Curriculum

Curriculum Statement 

The curriculum at The Hastings Academy is broad and balanced and designed to enable all students to achieve their ambition to reach their full potential and develop a wide balance of cultural experiences along their journey to becoming well-rounded informed citizens, who contribute positively to society  The intent of the curriculum is designed to achieve , relevant, engaging and enjoyable learning, which encourages all students to develop their physical, intellectual and personal qualities to the full.   

It is our mission to empower our young learners to take charge of all aspects of their lives in a rapidly changing and competitive world in accordance with their individual talents, interests and aspirations.   We will through our curriculum, enable our students to leave school with qualifications, skills, knowledge, pride and a sense of direction, achievement and purpose, for them to effectively contribute to and access their world of further learning and work.   We will endeavour to develop them as independent and resourceful young people who will be well equipped to take advantage of their future studies and to become leaders within their chosen field of work. 

Our curriculum and pedagogical aims are to: 

  • Ensure high quality teaching and learning experiences  

  • Provide high quality careers education, information, advice and guidance. 

  • Have high expectations of all students in all areas of school life in line with their abilities 

  • Encourage students to be confident, have self-belief, self-esteem and a sense of individual purpose 

  • Value all students as individuals to support them achieving their full academic and personal potential 

  • Provide an environment to allow students to develop moral and spiritual values 

  • Assist students to develop critical abilities, independence of thought and a life-long enthusiasm of learning 

  • Establish a mutual respect between all members of the school community 

  • Create a positive, secure and purposeful learning atmosphere 

  • Recognise that mistakes provide a learning opportunity 

  • Foster links with our parents,  carers and the wider community 

  • Ensure students’ well-being and promote creativity, tolerance, empathy, equality and self-worth 

  • Encourage excellence in every area of academy life 

  • Provide learning and experiences which evidences different pathways to success 

Our local area is not without its challenges: on average 50% of our cohort is classified as Pupil Premium; the impact of the coronavirus crisis on our community has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of people in Hastings claiming unemployment benefits including JobSeekers Allowance (JSA) and Universal Credit (UC) as their income has fallen and people are unable to work; the ward of Baird, where many of our students live, is one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the south east. 

We feel it is imperative that we equip our students with the skills and knowledge to secure employment and stability in their future.  To meet these challenges, we have designed a curriculum which provides opportunity of choice, enabling each student to be curious about and appreciate their cultural heritage, understand the needs and opportunities of the modern world and raise the ambitions of all learners.    

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 comprehensive 14-19 Guided Pathways Programme ensuring Year 9 students receive the very best careers education, advice, information and guidance over subject choices for Key Stage 4 courses. In Y9 and Y11 students receive 1:1 career guidance interviews to ensure that they have time to reflect and consider their pathways and future career ambitions.

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.

Through our PRE programme (Philosophy, Religious education) we promote positive moral 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 further 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 Personal Development lessons (PD), 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 PD 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 PD 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. 

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.

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.