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The Palmer Catholic Academy

The Palmer Catholic Academy

Curriculum

Learning is the purpose of our academy

Curriculum Statement

The academy’s vision is modelled in our curriculum.  The Palmer Catholic Academy is a modern academy embracing traditional values, a strong Catholic ethos, a commitment to high academic standards and a respect for cultural diversity.

Our curriculum is based upon the guiding principles of:

  • A spiritual and moral ethos

  • An innovative curriculum  

  • Recognised academic success

  • Clear rules governing behaviour

  • Extra-curricular activities and enrichment

  • Up-to-date technology and facilities

For our students to compete in a global economy, we offer a wide range of subjects and offer guidance, support and impartial advice for the choices they make.

Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum is delivered by our subject specialists to challenge all students, to ensure learning is at the heart of our lessons and to enable our students to meet and exceed their expected grades so that all students have the opportunity for a successful and rewarding future.

We are dedicated to delivering a curriculum with breadth and depth that allows all of our students to be able to achieve the following:

Individual achievement

  • to provide opportunities for students’ personal, moral and spiritual development

  • to ensure students achieve their personal best academically

Prepared for life

  • to motivate & inspire which leads to a lasting curiosity for learning and development

  • to prepare students for further and higher education, whether academic or vocational

  • to inform students to make reasoned choices for a suitable career

Promote community participation

  • to ensure students are prepared for life in modern Britain

  • to offer a range of extra-curricular opportunities to develop student’s cultural capital and an appreciation of subjects beyond its examination content

  • to work with the community to promote local, national and global awareness

Curriculum Implementation

At The Palmer Catholic Academy we implement a two week timetable, with three 100 minute lessons per day.  The importance of this time is to ensure that the following occur regularly:

  • lessons are planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards defined end-points

  • well planned and targeted questioning to challenge misperceptions and deepen understanding

  • adapting and framing content so that it is accessible to every student

  • challenge so that students over time develop their learning skills, self-assessment skills and resilience

  • regular testing and progress checks to assess, inform and improve through our DIRT policy

  • educating our students so they understand that education widens their career choices

  • activities to develop strong literacy, numeracy and creative skills

Key Stage 3 [KS3]

Our KS3 curriculum aims to ensure that we recognise and build on the learning already taken place and ensure that our students maximise their progress and learning potential. We want to challenge and motivate all our students and encourage them to become active learners to prepare them for the demands of the GCSE and A-Level curriculum.

Careful attention is paid to the sequence of when knowledge is taught and subject leaders work actively to review this aspect regularly so that our students are well placed to access future GCSE exams and content.  A selection of students receive additional targeted support to close the gap between them and their peers. 

All students study a broad and balanced range of subjects. A two year KS3 means lessons are fast paced and engaging. A strong core of compulsory subjects gives students the relevant skills to successfully progress onto Level 2 qualifications. The traditional core of English, Maths, Science, Humanities and Languages is complemented by an extensive range of subjects, including:  Art, PE, Photography, Drama, Catering, Music and Computer Science. Students study two modern foreign languages being French and Spanish.

Key Stage 4 [KS4]

The aim of our curriculum at KS4 is to equip our students with the skills and qualifications necessary for them to fulfil their full potential.

Our three year KS4 allows for more time in the core subjects and greater depth of study and understanding in all subjects.  Our curriculum offers flexibility and choice within a guided structure. In response to government curriculum changes, the options are fewer than in previous years but allow more time to enable study in greater depth and breadth.

As a Catholic academy, it is vitally important that all pupils study GCSE Religious Education.  We believe that the curriculum should allow for personalised choices. We strive to design a broad and balanced curriculum model during KS4. We offer subjects that allow for a range of Post-16 pathways.  These subjects include:

Core

  • GCSE English Language - Core

  • GCSE English Literature - Core

  • GCSE Mathematics - Core

  • GCSE Combined Science or Triple Sciences

  • GCSE Religious Education

 

Options pool

  • GCSE Computer Science

  • GCSE History

  • GCSE Geography

  • GCSE Spanish

  • GCSE French

  • GCSE History

  • GCSE Media

  • GCSE Art

  • GCSE Business Studies

  • GCSE and VCert Physical Education

  • GCSE Music

  • GCSE Hospitality and Catering

  • GCSE Psychology

  • VCert Drama

  • BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology

 

At KS4 students will study the following subjects, depending on their chosen pathway

        

Pathway 1 - English Baccalaureate

Pathway 2

  • English & English Literature

  • Maths

  • Combined or Triple Science

  • Religious Education

  • 1 Foreign Language from options pool

  • 1 Humanity Subject from options pool

  • PE

  • PSHE

  • 1 subject from the options pool

  • English & English Literature

  • Maths

  • Combined or Triple Science

  • Religious Education

  • 1 Humanity Subject from options pool

  • PE

  • PSHE

  • 2 subjects from the options pool

 

Key Stage 5 [KS5]

We aim to provide a secure, flexible and stimulating learning environment where students can access a broad and balanced curriculum. 

Students study three A-Levels (with scope for four subjects for any student who desires to pursue more competitive university courses) from a balanced range of facilitating and creative subjects. The curriculum is delivered by experts who foster a thirst for knowledge, a passion for their subject and a love of learning.

The curriculum is individualised according to the strengths, preferences and learning needs of each student. We recognise and celebrate the progress and achievements of every student. 

The wider sixth form curriculum encourages students to be responsible for themselves and others, developing an awareness of the world in which they live and a positive attitude towards life. Leadership skills are encouraged through volunteering opportunities such as the mentoring of younger students.

Our intent is to empower students to develop students’ self-esteem. We aim to promote pupils’ physical, spiritual, moral and cultural development and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. 

Curriculum Impact 

The impact of the school’s curriculum is measured through several means:

 

  • outcomes for students at GCSE in Y11 and Year 13

  • progress and attainment data for current year groups

  • destinations data (Post-16 and Post-18)

  • NEET data

  • attendance and punctuality data

  • behaviour and merits

  • engagement in enrichment activities

  • progress towards the Gatsby benchmarks

Wider Curriculum

Talents are nurtured, not only in the classroom, but through the broad range of extra-curricular opportunities. These opportunities enable personal and social development, develop citizenship and community work.

These include:

 

  • local and international trips, e.g. Lourdes pilgrimage, ski trip to America & History department's Normandy trip

  • residential and day retreats

  • Duke of Edinburgh Award's scheme

  • The Duke of York ‘Inspiring Digital Enterprise’ Award

  • fundraising events

  • charity and community events

  • supporting others through peer mentoring and student leadership

  • representing the school through sports teams

  • Sports Leadership Awards scheme

  • STEM days

  • career activities

  • Ten:Ten workshops - SRE

  • mentoring programmes, e.g. The West Ham Foundation and Box Up Crime