Our approach to teaching and learning is firmly rooted in evidenced-informed practice. We consider what academic research tells us about what approaches have the most impact on student achievement. At Ark Acton Academy, teachers plan learning experiences that focus on developing students’ expectations of what they can achieve, which is seen through the Stretch tasks available each lesson. Teachers also prioritise students’ oracy and academic language, embedding time for quality classroom discussion in our lesson planning. We believe that students will make excellent progress when they are clear about their learning journey; we provide students with the Steps to Success for each topic so students know how the different components of their learning fit together into a broader picture. Developing students’ metacognition is a vital part of our planning as we want to enable our students to think for themselves about their learning and how best to engage with a challenging task. Students’ progress is also maximised when teachers provide detailed and meaningful feedback after topic Checking Points and more formal Assessment Points four times a year. Each lesson, we reward our students with the coveted Golden Ticket; this ticket is put into the weekly prize draw in assembly which celebrates those students who have demonstrated effective learning behaviours: communication, participation, collaboration and self-regulation.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)
All students study English, Maths, Science, Information Technology, History, Geography, Physical Education, Technical and Visual Arts, Music, Drama, Religious Education and French. Some pupils will go on to study Spanish in Year 8 and 9. Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) is also taught and this covers a variety of topics to help pupils develop safe and healthy life styles and an awareness of the society that they live in.
Our Year 7 Diploma Group has been created for the most vulnerable students, those with very low prior attainment at Key Stage 2. This small group has the same teacher for English and Mathematics so that their transition to the many different teachers at secondary school is more gradual. These students will join other groups for all other subjects. The curriculum for this group will cover the same skills as other Year 7 groups but the content of the curriculum for this group may be thematically organised.
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)
At Key Stage 4 all students will follow a common core of English, English Language and Literature , Mathematics, Science Core and Additional, PE, RE and PSHCE. In addition students choose four option choices from a whole range of GCSEs and BTEC courses. For some years now our most able students have had the opportunity to study AS courses in Year 10 and 11 and this has been enormously successful.