At Erasmus Darwin Academy, we pursue Excellence for All in all that we do. Therefore, we believe that every child deserves to have a first class, values driven, broad and balanced curriculum which will prepare them for success academically, socially and emotionally. Our curriculum builds on prior learning, whilst also ensuring that students are prepared for the next stage of their education and for their future adult lives in modern Britain.
Overview of the Academy Curriculum
Our curriculum mission
In our pursuit of Excellence for All, we are committed to ambitious and high quality curriculum provision that is values driven, broad, balanced, challenging, enriching and life-affirming. At Erasmus Darwin Academy, all students follow an academic curriculum that is at least as ambitious as the National Curriculum and they have access to subjects beyond the National Curriculum requirements. Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all subjects can be accessed at examination level in both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 (student numbers and student pathways permitting). Furthermore, we constantly review our curriculum to meet the needs of all our students in order to give every young person the opportunity to achieve for personal excellence.
As well as the academic curriculum, we are also proud of our extensive and high quality enrichment programme which aims to broaden the horizons and skill sets of our young people and to ensure they have valuable and enjoyable experiences. Through the active promotion and teaching of our Academy values, which are constantly reinforced through our curriculum provision, we strive to develop an inclusive, tolerant, determined, friendly, courageous, respectful and caring school community. In essence, as EDA students engage in their learning and take full advantage of the rich set of academic and enrichment opportunities that are offered within our curriculum provision, all groups of learners become increasingly well-rounded citizens who are able to thrive and make positive contributions to life in modern Britain.
Our Curriculum Aims
- To prepare students for, and successfully contribute to, life in modern Britain.
- To equip students with the confidence, knowledge and skills to thrive in their examinations and beyond, preparing them for the next stages in life.
- To develop courageous, determined, respectful and friendly young people.
- To ensure all subjects can be accessed at examination level at Key Stages 4 and 5.
Our academic curriculum is designed progressively to develop both the knowledge and skills required for the subjects we offer and to allow all subjects to be offered and studied at both key stages 4 and 5. Our schemes of learning are pitched to the top and effective subject specific support ensures all students can access our full curriculum offer as well as promoting and developing our core values of determination and excellence. Our curriculum is sequenced effectively in all subjects and curriculum checkpoints and assessments evaluate whether students are maintaining pace with the curriculum. All students at Key Stage 3 follow the National Curriculum and in addition, we deliver drama to all students as we believe it’s beneficial for all students to develop self-expression, communication skills and teamwork.
At the heart of all subjects is our continual development of reading, literacy, oracy and numeracy which will ensure that all students can access our ambitious curriculum. Reading is tracked and reported in Years 7-10 and intervention groups are created for appropriate students as we recognise the importance of our young people becoming ‘word rich’. The RE curriculum is set locally where the local authority Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) is responsible for producing the locally agreed syllabus for RE. Our Academy follows the Staffordshire SACRE for Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Post 16. All students in Key Stage 3 are taught RE using key principal strands from SACRE. At Key Stage 4, we comply with SACRE in that all pupils at the Academy follow an accredited specification (AQA) in Religious Studies. We provide reasonable time for pupils to complete this to attain an external qualification. In keeping with the aims of religious education and the underlying principles of the Staffordshire Agreed Syllabus, pupils have the opportunity to study Christianity and to draw examples from at least one other faith or secular world view, which is currently Buddhism.
Our enrichment curriculum, which includes extra-curricular activities, educational visits and leadership opportunities, is extensive and is available to all students. Our wide range of enrichment opportunities enables students to develop our core values of respect and friendship, whilst developing new skills, self-confidence, personal character and new friendships. Our enrichment curriculum opportunities can be accessed by clicking the following link:
Key Stage 3 Academic Curriculum
Our options offer at the end of Key Stage 3 maintains its breadth. We have a core curriculum offer which is accessible for all students and students personalise their examination pathways by selecting three option choices from an extensive list which is inclusive of GCSE and BTEC qualifications. Our core curriculum offer and our option choices can be seen below:
|Core Curriculum Offer|
|English Language||English Literature||Mathematics|
|Science||Religious Education (Including citizenship)||Core Physical Education (including RSHE)|
|Option Subject Offer|
|Art||Business Studies||BTEC Performing Arts|
|Food and Nutrition||GCSE PE||Music|
|BTEC Sport||Photography||Design and Technology|
|Cambridge National Award||Sociology|
Key Stage 4 Academic Curriculum (from September 2020 options)
|Year||English||Maths||Science||RE||Core PE||Option 1||Option 2||Option 3||Total|
Key Stage 5 Academic Curriculum
Our Key Stage 5 academic curriculum has three pathways which ensures our sixth form is as inclusive as possible. These pathways are as follows:
|Pathway 1||3 A Levels|
|Pathway 2||2 A Levels and 1 BTEC|
|Pathway 3||2 BTECs and 1 A Level (where possible)|
|Year||Option 1||Option 2||Option 3|
|12||10 (inclusive of study period)||10 (inclusive of study period)||10 (inclusive of study period)|
|13||10 (inclusive of study period)||10 (inclusive of study period)||10 (inclusive of study period)|
Our Key Stage 5 timetable is created annually based on student demand. Our subject offer and entry requirements can be accessed by clicking the following link:
Our students in Key Stage 5 are supported by a weekly timetabled tutorial programme alongside an individual form tutor. Students receive a fortnightly assembly which focuses on a range of topics which includes; sexual health, finance, study skills, UCAS application, employability skills, health, progression conferences and celebration of achievement assemblies. In addition, a bespoke progression programme is in place to ensure students are prepared for the next phase of their education and development. The progression programme includes; UCAS preparation, personal statement preparation, careers advice, work experience and business breakfasts.
Key Stage 5 Enrichment Curriculum
Our Key Stage 5 enrichment curriculum includes the following opportunities:
- Volunteering schemes both in the Academy and outside the Academy
- Sports, drama and musical clubs
- Leadership Opportunities
- Duke of Edinburgh
- National Citizenship Service
- Business Tycoon Competition
Each subject will have its own justification for the delivery of its knowledge and skills and this is planned through detailed schemes of learning. However, all subjects have fundamental elements that are delivered consistently across the Academy via our teaching and learning strategy and our approach to assessment.
Our teaching and learning strategy which has expert subject knowledge at its core, alongside the development of reading, writing and oracy, leads students to embed knowledge fluently and demands work that will support future learning and employment. This development of knowledge and skills is achieved via prompt lesson starts which continually review key fundamental information which was taught previously and recently. In addition, students are expected to continually apply their knowledge to a range of subject specific contexts via our red pen application strategy.
Our curriculum is carefully and logically sequenced, delivered progressively and aims to provide a rich diet of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for students to develop higher order thinking such as analysis and evaluation, building on skills of reading, literacy, numeracy and oracy. Assessment, in the form of curriculum checkpoints, summative assessment and frequent assessment for learning during lessons, ensures that teachers effectively judge whether students are maintaining pace with curriculum delivery and respond accordingly where misconceptions are identified. Our improvement phase strategy means that, following a curriculum checkpoint or summative assessment, our students use curriculum time to address key misconceptions before continuing with the scheme of learning.
Our Wider Curriculum
Our wider curriculum aims to develop our students’ literacy, oracy, reading and writing skills. Our classrooms are places of academic talk and our students are encouraged to use the language for learning during their classroom based discussions and also in their written responses.
Development of Reading
At Erasmus Darwin Academy reading is promoted in the following ways:
- A reading book forms part of a student’s daily equipment
- Reading to, reading aloud, paired reading and guided reading are encouraged to be used in lessons
- All students in KS3 need to read for at least 30 minutes per day for their English homework
- All students are encouraged to visit the library
- Year 7 and 8 students have a library lesson once a fortnight that is dedicated to reading
- All students will read as part of the tutor programme
- All students will read at the start of P5
- All of our staff are ambassadors for reading
- Students are exposed to challenging texts
Development of Writing
At Erasmus Darwin Academy our writing expectations are as follows:
- All teaching staff promote the use of the key language for learning
- The language for learning is encouraged to be used during both verbal and written responses
- The language for learning is to be either highlighted or underlined by the student
- Our students are encouraged to be explanation rich and not just definition rich
- Students will apply their learning in their red pen response. All red pen responses are written in full sentences
- Students will use the Literacy Mat which focuses on the following key elements: – the correct use of capital letters and full stops, the correct use of homophones, the correct use of apostrophes and the correct use of commas
- As per the subject feedback guidance, written feedback will address literacy misconceptions, using the EDA literacy codes and literacy missions will be evident on all assessments
Development of Oracy
At Erasmus Darwin Academy our oracy expectations are as follows:
- The classroom is the place for academic talk where staff model the key language for learning
- Lessons are designed to be discursive and dialogic
- Students are encouraged to SHAPE their ideas and responses (Speak in standard English, Have your idea ready, Articulate your point, Project your voice and ensure Eye contact)
- All staff encourage the use of high quality verbal responses and insist on the highest of academic responses
Development of Staff
Staff development is at the heart of our weekly CPD programme. We commit to the continual professional development (CPD) of all staff via a range of development forums. Our CPD programme is focussed on; developing leadership at all levels, pedagogy, our culture and ethos and subject specific knowledge. Middle leaders use this time to develop their teams and ensure that they can effectively deliver our schemes of learning to the best possible standard. Our Academy self- evaluation procedures allow us to intervene in a timely way where development needs are identified.
As a collective body, we are driven to ensure every child who leaves Erasmus Darwin Academy has the qualifications, skills, knowledge, confidence and character to access aspirational Post-16 opportunities and to make a positive contribution to the local community, Britain and wider society as well as keeping themselves and others safe. Our aims, through our curriculum design and delivery, are to develop our young people to be reflective of their place in the world and the responsibilities they hold for the future generations and the community they live in. The impact of this curriculum design and delivery will be measured by multiple metrics: student and staff voice and wellbeing, qualification benchmarks, destination data and, less easily defined, a culture that enables personal growth for all members of our community. Our leaders will use published examination material to review our curriculum design and delivery for future cohorts. Our internal quality assurance processes (known as review weeks) will give leaders the opportunity to judge the effectiveness of our curriculum and make amendments accordingly. This means we are continually striving to ensure we achieve our curriculum mission and aims and our students receive the best education possible. We will endeavour to create the conditions for our students to have exposure to a rich and culturally relevant knowledge base that builds progressively through KS3 to KS5. They will have opportunities to apply this knowledge in various guises from generic problem solving to specific subject based assessments and qualifications and develop a range of skills through our enrichment offer.
As students progress through the Qualifications Stage, they benefit from a well-established and extensive range of extra-curricular booster and revision classes for all GCSE subjects, which are designed to help students gain the best GCSE grades possible. These classes run before school, after school, during lunch and break-times, during school holidays and at weekends. Please click here to view the extra-curricular Intervention Timetable
PFL (Preparation for Life) Days
At the Qualifications Stage, Flexible Learning Days in the Qualifications Stage are used for maximising GCSE Achievement, through special revision or subject booster sessions and for preparing students for the world of work, through a range of careers events and activities.
Keeping Children Safe
Across a range of subjects in the Qualifications Stage, a range of safeguarding topics are taught, as important part of the Academy’s safeguarding arrangements. The teaching of these topics will broaden and deepen the students’ understanding of key issues, as we strive to keep our students as safe and well as possible.