At Ash Hill Academy, our curriculum is built on 3 pillars:
1. That knowledge is important to all thinking.
2. That we understand new things in relation to what we already know.
3. That retrieving knowledge helps us to remember it for longer.
At Ash Hill Academy we are passionate about giving our learners the qualifications, skills and qualities required to be socially mobile. This means that irrespective of their background they have the chance to fulfill their potential and progress into their chosen career. The focus of our curriculum model is to ensure that each student achieves a broad and balanced exposure to all aspects of learning, this focus reflects our unrelenting desire for all students to achieve the results they need in future life.
‘High levels of help, support and guidance - it is reactive and reflective. All student receive high levels of personalised support, something that is rarely seen in mainstream secondary schools and usually only available in specialist settings.’ Inclusion Quality Mark 2019
At Key Stage 3 (KS3) our intent is to ensure students have the opportunity to develop a rich and full knowledge base from which they will benefit in later years. This is achieved by students participating in an extensive range of subjects including; music, the arts, physical education, languages, humanities, science and of course maths and English. Where a student joins the academy with lower than expected levels in maths or English, additional support in these subjects is provided, both within the curriculum by intensive support and through bespoke curriculum interventions. These intervention are bespoke to each student and may incorporate foundation maths or literacy English packages. We work closely with our feeder primary schools to ensure the pace of progress is maintained as students’ transition between KS2 to KS3. All students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities through our ‘pledges’ program. This requires every student to take an active role in the school and wider community. We encourage students to participate in charity events, artistic productions, residential visits and sporting events as well as a range of subject based activities.
‘The knowledge and expertise of the inclusion team is outstanding – the depth of knowledge about students, their families and beyond is extremely impressive.’ Inclusion Quality Mark 2019
As students move into KS4 they opt to specialise and focus on the subjects, which they feel, will benefit them most as they transition into further education and/ or training. The flexibility of our curriculum model allows the academy to implement the curriculum in a bespoke manner per each pupils needs. Numerous ‘pathways’ are available to our students, which allows each student to fully maximise their potential within a curriculum tailored to meet their needs and choices. At Ash Hill Academy we spend a significant amount of time talking with students, their parents/carers as well as any relevant external support to ensure that the curriculum meets individual needs. Regular Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) drop down days are used to support this process.
‘The work the academy is undertaking in pursuing career opportunities for our students is impressive!’ Alumni 2019‘
The curriculum model has been successful, the result of which is a three year positive trend on GCSE outcomes. The flexible curriculum has also played a significant role in stabalising/improving attendance, lowering persistence absence, lowering fixed term exclusions and reported instances of poor behaviour. It is of great pride that disadvantaged learners at Ash Hill Academy are now in line with non-disadvantaged students, both cohorts now at national average.
Alongside the taught curriculum we have developed a comprehensive series of drop down days giving all our students the chance to gain a better understanding of themselves and the world of work through STEM days/ Life Skills and careers sessions supported by our growing alumni. These enrichment days/ sessions often incorporate professionals, external businesses, training providers, FE colleges and universities. Students are better informed than they ever have been and so make more thoughtful choices about their future. The impact of this work has resulted in our NEET figure reducing from 3.1% in 2016 to 0% in 2019. This success is at the heart of our vision and values of improving social mobility in the community and contributing to closing the income gap. (for further information, see https://www.ashhillacademy.org.uk/ceiag)
‘The curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to study a broad range of creative, artistic and academic subjects. Pupils have access to a number of extra-curricular opportunities after school.‘ Ofsted 2018
The impact of this approach is seen through the continued progress made by all our learners. Our academy is becoming the academy of choice in the local area with numbers on role increasing rapidly. Over the past 3 years numbers in years 7, 8 and 9 have increased on average by 35% per year. Parents and the community have clearly bought in to the school’s ethos and share our common vision for continued success.
‘parents valued the information they were provided by the academy, using the information to support learning from home‘ Leading Parent Partnership Award 2019
For an overview of the curriculum please click on the link to the statutory pages. If you have any issues or questions regarding the curriculum please contact Mr. Neil Cairns, Vice Principal, on 01302 847000