At Co-op Academy Failsworth we are fully committed to supporting our students to live in a rapidly changing world, where independence and resilience are key to future success. Alongside our academic curriculum, we ensure that students develop co-operative behaviours. These behaviours are promoted through our Academy Values which are rooted in the Ways of Being Co-op. These ways of being are four simple but powerful statements that underpin everything that we do:
The word curriculum is Latin in origin, descending from ‘currere’, meaning race or a course on which a race is run; and is often used to describe the dynamic movement of a chariot, or ‘careering’. A careering chariot, suggesting dynamism, movement and most importantly, journeying, seems to be a good starting point to reflect on the purpose of a ‘curriculum’ within our academy. Our curriculum is a vehicle, it is the way in which our students move on a journey from novice to expert, across a range of subjects or ‘disciplines’. As with any journey, this is by no means linear, and as with the very best journeys there will be stops, start, stutters, periods of fragmentation and disjoint. We embrace and celebrate this. On a micro level (or short period of time), for example a lesson or sequence of lessons, this journey may appear static, but actually quite the opposite is true, when viewed from the macro level, or over a sustained period of time, in our case the 5 years that students are with us, there is the definite sense that forward movement or ‘progress’ is occurring. The vision for our curriculum is therefore to provide students with a dynamic journey of learning, guiding and supporting them to progress from novice to expert.
We believe all our students are entitled to a curriculum that challenges their individual abilities; is relevant to their experience and present needs; is inclusive and has application and value in the world outside the academy. The recognition of students as individuals demands thoughtful, appropriate pedagogical approaches and careful selection of big ideas and core concepts that will engage all our young people, including those with additional needs. An excellent quality of education is our priority within the Academy; with this in mind we provide a curriculum which is broad, balanced, has clear progression in subject expertise and is filled with rich first-hand purposeful experiences. Our philosophy for the curriculum experience is ‘breadth and depth’ not ‘narrow and shallow’.
We want our students to be challenged to think about why they are learning as well as what they are learning. Therefore, we see the development of the whole person: expertise, knowledge, understanding and attitudes, as our core moral purpose. Teaching our students about the following allows us to realise our vision of ‘Achieving Excellence Together’ and embodies our Academy values:
- healthy sex and relationships education
- E-safety and the responsible use of technology
- developing economic understanding,
- developing a Growth Mindset
- understanding our British values
- developing physical, creative and artistic intelligence
- Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development through a unique Citizenship and RE offerThe intention of our academy curriculum is to provide a framework on which to build a first-class educational experience. Success in examinations and assessments is important and at Co-op Academy Failsworth and we strive for the very best progress and attainment for our students. We achieve this by providing a structured and supported approach, whereby:
- Year 7 & 8 the focus is on the development of expertise, through a curriculum with the principles of mastery at its core.
- Year 9 provides a transitional year, with the continuing development of subject expertise alongside the development of the knowledge necessary to be successful in GSCE, whilst retaining breadth.
• Year 10 & 11 provides a knowledge and expertise rich curriculum to secure the very best exposure to learning necessary for examination success.
Year 7- receive an immersive curriculum with the principles of mastery and Growth Mindset at its core. This harnesses the expertise developed at primary school as well as growing new expertise necessary to be successful in all aspects of their life, both academic and personal. Four key areas of development are central: Perseverance, Learning from Mistakes, Seeking Challenges, and Outstanding Effort; all underpinned by our academy vision, values and ‘Ways of Being Co-op’. Alongside this, approximately 8 Year 7 students receive a bespoke provision through our Nurture offer. We look to intervene and catch-up quickly any gaps in literacy and numeracy so that all students can fully access our inclusive curriculum.
Year 8- continues to develop expertise and the ‘Ways of Being Co-op’. Students following a broad and balanced curriculum that reflects the needs of students and our local context. As well as subject based learning students focus on the importance of mental health, healthy relationships, digital balance and responsible use of social media and technology, community issues and co-operative values. Students requiring a more bespoke curriculum also have continuing access to Nurture, as well as literacy and numeracy catch-up.
Year 7 and 8 receive a mastery style approach to learning in mathematics, where the emphasis is on depth of understanding. This approach encourages and embeds the expertise required to learn, whilst developing an understanding of the learning process through practice, independent whole class, small group and individual tasks, reflection of the learning process and extension of new learning leading to greater depth of understanding. This exciting, innovative approach has now cascaded out to all subject disciplines, based on the evidence of impact on student outcomes in mathematics, and will be live from September 2019.
Year 9- students focus on developing the expertise necessary for the transition to GCSE. As well as allowing the time for truly academically enriching activities, students have the opportunity to choose the subjects for which they have a passion, not limited by predefined subject combinations. Having made some curriculum choices but still retaining breadth and depth, Year 9 enables students have an opportunity to review their choices and make changes where appropriate. We understand that not all subject combinations are suitable for all students and offer a bespoke curriculum to a small number of students where their individual needs are put first.
Year 10 and 11- is where GCSEs become the main focus and a wide range of subjects are studied, allowing students to pursue the knowledge and expertise to be successful academically, creatively, physically and personally. Our ‘Achieving Excellence Together’ days allow students to develop a vital careers and healthy lifestyle education. Through our Academy Sponsor we look at Co-op work experiences and possible apprenticeship routes to employment. Philosophy and Ethics is explored weekly by all Year 10 and 11 students, encouraging them to explore and engage in Modern British Values through current affairs, cultural, theological and political big questions, debate and discussion. Students in Year 11 receive an additional ‘Period 6’ on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, allowing for targeted, small group tuition by specialist teachers in areas that need further development. In addition, we provide every young person with an insight into university life though a campus visits and meetings with Apprenticeship Ambassadors so they are able to compare academic and technical pathways free from bias.
We constantly communicate with our Year 10 & 11 cohort to ensure they are aware of their personalised journey to achieve their target grades and beyond. Our knowledgeable Year 10 & 11 teams provide bespoke guidance and mentoring to ensure the lead up to exams is as stress-free and productive as possible.
Through our inclusive curriculum we have a bespoke Study Zone and Gateway provision. These provisions allow students to excel and achieve in a setting more tailored to their individual needs; both are led by teams of specialist colleagues.
We understand that not all learning takes place within the classroom and offer a wide range of extracurricular experiences, including Duke of Edinburgh, Good to Great, peripatetic music lessons, music groups, choir, sporting clubs and teams, large whole school drama/music productions and language clubs, including Mandarin, Latin and German, Enterprise, ICT and computing clubs.
We believe that assessment, in all its forms should be meaningful. Summative assessment is used at key points, carefully planned to assess the curriculum taught. We believe that that formative assessment provides the most effective and powerful impact on students’ development of expertise and progression.
However, we also understand that examination and assessment outcomes alone are by no means enough. As a forward-thinking academy, we seek to engage with employers across all subject areas, making robust links with industry, bringing learning to life and inspiring our students to consider ambitious options to achieve their full potential. We have a strong careers education focus across the academy embedded throughout the curricula of each subject discipline, offering strong connections to the world of work through innovative and inspiring business links. Students are given the first-class advice and guidance necessary to develop career management and employability expertise. Through our unique offer, that is co-operative and inclusive in its approach, students receive a curriculum that is rich and relevant, challenging and rewarding, enjoyable and exciting.