Curriculum Statement

Curriculum Intent

At Da Vinci Academy 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 are an inclusive school which recognises the diverse needs of our students; 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 that 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 students’ individual needs, abilities and interests, which results in motivated young people leaving Da Vinci Academy with the best possible outcomes.

Curriculum Principles

  • Clear progress over five years, where students learn 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 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 post-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 knowledge, skills and understanding how to apply the aforementioned.  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. Where classes are set at Key Stage 3, we ensure students receive the relevant demanding work, ensure 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
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religious Education.
  • Standing Tall – Music
  • Art and Design
  • Technology
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Computer Science
  • Physical Education
  • Preparation for Adult Life – “At My Best”.

Year 8

The curriculum includes:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) – French
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religious Education.
  • Music
  • Art and Design
  • Technology
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Computer Science
  • Physical Education
  • Preparation for Adult Life – “At My Best”.

Year 9

The curriculum includes:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) – French
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religious Education.
  • Music
  • Art and Design
  • Technology
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Computer Science
  • Physical Education

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 4 4 4
Mathematics 4 4 4
Science 4 4 4
History 1 1 2
Geography 1 1 2
Religious Education 1 1 1
At My Best 1 1
MFL 2 2 2
Art, Design and Technology 3 3 2
Computer Science 1 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 additional subjects from 11 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.

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. All students in Year 10 will be partaking in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. All students in Year 10 will study triple science.

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 4 5
Science 6 5
PE 1 2
Duke of Edinburgh 1
Option 1 3 3
Option 2 3 3
Option 3 3 3
TOTAL (per week) 25 25

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 48% of lesson time in all years for all students from Year 7 to 11.

Extended Curriculum

At Da Vinci we believe strongly in the importance of developing the “whole student” something that the extended curriculum plays a key part in.

Some of the opportunities for wider student development are embedded within the 25-lesson weekly allocation, whereas other opportunities are provided during character programme (delivered by the form tutors) and after school throughout extended curriculum offer.

Examples of extended curriculum clubs offered at Da Vinci include:

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

We strongly encourage students to participate in such activities both within and outside school and promote these opportunities both internally and externally.

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, following the national curriculum whilst adapting to the needs of our young people and their communities.

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. Inspiration Days encourage students to step outside of their comfort zone and to open their eyes and minds to the wider world around them and the opportunities that lie ahead. Students will experience one Inspiration Day built around careers and one around SMSC/PSHCE.

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 it. 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 encompasses Gatsby benchmarks and RSE and health curriculum. This consists of a variety of programmes and opportunties, such as:

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

Our Character Adventure is made up of three separate components that are statutory requirements for schools to implement within their curriculum; PSHE, RSHE and CEAIG. These three areas all fall under what we call our “Character Adventure”.  The primary aim of our Character Adventure is to ensure that we are educating and preparing students for a life after Da Vinci Academy where they can thrive as healthy, productive and happy members of society.  

An adventure is an exciting experience that is bold or risky at times. We see the development of students’ characters as part of this. Our character adventure is highly aspirational and seeks to allow students to develop into well rounded individuals and this will require them to be bold and can be risky at times but it a hugely exciting experience.  

Our Character adventure consists of twelve key themes which are delivered during a weekly session of Period 6 for each year group. These twelve themes are addressed throughout each year and are developed and expanded on to ensure that students have a strong foundation of these key themes. The twelve key themes are: Resilience, organisation, initiative, kindness, communication, leadership, respect, E-safety, study skills, my wellbeing, my body and my future. Our Character Adventure is then developed through events such as; assemblies, Inspiration Days and is also delivered in our separate, specific Character lessons.

The below table outlines the half termly overview of Character lessons for each year group. This programme explicitly addresses issues around British Values, RSHE (including same sex relationships) Anti Bullying, Mental Health and Well-Being and Online Safety.

Half TermY7 SC Y7 & 8Y8Y9 SC Y9Y10 SC Y10 & 11Y11
1  Anti-bullying & KindnessAnti-bullying & KindnessAnti-bullying & KindnessAnti-bullying & KindnessAnti-bullying & Kindness
2  Celebrating differencesCelebrating differencesCelebrating differencesCelebrating differencesCelebrating differences
3  Staying safe onlineStaying safe onlineStaying safe onlineStaying safe onlineStaying safe online
4Coping with changeLeadership and communicationFinding my voiceGrowth mind setLooking after myself
5Making good decisionsThinking with a clear headAdapting my voice & communication skillsOwning my actions 
6Expressing myself effectivelyCommitting to growthGrowing in confidenceOwning my decisions 

Relationship, Sex and Health Education (RSHE)

The aim of RSHE is to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships. The RSHE curriculum will aim to enable them to know what a healthy relationship looks like and what makes a good friend, a good colleague and a successful marriage or other type of committed relationship. It will also cover contraception, developing intimate relationships and resisting pressure to have sex (and not applying pressure). It will also attempt to teach what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in relationships. This will help pupils understand the positive effects that good relationships have on their mental wellbeing, identify when relationships are not right and understand how such situations can be managed. There are a variety of curriculum areas that contribute to our RSHE provision including our character curriculum; our At My Best programme, as well as with other curriculum areas such as Science, Philosophy and Ethics, Food & Nutrition and Physical Education.


PSHCEE also includes a careers programme in years 7 to11 and careers guidance is supported by our careers leads, and many external agencies (Luminate and DEPB). All of our students have full access and use of Unifrog which is built into our tutor programme, this is an online ‘impartial, user-friendly platform that helps students to make the best choices’. It helps the students throughout their school career to build a suitable post 16 pathway and beyond. The programme builds and develops knowledge and skills from identifying strengths to work experience support to CV writing. Ultimately ensuring choice and opportunity for all.

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: [email protected]