Our Curriculum Vision and Principles
The curriculum is at the heart of a school’s purpose and our curriculum reflects our core values, Dedication, Determination, Destiny. At Harris Academy St John’s Wood we recognise that improving educational outcomes is the biggest way we can positively impact our students’ futures. We take the term ‘educational’ in its most broad sense: this means more than just a set of results. It includes a child’s intellectual development, social and emotional development, citizenship and responsibility, happiness and success. We hope that this vision is ‘lived’ in the way teachers develop the curriculum and the way students experience it. We want a curriculum that is effectively designed and implemented, that is true to subjects’ core content and concepts, develops a love of lifelong learning, and creates beautiful work, expertise, fascination and wonder.
Our curriculum is purpose enacted. It seeks to find harmony between the four broad philosophies of what is education for: personal empowerment; cultural transmission; preparation for citizenship; and preparation for work.
Our seven whole school principles of curriculum are:
- Balanced – Promotes intellectual, moral, spiritual, aesthetic, creative, emotional, and physical development.
- Rigorous – Seeks to develop intra-disciplinary habits of mind; powerful ways of thinking that are developed through sustained engagement with the discipline.
- Coherent – Makes explicit connections and links between the different subjects and experiences.
- Vertically Integrated – Focuses on progression by carefully sequencing knowledge; provides clarity about what ‘getting better’ at the subject means.
- Appropriate – Matches the level of challenge to a pupil’s current level of maturity and knowledge.
- Focused – Seeks to keep the curriculum manageable by teaching the most important knowledge; identifies the big ideas or key concepts within a subject.
- Relevant – Seeks to connect the valued outcomes of a curriculum to the pupils being taught it; provides opportunities for pupils to make informed choices.
Our staff body has spent a great deal of time carefully considering what principles underpin our curriculum and why. In doing so we have engaged with the thinking of many other educators, and found Principled Curriculum Design by Dylan Wiliam highly informative (you can download this document below).
How we organise our curriculum
Years 7 to 8
In Years 7 to 8, students study a broad and balanced range of subjects. National curriculum content is carefully tracked to ensure that pupils have covered all areas of non-statutory KS4 subjects by the end of Year 8. Longer lessons than in many other schools permit deeper learning and allow students to develop their skills.
All subjects have a curriculum plan which is appropriately sequenced ensuring gains in students' knowledge and understanding of discrete subject disciplines as they progress through the Academy.
For the current academic year (2019-2020), students choose 2 subjects to study in greater depth in Year 9. This has been a deliberate decision , supporting students to experience subjects at greater depth in Year 9, addressing legacy issues and effectively preparing them for GCSE study in Year 10 and 11. These are studied in addition to the core subjects of English, maths, science, languages, humanities, PSHE and physical education.
We are currently reviewing our Year 9 offer for September 2020.
Years 10 and 11
Options are structured in such a way to allow pupils a free choice. At the end of Year 9 students can make two subject choices in addition to the core curriculum offer of English, maths, science, languages, humanities, PSHE and physical education. Students may choose to continue studying subjects they chose in Year 9 or they may opt for a different subject, that reflects the diversity of the GCSE curriculum.
This ensures equity of delivery, with all pupils having equal access to subjects. The options are designed to support the needs of the students at Harris Academy St John's Wood and to meet the needs of our local context. Students are offered a mixture of practical and academic subjects from all areas of the curriculum (including new subjects they will not have studied before). This model also ensures that students have access to a wide range of progression routes to the next of their education.
Years 12 to 13
Students admitted to the sixth form at Harris Academy St John's Wood have access to a wide range of Level 3 pathways, including Academic, Vocational or a mix of both. Where students have not achieved at least a Grade 4 in English or maths, they will be supported through a rigorous programme during Year 12. For full details of our sixth form curriculum, please visit the relevant section of our website.