weekly and monthly review

In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support pupils who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.

Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum.  Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense.

Impact

With thousands of pupils across United Learning following the same curriculum, we have been able to devleop common assessments in most subjects.  These are summative assessments which allow pupils to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. These summative assessments are typically taken once or twice a year, enabling teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson.

Our formative assessments are designed to support students in achieving fluency in each subject. This means that in lessons pupils are quizzed on prior knowledge in order to embed this knowledge in their long term memory. This frees up their working memory to attend to current learning. We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing. Knowledge organisers provide students with key information in each subject, enabling them to develop their understanding of key concepts outside of their lessons. We also encourage all pupils to read widely.

Every child has an equal right to a challenging and enlightening curriculum. By teaching this curriculum well, and developing effective habits in our pupils, we bring out the best in everyone.

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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