Ercall Wood Academy

Excellence through challenge and initiative

At Ercall Wood Academy our students will experience a highly personalised, modern curriculum, rich in variety and diversity, yet underpinned by traditional values.

The structure of our curriculum design is presented within two different documents. Firstly, our curriculum map, which outlines subjects studied at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Secondly, our five year curriculum overviews which specify the intent, implementation and impact of each individual subject.

Our curriculum is challenging and designed to help to address social injustice by providing our students with the essential core knowledge and skills that are commonly possessed by successful citizens which will enable them to positively contribute to their community. No child will be disadvantaged by our curriculum. At both KS3 and KS4 our curriculum is underpinned by our whole school values:

Believe       Achieve      Succeed

We believe in our students and through our challenging yet broad curriculum we will engender self-belief in our students. Through inspirational and innovative teaching of our curriculum, we will instil a drive in them to achieve and become the very best that they can be, preparing them for success in life. Our curriculum aims to develop the whole person and the talents of the individual and to allow all students to become active and economically self-sufficient citizens.

The key priorities within our challenging and broad curriculum are:

  • To provide an ambitious curriculum for all students which contains the necessary range of knowledge, skills and experience that prospective employers demand from their candidates.
  • To deliver high quality cross curricular project-based learning to further develop students 21st century employment skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration and innovation.
  • To create an inclusive environment based on the core principles of equality and respect.
  • To explore and clarify student beliefs and values and help them to learn to think and speak for themselves.
  • To ensure that our curriculum develops skills for learning, life and work by making learning relevant and helping students apply lessons to their life beyond the classroom.
  • To ensure that our curriculum incorporates regular retrieval practice to strengthen memory and maximise cognitive development.
  • To inspire our students to succeed through the challenge and enjoyment of learning and to respect themselves, their community and the environment in which they are an integral part.


Curriculum Structure

The curriculum in each subject is set out on the 5-year curriculum overviews that can be accessed and viewed on our website.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum (Years 7,8,9)

  • At Key Stage 3, our students are offered a breadth of subjects to allow them to explore their academic strengths, experience a range of learning and build upon increasingly challenging knowledge and skills fundamental to academic and lifelong learning.
  • The breadth within our creative curriculum supports students in meeting the demands of the National Curriculum whilst experiencing opportunities available at Key Stage 4.
  • We aim to make their learning journey explicit and purposeful through shared learning intentions using our learning line and connect these to the bigger picture of their learning, helping them to connect and apply new learning, and make sense of the world around them. This is witnessed within ‘real life’ contextual learning that is designed to inspire our children
  • Through regular review and retrieval of knowledge we will support our students in retaining and embedding their learning within the context of the overall scheme. By planning for breadth at KS3 and making learning visible, students will find it easier to acquire and interconnect new knowledge with previous learning.


Key Stage 4 Curriculum (Years 10,11)

  • At Key Stage 4, all students fulfil the traditional, academic curriculum by studying English, Maths, Science, Ethics and a Humanities subject with learners encouraged, where appropriate, to study the full EBACC offer.
  • A personalised and inclusive curriculum is at the heart of our Key Stage 4 offer and therefore we ensure that students have access to a range of appropriate qualifications that allow them post-16 opportunities as well as supporting social mobility through breadth of opportunity, particularly for our disadvantaged students.
  • Our curriculum has a “business ready” focus where we build good functional, literacy, numeracy, ICT, life and employment skills throughout our academic and enrichment studies.
  • Our priorities are personified by the breadth of experiences that students are offered at Ercall Wood Academy to develop the best physical and mental health to enable them to succeed in life. This ranges from providing a wide range of opportunities in sports up to national level, participating at performing arts, competing nationally in STEM activities to Duke of Edinburgh. Through the business partnership with Fujitsu, the school offers a thorough careers programme to raise student aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them locally and nationally.

Enrichment Opportunities

We believe that opportunities to bring the curriculum to life should be integral. We passionately believe that our students should sample a wealth of exciting new experiences to broaden their horizons, open doors of opportunity, hope and aspiration for all, regardless of their circumstances. Our enrichment activities aim to further equip students with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.

Implementation

Highly effective teaching brings our curriculum to life. Our approach to teaching and learning is built upon strategies identified from evidence-based research and supports our curriculum by ensuring that lesson purpose and progression are clearly identified and shared through the lesson learning line, “ a visual representation of the learning journey” (Roy Leighton) making the learning visible and explicit. Issues are explained and discussed with students, enabling them to build knowledge and make connections with previous knowledge.

A key component of this delivery is “Model Do Review”, a very simple but highly effective model in which the teacher passes over their expertise to the student in a series of staged, scaffolded steps to help to reduce cognitive load. Challenge is incremental as the lesson progresses. We ensure that the learning builds on prior learning and provides sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. Time is given to regularly practice and embed knowledge and skills.

These strategies work symbiotically with Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (2012) and support the development of our teaching practice.

  1. Daily review
    Teachers begin lessons with a short review of previous learning to build fluency and confidence in students.
  2. Present new material using small steps
    Teachers break down concepts and procedures into small steps with student practice after each step.
  3. Questioning
    Teachers regularly question students to help them to practise new information and connect new material to their prior learning. 
  4. Provide models
    Teachers provide students with models and worked examples to help them learn to solve problems faster.
  5. Guide student practice
    Teachers closely supervise and feedback to students when they are practicing new material to build confidence and help reduce errors.
  6. Check for student understanding
    Teachers check for student understanding to help them to learn the material with fewer errors.
  7. Obtain a high success rate
    Teachers ensure students achieve a high success rate during classroom instruction by teaching in small steps with supervised student practice.
  8. Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks
    Teachers provide students with temporary supports and scaffolds to assist them when they learn difficult tasks.
  9. Require and monitor independent practice
    Teachers provide regular opportunities for students to independently practice material.
  10. Weekly and monthly review
    Teachers engage students in extensive practice in order to develop well-connected and automatic knowledge.

Impact

Assessment is fundamental to the success of our implementation. Responsive teaching is the catalyst to outstanding progress and we feel actively inspires students to fulfil their potential.

  • Our formative assessment is underpinned by research from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) and is designed to support students in achieving fluency in each subject. This means that in lessons students are regularly assessed on prior knowledge in order to embed this knowledge in their long-term memory to enhance knowledge retention. This frees up their working memory to attend to current learning. We foster a culture of high challenge, low threat because it is when we feel safe at a deep level that we are prepared to risk things and have a go (Mary Myatt).
  • We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy (spoken and written) 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. We also encourage all pupils to read widely and we dedicate regular pastoral time for students to read and develop new vocabulary with their tutors.
  • We are acutely aware of the importance of sharing what success looks like with our students, and so we explicitly break down learning into steps through explicit modelling, to ensure that all students can achieve. Follow up reviews check understanding so that no student is left behind.
  • Knowledge statements driven by SOLO Taxonomy inform teachers of key content that has to be embedded per unit and it is these statements that inform end point summative testing
  • Knowledge organisers provide students with key information in each subject, broken down by half-term, enabling them to memorise the core knowledge they require in order to be able to perform higher-level functions such as analysis and evaluation.
  • In our 3 annual summative assessments we monitor what students know and how effectively they can apply it. Summative assessments are designed to test the application and long-term retention of knowledge. Tests are underpinned by agreed knowledge and application statements, allowing for accurate moderation and standardisation. Analysis of summative assessment is used to inform responsive teaching at whole school, departmental and classroom level, ensuring that all students’ (including SEND and disadvantaged) gaps in knowledge are acted upon.
  • Every student has an equal right to a challenging and inspiring curriculum. By teaching this curriculum well, and developing effective habits in our students, we bring out the best in everyone at Ercall Wood Academy and prepare them for success in life.