This section of our website explains the principles that inform our curriculum.
Links to related information can be accessed below:
For further information regarding our school's curriculum please contact Mr M Aveyard on Mark.Aveyard@barnsley-academy.org or telephone the academy on 01226 284606.
Our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life. Our curriculum is designed to provide children with the core knowledge they need for success in education and later life, to maximise their cognitive development, to develop the whole person and the talents of the individual and to allow all children to become active and economically self-sufficient citizens. By drawing on the best that’s been thought, said and done in each subject, we hope that our curriculum enables children to appreciate and participate in the full richness of the human experience.
Hundreds of United Learning teachers and leaders have been involved in developing the United Learning Curriculum as a core academic curriculum, founded on these key principles:
- Entitlement – We believe that all children have right to learn what is in the United Learning Curriculum; schools have a duty to ensure that all children are taught the whole of it.
- Mastery – We want all students to achieve a full understanding of the knowledge specified in the Curriculum for each year, and teaching should not move on until this is achieved.
- Stability – We won’t constantly amend the Curriculum: while we should make occasional adjustments in the light of feedback and experience, we will aim for stability over many years, so that teachers can develop expertise, and we constantly build assessments and teaching materials to support the Curriculum.
- Concepts not context – The Curriculum is intended as a concise specification of knowledge and content to be taught and learned; it is for schools and teachers to decide how to teach and bring it to life.
Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and you will see differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in different subjects. Standardised written assessments, for example, play less of a role in performance subjects such as music, drama and physical education. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers within the same subject to meet together. Further subject specialism is provided by United Learning’s subject advisors.
As a mastery curriculum our pupils study fewer topics in greater depth, with the expectation that we don’t move on to the next topic until all pupils have a secure understanding of the current topic. A 3-year Key Stage 3 provides pupils with the time and space to gain this secure understanding. In our lessons you will typically see all pupils grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for pupils who need it. Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers are expected to produce work of greater depth and flair.
In addition to the mainstream curriculum outlined above, we also offer a number of more bespoke curriculum provisions:
Foundation Curriculum – within Years 7 – 9, this curriculum sits within the mainstream timetable for those students who are, or have been, eligible for the Governments additional Catch-Up Funding in Year 7, together with other students who have either missed large chunks of education or who find learning more challenging. The lessons replace MFL lessons in the first instance, and provide a KS2 type literacy and numeracy provision for the students so that they can become able to access more of the mainstream core lessons in English, Maths and Science. As the lessons are staffed by experienced MFL staff and SLT, we have the ability to be flexible with the curriculum and include elements of FCSE French or Spanish when we believe the students are at a level to be able access all subjects confidently. The curriculum consists of the following topics in the main, but is reactive to students’ needs and QLA from KS2 SATs and internal assessments.
Numeracy - based on four assessment strands; Basic, Emerging, Ready and Foundation with topics including; Number Bonds, Place Value, Addition/Subtraction, Multiplication/Division, Rounding and FDP.
Literacy – based on six assessment strands, the first three of which need mastering initially to ensure sequential learning. These are taught within the context of the existing texts, such as, Treasure Island and Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and are; Give/explain the meaning of words in context, retrieve and record information/identify key details from fiction and non-fiction and summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph.
Alternative Curriculum – these small group lessons are run separately in both KS3 and KS4 for students who find accessing large group mainstream lessons challenging. A full curriculum is taught to these groups with KS3 lessons delivered with support from Cornerstone staff in that provision, and KS4 lessons delivered by experienced staff dedicated to ensure that all students accessing this course achieve the maximum outcomes possible. Options are supplemented with BTEC Business or Sport and Childcare to allow all students to achieve a broad range of subjects in addition to the core subjects of English, Maths and Science.
EAL Intervention - a daily curriculum that supports those students who are new to English which is delivered by trained ESOL teachers and varies between one-to-one support in lessons, Life in Britain lessons and English Language Intervention. The aim of this provision is to allow all students to access mainstream education and achieve outcomes in KS4 in line with their academic abilities.
Emerge Curriculum - The Emerge Provision is an Alternative Provision which is provided in a separate physical area of the Academy and, in many ways is a provision which is delivered differently from mainstream school. Students attending Emerge follow a 50% off-site timetable and a 50% in-house provision. Emerge is an alternative to mainstream and is a directed provision which is not optional as it is deemed to be the best chance of success for that particular student after other interventions have failed to positively impact on their individual behaviours for learning. The provision is managed alternately by two senior members of staff plus one full time Teaching Assistant and all off-site activities are supervised 100% of the time by all/some of these staff. All students accessing The Emerge Provision are expected to study the Core Curriculum subjects of English, Maths and Science, plus an EBac subject and a vocational optional subject.
Additional Needs Provision - The ANC manage and support all SEN students on a daily basis ensuring all need is identified, and reasonable adjustments are made in a timely and robust manner. There is an SEN registration group, which provides a safe and welcoming start to the school day and also a series of specialist interventions such as Speech and Language and Social, Emotional and Mental Health for students with an EHCP. The provision also arranges KS3 supported lessons (shared with the Cornerstone Provision) for those students requiring smaller group work and extra one-to-one support to help them progress.