Curriculum Statement 2020/2021

Curriculum Intent

At Da Vinci we believe all students have an entitlement to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, which is aligned with the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3 and highly effective pathways at Key Stage 4. We recognise the diverse needs of our students whilst enabling all of them to have access to a core curriculum.

Our curriculum is designed to:

  • Encourage an interest in learning that will last a lifetime.
  • Build new knowledge in a sequential manner, based upon what our students have learnt previously.
  • Build knowledge what students need to use in later life using clear start points and clear end points.
  • Equip students with the skills, knowledge and qualifications needed to progress to further and higher education, apprenticeships or work-based training.
  • Provide all students the opportunity to pursue the English Baccalaureate Route at Key Stage 4.
  • Encourage students to take risks and be prepared to make mistakes in order to be successful.
  • Enable students to make positive choices about their futures.
  • Prepare students for the world of work.
  • Broaden students’ horizons and aspirations and open their minds.
  • Help students to make a positive contribution to modern British society as active citizens.
  • Actively promote British values.
  • Help students become healthy and active adults.
  • Raise standards of attainment, over time.

Our curriculum reflects the needs of our community, our local area and national priorities. All courses cater for individual needs, abilities and interests, thus ensuring well motivated young people with improving outcomes, centred on our key curriculum principles.

Curriculum Principles

  • Clear progress over five years, where students learn more, do more, know more and remember more.
  • There should be depth before breadth. Maximise learning time in all subjects.
  • Additional time is given to English and Mathematics to ensure that students have the essential skills needed for life and to access the full curriculum.
  • Targeted support and additional challenge to ensure that provision is in place to enable all students make progress in line with national expectations.
  • Zero narrowing of the curriculum for SEND students, whenever appropriate.
  • Inspiration Days to address SMSC principles and raise aspirations.
  • To support induction into secondary school for all Year 7 students, with specialised provision for students with SEND and students with other specific needs.
  • Additional time will be offered for sports, arts, catch-up and master classes through an extended curriculum programme.

Our curriculum is designed to provide opportunities to continue learning beyond age 16 via academic and/or vocational routes. It is broad enough to enable students to change direction in the future without being hampered by choices made at 14 years old. For each area of the curriculum, we have Curriculum Leaders who are highly skilled and passionate that our students receive the best experience of the subject possible, with teaching staff who are continuously developing their expert practice, ensuring that students learn more, know more and remember more.

To aid transition to further education or employment with training after Year 11 (age 16) we work closely with local colleges, local businesses (E.g. Rolls Royce), sixth forms and training providers. Whichever route our students choose to take when leaving Da Vinci, our transition programme ensures that no-one leaves Da Vinci without having a positive and appropriate post-16 destinations.

Curriculum Implementation

It is essential that the curriculum is organised in such a way that it provides students with the opportunity to learn expected behaviours and be successful in their learning so that we can deliver our mission and aims. The implementation of our curriculum is driven by quality first expert teaching and learning in the classroom, led by highly skilled teachers who are passionate about sharing their subject knowledge, built upon great relationships with our students, thereby encouraging a love of learning.

Our curriculum provides a core of essential skills, knowledge and understanding.  In Key Stage 3 (years 7 to 9), we use mixed ability groups, as appropriate, and have high expectations for learning. Curriculum Leaders ensure that learning is sequential through schemes of learning that are linear and demanding. Learning is reviewed on a continuum of assessments that continuously build knowledge with ‘next steps’ feedback for improvement provided by teaching staff and DTT (Diagnose, Therapy, Teaching) methodology undertaken to secure understanding in the long-term memory. The setting of our groups in Key Stage 3 ensures that students are receiving demanding work, ensuring they are challenged to learn and improve and, through working as a team with their fellow students, are not overwhelmed or left behind.

We have a broad Key Stage 3 Curriculum covering 14 subjects meeting all the national curriculum requirements. This is taught in 25 hours of contact time each week.

Year 7

The curriculum includes:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) – French
  • Humanities – History, Geography and Philosophy and Ethics.
  • Performing Arts – Music
  • Creative Arts – Art and Design, Technology and Food and Nutrition
  • ICT
  • Physical Education (two hours per week)
  • Preparation for Adult Life – “At My Best”.

Year 8

The curriculum includes:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) – French
  • Humanities – History, Geography and Philosophy and Ethics.
  • Performing Arts – Music
  • Creative Arts – Art and Design, Technology and Food and Nutrition
  • ICT
  • Physical Education (two hours per week)
  • Preparation for Adult Life – “At My Best”.

Year 9

The curriculum includes:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) – French
  • Humanities – History, Geography and Philosophy and Ethics.
  • Performing Arts – Music
  • Creative Arts – Art and Design, Technology and Food and Nutrition.
  • Physical Education (two hours per week)
  • Preparation for Adult Life – Duke of Edinburgh Awards Preparation

At Da Vinci Academy, we follow a one-week-timetable and the amount of lessons allocated to each subject per week in years 7 to 9 are as follows:

  Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
English 5 4 4
Mathematics 5 4 4
Science 5 5 4
History 1 1 2
Geography 1 1 2
Philosophy and Ethics 1 1 1
At My Best/Duke of Edinburgh 1 1 1
MFL 1 2 2
Art, Design and Technology 1 2 2
Computing (ICT) 1 1
Music 1 1 1
PE 2 2 2
TOTAL (per week) 25 25 25

Option Pathways and Key Stage 4

In Years 10 & 11 students continue with the Core Curriculum and choose 3 – 4 additional subjects from 18 options which build on knowledge, skills and understanding developed in the KS3 curriculum. Careful guidance is provided to all students with the support of parents and carers through a supportive option pathways choices process.

All options subjects are taught over 3 hours per week, with the exception of GCSE Statistics, BTEC Childcare and BTEC Travel and Tourism which are taught for two hours a week in year 11.

We provide each pupil the opportunity to follow individual subjects at that are most appropriate for them, including the full range of subjects required to achieve the English Baccalaureate. Courses normally lead to qualifications at GCSE or BTEC level 1 and level 2, but in addition, we offer a small number of externally accredited foundation level non GCSE courses for students for whom a full set of GCSE courses may not be appropriate. From September 2020, we will be running the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme for all year 10 students.

Specific courses are drawn from the following broad subject areas: Sciences, Humanities, Arts, Languages, Sport, and Design and Technology.

The amount of lessons allocated to each subject per week in years 10 and 11 are as follows:

  Year 10 Year 11
English 4 4
Mathematics 5 4
Science 4 4
PE* 2 2
Duke of Edinburgh 1
Option 1 3 3
Option 2 3 3
Option 3 3 3
Option 4 1
TOTAL (per week) 25 25

*PE is taught in a block alongside BTEC Travel and Tourism, BTEC Childcare and Maths/English Intervention (Year 11).

At Key Stage 4 core subjects retain sets but most option subjects normally cover a mixture of levels of attainment.

English, Mathematics & Science

The Core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science comprise at least 50% of lesson time in all years for all students from Year 7 to 11.

The Extended Curriculum

At Da Vinci we believe strongly in the importance of providing students with a wide range of opportunities for students to develop skills additional to academia. Some of these opportunities are embedded within the 25-lesson weekly allocation, whereas other opportunities are provided during Best Learning (period 5 delivered by the form tutors) and after school, such as clubs across the Arts and Sports and student-led groups with particular interests. Our extended curriculum includes the following:

  • STEM club
  • Badminton club
  • Basketball club
  • Archery club
  • Music production
  • Cooking club
  • Cipher club
  • Algebra club

We strongly encourage students to participate in such activities both within and outside school, in order to achieve an effective work-academia balance.

SMSC – Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development

Our curriculum, combined with our extended curriculum, has a thoughtful and wide-ranging promotion of students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. At Da Vinci Academy, we have designed our termly Inspiration Days to provide a breadth of experience within various subject areas, drawing on outside speakers, involvement of parents and developing a sense of curiosity. Careers advice often features within our Inspiration Days and enables visitors to meet with the students and expose them to experiences outside school, providing them with valuable nuggets of information to help them effectively prepare for their future. We are passionate that all children realise that it is a big and wonderful world out there that they can play an active and positive part in. To do this not only do we pursue excellence in academia but also ensure the students are equipped with the correct skills in which to do this. We fully acknowledge that we, as an aspirational academy, play an important part in providing the means for social mobility. We maintain close links with the local community and are forming an effective working relationship with the local primary schools. We also plan opportunities for the children to know about keeping safe, linked to the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) document. We also plan for and promote British values, (Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs) ensuring that children are aware of their rights and responsibilities as a UK citizen.

Inspiration Days

For three days of the school year we collapse the timetable and deliver full-day events focused on raising aspirations and awareness of career opportunities. This consists of a variety of programmes, such as:

  • University Visits
  • Health awareness
  • Inclusivity (awareness and acceptance of others, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion)
  • Careers profiles and “next steps”

Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education (PSHCEE)

All students are taught PSHCEE where students have opportunities to discuss, listen and explain their beliefs and opinions on a wide range of topics and to develop the life skills they need to be healthy, safe, active and responsible British citizens.

Our students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural education at Da Vinci is essential to their development as young people. All curriculum areas contribute to this programme, alongside specialist provision within Philosophy and Ethics and through the PSHCEE curriculum. Students have opportunities to discuss, listen and explain their beliefs and opinions on a wide range of topics and to develop the life skills they need to be healthy, safe, active and responsible British citizens. Our PSHCEE programme is delivered during period 5 by form tutors and are coordinated by the Achievement Team in partnership with the Humanities department.

Relationship, Sex and Health Education (RSHE)

All students are taught RSHE where students have opportunities to discuss healthy lifestyles and relationships. There are a variety of curriculum areas that contribute to our RSHE provision include our PSHEE curriculum; our At My Best programme, as well as specialist provision in Science, Philosophy and Ethics, Food Technology and Nutrition and Physical Education.

Careers

PSHCEE also includes a careers programme in years 8 to11 and careers guidance is supported by our careers leads, and many external agencies. All of our students have full access to Unifrog, which is an online ‘impartial, user-friendly platform that helps students to make the best choices’.

Curriculum Impact

At Da Vinci Academy, we are dedicated to improve the outcomes of all of our students and acknowledge that we are on a journey where only the highest standards are acceptable for our students. Over the past two years, we have demonstrated substantial step-change through:

  • Substantial improvement in our Progress 8 measure (the most improved in the city 2019) including the achievement of students SEND.
  • Rapidly improving standards in the quantity and quality of work produced by our students across the curriculum.
  • High recognition from Good/Outstanding Schools who confirm that our expert teaching and learning has improved rapidly and, as a result, the learning experience of our students in the classroom is consistently high.

If you have any queries about our Curriculum, please do not hesitate to contact our Deputy Headteacher, Mr Blake, at the following email address: adam.blake@davinciacademy.co.uk