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 KS3 will study English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, French and Spanish, Design and Technology, Art, Music, Drama, PSHE and Physical Education. In years 7 and 8 students also have a full programme that supports literacy and numeracy with one library lesson per week where they progress their reading through the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme. We are fully compliant with the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum structure.

Across all subjects from year 7, students will be grouped according to ability to enable the students to make good progress and be fully supported by teaching staff. The groupings are reviewed following data captures and are, as such, responsive to student need. Setting continues into KS4 with the core subjects, English, Maths and Science.

At the end of year 8 students select their GCSE preferences through our 14-19 Guided Pathways Programme which is supported by a comprehensive tailor made Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance programme. During this crucial stage in their education, we encourage our students to consider post 16 education and the need to secure a blend of subjects which include the arts, as well as the academic subjects. This provides a well-rounded curriculum that will put them in good stead for the rest of their lives. All students study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Double Science, PSHE and core Physical Education. Students then select three further qualifications from History, Geography, Computing, ICT, Triple Science, Spanish, French, Fine Art, Photography, Textiles, Resistant Materials, Music, Drama, Dance, Health and Social Care, Media Studies or Food Technology. 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 the provision of a vocational curriculum in partnership with our external providers. This bespoke provision will help secure progression to post 16 education at one of our local providers.

Career Education, Advice, Information and Guidance (CEAIG)

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

The Academy provides a very comprehensive 14-19 Guided Pathways Programme, to ensure that Y8 students receive the very best careers education, advice, information and guidance. Together with My Future Starts Here, an external Careers Service provider, we support students with their subject choices at GCSE and KS5.

Personalised learning

Knowing every child is at the core of our Academy and as such our vision is to create the opportunity for every student to excel and have a sense of achievement, working on the principle that every child can be successful. Our differentiated teaching and personalised learning provides for every student and helps them to be better rather than to be the best.

SEND, Gifted and Talented

Our gifted and talented provision “is not about identifying winners but it’s about making winners out of ordinary people.”

At The Hastings Academy there are students with 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/cohorts. We recognise that gifted and talented students are individuals, with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. To ensure that all individuals are challenged and engaged, we offer a whole host of opportunities for pupils; all pupils are encouraged to attend Challenge lectures and discover something new. We offer termly Challenge lectures and thus far we have had lectures on the ‘Human Body’, ‘The Warrior Gene’, ‘The History of the English language’ and many more. We encourage parents and our wider community to attend these lectures or deliver them. As well as this some pupils are encouraged to write an academic dissertation – Pride Dissertation. With the support of Villiers Park, and educational trust and Sixth Form students, pupils in Y7, 8 and 9 are supported in how to develop and write an academically.

To consolidate and extend their learning, students are expected to complete Independent Study assignments outside of school hours. The Academy believes that Independent Study 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, Maths and Science will set work once every week. All other subjects will set work in a Project-Based Learning approach in support of their individual schemes of work. In Key Stage 4 (years 9 to 11), all subjects will set work in and around the specific course being followed. The work will support both Controlled Assessment Unit 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.

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 groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly or illegally influence them. We follow equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, gender, sexuality, political or financial status or similar. We are dedicated to preparing students for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum and ensuring that The Hastings Academy promotes and reinforces British Values to all its students. A full document outlining how we promote British Values can be found on the website

The Wider Curriculum

We recognise that the development of pupils spiritually, morally, socially and culturally plays a significant part, not only in their ability to learn and achieve but in their ability to relate fully to and have the ability to access the world they live in. 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, spiritual awareness, high standards of personal behaviour including a positive caring attitude towards other people, an understanding of their social and cultural traditions and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of other cultures are all critical skills and attributes that we nurture, encourage and develop through our subject and wider curriculum. All curriculum areas make a contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students, and opportunities for this will be planned in each area of the curriculum. Beliefs, values, principles and spirituality will therefore be explored across the curriculum. The integrity and spirituality of faith backgrounds will be respected and explored. The diversity of spiritual traditions will be recognised, and pupils will be given access to alternative views.

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 the PSCHE curriculum, 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 PSCHE 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, namely Health and Wellbeing, Relationships, and Living in the Wider World. The PSCHE 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 over the course of the academic year.