Year 7 students start at the academy in September, having visited us in the previous summer term to immerse themselves in the life of the Academy. They are asked to provide a piece of writing prior to starting to help us understand their literacy needs. They will then be tested in the Autumn term, using CATs to help to establish their literacy levels. Using this information, English CATs scores, social and SEN data from primary schools they are placed in mixed ability teaching groups.
In Key Stage 4, the core subject areas decide their groups as they are banded together; with pathways followed over a two year period.
Progress Mentors provide additional help to SEN students through intervention work in The Stand, an SEND base where extra support is provided. In Years 7-9, a few students may be withdrawn for additional literacy tuition, one-to- one and small group work. Students who use a language other than English may be supported in class or withdrawn for additional support.
Subjects are clustered into the following areas, each led by a Head of Faculty:
Key Stage 3 – Years 7, 8 & 9
All students follow a common curriculum comprising:
A programme of extra-curricular activities run at lunchtimes and after school, with choices displayed on the website and around the Academy.
Key Stage 4
KS4 commences in Year 10 and students currently follow four pathways, plus Core.
During the Autumn Term of Year 9, all students are given careful guidance to help them decide upon the four subjects which they will study over the next two years.
In Year 10 and 11, students study the Core subjects of English Language, Mathematics, Science, Computer Science, PE, RS and PSHCEE. This Core curriculum occupies 30-hours of lessons per fortnight, with pathway subjects filling the remaining 20-hours per fortnight.
Most pathways lead to the GCSE Examination but there are BTEC and vocational courses available at a comparable level. Those currently available are:
Students identified at the end of Y9 who are still below expectations in maths and/or English may be offered the opportunity to have intervention instead of following all four pathways. This is identified through data tracking and in conversation with parent/carers.
Amplification of Curriculum Content
In line with government expectations, all students receive 2-hours of taught PE per week. As well as sporting activities, health related fitness is also an integral part of the curriculum. These activities are complimented by a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
RS is part of the National Curriculum and is taught to all students from Year 7 to 9, a core part of PSHCEE at KS4, and as an option at KS4. We follow the revised Norfolk Agreed Syllabus and students are taught to understand and respect each other's beliefs and values. This approach seeks to promote an understanding of the religions of the world but with greater emphasis on Christianity. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious education either wholly or in part.
PSHCEE is part of the National Curriculum and is taught to all students from Year 7 to 11. In order to equip students with the life skills, knowledge and understanding to become rounded individuals our programme of study incorporates:
Careers Education and Guidance
This is taught through PSHCEE. In Years 7 – 9, students are taught to recognise different adult roles within the home and the community, how labour is divided and tasks shared. They show an understanding of the nature of work and occupations and how they may affect different lives and attitudes socially and economically locally, nationally and internationally. At key stage four the focus is upon self-awareness, careers and economical and industrial understanding. At the end of Year 10, students undertake a one-week work experience placement (from September 17).
This is carried out principally within the PSHCEE programme and according to current legislation. Materials and speakers are carefully chosen, appropriate to the needs and ages of our students and according to the National Curriculum. Sex education is taught within the context of relationships and family life. Parents are informed of the programme and are welcome to view materials used in sex education or to discuss further with PSHCEE teachers. Parents are told of their right to withdraw their son or daughter from this programme.
Key Stage 5
Students who stay at the Academy after Year 11 have the opportunity to join the Open Academy Sixth Form (OA6) and study AS level and then A level courses, as well as BTEC courses.
English as an Additional Language
Within the Open Academy, we have a large number of students who speak or are immersed in another language at home. These students are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) and are well supported in the school environment. Students learning EAL will have an initial language assessment when they join our school, this will help us to know exactly what level of English students have and how best we can support them. Our teachers support the learning of EAL within their curriculum areas; aiding the learning of EAL by modelling good use of the English language and by building upon already existing subject knowledge in students' first languages. We find that students learning EAL thoroughly succeed at the Open Academy, as their bilingual skills enhance their overall learning.