Starting from our belief in the importance of ‘getting every day right’, our students will benefit from a highly structured and adaptive learning environment. We will implement and maintain a culture of mutual respect, positive behaviour and high standards. Our learning and teaching policies and practices will be rooted in evidence-based research so that effective teaching practice results in strong student progress. Lessons will be planned and delivered to inspire and engage all students, underpinned through the use of frequent, formative assessments to inform teachers’ planning and dialogue with students and their parents.
We especially appreciate the importance of reading and oracy as key skills for learning and as a means of building confidence and enhancing life chances in employment and life as an adult; hence, reading and opportunities for students to develop and hone their speaking and listening skills will be a leitmotif across the academy. Reading and oracy will be at the heart of everything we do at the school.
During years 7 and 8 students will follow a broad and balanced curriculum following the national curriculum with an emphasis on securing students’ confidence and competency in literacy, supported by smaller than average group sizes of 26 students. In addition to English and mathematics, year 7 and 8 students will study a modern foreign language (French or Spanish), science, computer science/IT, history, RE, geography, technology, and creative and performing arts.
In year 9, students will be given the opportunity to study in depth or explore new subjects in humanities, creative arts and technology to give them the opportunity to widen their knowledge and understanding of these areas. In some cases, this is a taster of GCSE subjects which students have not studied in years 7 and 8.
- In the humanities block, students will be able to have additional time in either history or geography.
- In the creative block, students will be able to have additional time in art, textiles, drama, music, media, and health and social care.
- In the technology block, students can follow a combination of graphic design, food technology, materials technology, business studies or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
There will be a number of days per year when the timetable is suspended to allow students to learn and develop skills in different ways; for instance, off-site, with external providers and students from other schools. These sessions will take place at Rochdale Sixth Form College, local universities and other schools and will cover British values, CEIAG (careers education, information, advice and guidance topics), employability skills, staying safe and cultural enrichment.
A broad and balanced curriculum will be maintained across years 10 and 11 when students will sit a minimum of nine GCSEs or equivalent qualifications to fully prepare them for academic or vocational study post-16.
Students will sit a minimum of nine GCSEs or equivalent qualifications across the two years. It is anticipated that the majority of students will study the English Baccalaureate subjects and that all students will follow a range of qualifications leading to successful pathways to further education including A and T Levels, training (apprenticeships) or employment. Edgar Wood Academy will consider the curriculum offer of Hopwood Hall and Rochdale Sixth Form College when finalising the options to ensure students have an appropriate range of progression routes.
Students studying for the English Baccalaureate will follow their core subjects, plus a language and either history or geography. They will then choose two other qualifications from the following subjects:
- Business studies
- Food technology
- Health and social care
- Physical education
- Product design/textiles
- Religious studies
- Vocational IT qualification
All students will follow the Altus Enrichment Programme, as well as PSHE, PE and RE (non-examined). This programme will help them develop more of the key skills and life-skills required for further study and employment.
For English, mathematics and science, subject specialists will teach in sets. Setting will be determined by KS2 performance data, as well as baseline assessments conducted on entry in core subjects. Individual student progress and intervention strategies will be discussed and monitored over the course of the academic year. Set movements will only be authorised by the headteacher/deputy headteacher (curriculum) and will be fully communicated with students and parents/carers. Movement will only be authorised once evidence of intervention and the benefits of a set movement are provided.
In other foundation subjects and PSHE, students will be taught in mixed ability groups. There will be little movement between these groups, so that students can learn in a stable environment and establish strong friendship groups. To avoid low expectations, staff will teach to the top, while scaffolding lessons carefully, so that all pupils can access the work. In KS4, some of the foundation subjects may set students should there be a high uptake for their subjects. This will be more relevant for GCSE groups which still have tiers of entry, such as modern foreign languages.