Curriculum
Teaching and learning

Our aim is that Teaching and Learning at The Hastings Academy is inspirational and underpinned by our ethos of Pride Through Success. This means that all staff involved in teaching and learning constantly strive to maximise learning time to ensure that all students can make outstanding progress. We have nine essentials, which underpin daily teaching, the TEEP learning model and the Feedback for Learning policy.

The Subject Leaders consistently lead their teams to provide inspirational and engaging learning experiences with students at the heart of their planning and delivery. The Academy fosters a collaborative approach to teaching and learning that draws on best practice from both within and outside the Academy ensuring that lessons are fully inclusive and based on current academic research. This in turn creates an enterprising learning environment for all and supports students towards making exceptional progress.

Students in Key Stage 3 will study English, Mathematics, Science, French, Geography, History, Spanish, Art, Design & Technology, Drama, Music, PSHE and Physical Education. In Years 7 and 8 students also have a full programme that supports literacy and numeracy with one library lesson each week where they develop their reading through the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme. We are fully compliant with the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum structure.

Across almost all subjects from Year 7, students are grouped according to ability to enable them to be fully supported by teaching staff and make good progress. The groupings are regularly reviewed following data captures and consequently are responsive to student need. Setting continues into Key Stage 4 within the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science.

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At the end of Year 8 students select their examination preferences through 14-19 Guided Pathways. They are supported in this by a comprehensive, tailor made Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance programme. During this crucial stage in their education, we encourage our students to both consider their post 16 education and to value academic, practical and creative subjects. This provides a well-rounded curriculum that will put each child in good stead for the rest of their lives.

All students study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Science, PSHE and Physical Education. Students are then guided to select four further qualifications, currently from Art, Art Graphics, Computing, Creative Digital Production, Dance, Drama, Finance, Food Technology, French, Geography, History, Music, Photography, Resistant Materials, Spanish and Triple Science. We are fully compliant with the Key Stage 4 National Curriculum structure.

In addition, a small number of students will have the option to support their learning through in-school work with the SEN department or through the provision of a vocational curriculum in partnership with our external providers. This bespoke provision will help secure appropriate progression to post 16 education at a 6th Form or college locally.

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Career Education, Advice, Information and Guidance (CEAIG)

Students are encouraged to study a broad and balanced curriculum that will support them in the development of both academic qualifications and the essential skills and attributes to support their future studies and career of choice. We are committed to providing exceptionally high quality careers information and guidance and driving our students to challenge themselves to reach their potential throughout their time at the Academy.

Together with My Future Starts Here, our external Careers Service provider, we support students with their subject choices at both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. The Academy provides a fully comprehensive 14-19 Guided Pathways Programme ensuring Year 8 students receive the very best careers education, advice, information and guidance over subject choices for Key Stage 4 courses.

Personalised learning

Knowing every child and their needs is at the core of our philosophy: we work on the principle that every child can be successful, and look to create opportunities for every student to maintain a sense of achievement and excel in their studies. Differentiated teaching and personalised learning provides for each individual helping them to be the very best they can.

Gifted and Talented

Our gifted and talented provision is not about identifying winners but about making winners out of ordinary people.

Meeting the needs of the gifted and talented is fundamentally about building on quality general school provision, rather than something entirely different. A student may be very able in some areas, but may still appear on the Special Educational Needs (SEND) register in recognition of behavioural, social, physical, sensory or specific learning difficulties.

Our students have a range of abilities. “Gifted and Talented” is the term often applied to those young people who are achieving, or who have the potential to achieve, at a level significantly beyond the rest of their peer group. This refers to the upper end of the ability range in most classes or cohorts. We recognise that gifted and talented students are individuals with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. To ensure that all are challenged and engaged, we offer a whole host of opportunities for students. All are encouraged to continually discover something new. We offer termly Challenge Lectures, including topics such as the ‘Human Body’, ‘The Warrior Gene’, ‘The History of the English Language’. We encourage parents and our wider community to both deliver and attend these lectures. Some students are encouraged to write an academic “Pride Dissertation” and with the support of Villiers Park, the Educational Trust and Sixth Formers, students in Years 7, 8 and 9 are supported in developing the skills to write academically to a high level.

To consolidate and extend their learning, all students are expected to complete Homework assignments outside of school hours. The Academy believes that Homework plays a vital role in raising attainment of all students from Year 7 onwards. In Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8), core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science set work once every week. All other subjects set work using a Project-Based Learning approach that is linked to schemes of work. In Key Stage 4 (Years 9 to 11), all subjects set work in and around the specific course being followed. This work supports both Controlled Assessment tasks and the preparation for end of course examinations, in the form of revision-focussed activities.

All teaching and learning at the Academy is supported by our digital vision and students are encouraged to use digital devices in ways that enhance their learning and deepen understanding.

The Wider Curriculum of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education

We recognise that students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development plays a significant part, not only in their ability to learn and achieve, but in their ability to relate fully to, and access the world in which we live. We therefore aim to provide an education that offers opportunities for students to explore and develop their own values, whilst recognising that those of others may differ from their own.

Beliefs, understanding of social and cultural traditions, appreciation of diversity, spiritual awareness, a positive caring attitude and high standards of personal behaviour are all critical skills and attributes we nurture. These are encouraged and developed through both individual subjects and the wider curriculum. All curriculum areas make a contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students, and opportunities for this are planned in each of these areas. Beliefs, values, principles and spirituality are investigated across the curriculum. The integrity and spirituality of faith backgrounds are also explored and respected and the diversity of spiritual traditions is fully recognised, with students being given access to alternative views to their own.

Outside the taught curriculum there are a whole host of experiences and opportunities that foster spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Much revolves round the pastoral system in a coordinated programme of assemblies and tutor activities which address wide ranging topics from current affairs to diverse religions, festivals and celebrations. Students are encouraged to see their place within the Academy and the wider world further through contributions to activities such as voting, competitions and charitable events. Trips and visits also support this development with a whole host of different activities run outside the taught day, which offer experiences many of our learners would not otherwise have access to.

Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) is lifelong learning about sex, sexuality, emotions, relationships, and sexual health. It involves acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs, values and attitudes. We aim to empower young people, build self-esteem, offer a positive and open view of sex and sexuality and support sexual self-awareness, mutual acceptance and respect. SRE is firmly rooted in the Academy’s Personal, Social, Citizenship, Health and Economic Education Framework and is also delivered as part of other curricular areas such as Science. In PSHE, SRE lessons focus more on the emotional aspects of development and relationships, although the physical aspects of puberty and reproduction are also included. The Science National Curriculum is delivered by staff in the science department. These lessons are more concerned with the physical aspects of development and reproduction, although the importance of relationships is not forgotten.

The PSHE programme of study identifies the key skills and concepts that help prepare students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. Three broad core themes are covered: Health and Wellbeing, Relationships, and Living in the Wider World. The PSHE curriculum, together with the programme of assemblies and tutor time activities, work together to cover aspects of wider spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development.

Promoting British Values

The Hastings Academy is committed to serving its community. It recognises the multicultural, multi-faith and ever changing nature of the United Kingdom. We also understand the vital role we play in ensuring that individuals or groups within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly or illegally influence them. We follow equal opportunities guidance to guarantee our strong stance over discrimination, regardless of faith, gender, sexuality, political or financial status. We are dedicated to preparing students for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum and ensuring that the Academy promotes and reinforces British Values with all its students. A full document outlining how we promote British Values can be found here.