Our Curriculum Intent
Newton Abbot College’s intent is to deliver a knowledge-rich and broad seven year curriculum that is cohesive, cumulative and highly sequenced. It is ambitious and challenging; yet supportive and personalised through careful scaffolding and chunked lesson content. Our curriculum is designed with embedded knowledge acquisition and long term memory in mind. Students’ knowledge, understanding and skills and their ability to apply them in a practical and/or exams-based context are cemented by frequent and systematic interleaving of topics, regular low stake assessments, spaced practice and purposeful feedback for progress.
We believe our curriculum will engage and inspire our students; help them discover their aspirations and own unique talents; and develop and hone their aptitude for truly independent learning so that they are fully prepared for the world of work, and for our sixth form provision or other post-16 providers as best meets the learners’ needs and future aspirations.
The intent behind our curriculum is for it to facilitate our students’ growth, so that they have high aspirations and flourish in their ambitions so that they can imagine what’s possible, encouraging their curiosity, building a love of learning and deepening their critical thinking ability. Our curriculum develops resilience in our learners by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and understanding to be independent and responsible members of society who have improved life chances and make positive contributions to their community. Our curriculum is viewed as a progressive seven year learning journey with a strong focus on the key concepts within subject disciplines so that we build on our learners’ experiences at primary school and their individual needs so we can ensure equity and equality of opportunity so that they can all enjoy a successful transition to post-16 at Newton Abbot College’s sixth form or other relevant providers. On a moral level, it is a curriculum that reflects our societal values of personal development, spirituality, economic well-being, healthy lifestyle, inclusivity and democracy so that our students can live successful and happy lives in a culturally diverse modern world, feeling confident that they have grown intellectually, morally, spiritually, aesthetically, creatively, emotionally and physically because of their time at Newton Abbot College.
Our curriculum is:
- Balanced – all subjects taught are equally valuable and valued.
- Rigorous – it allows students to study subjects in depth, so that they develop subject habits of mind and a resilient and independent approach to learning.
- Coherent – we make connections within and between subjects and the combination of students’ experiences mutually complement each other and reinforce learning.
- Vertically integrated – so that progression is seen across the seven years, taking what students already know and building on that knowledge so that it feeds into what needs to be learned later.
- Appropriate – it has the right balance of aspiration and challenge with support and personalisation to ensure that each individual need is met.
- Scaffolded – learning is chunked so that we are stretching all students and supporting our cohort to achieve their best.
- Inclusive – it caters for all students, our high prior attaining students, our SEND students, our disadvantaged students and other groups of students so that all are able to achieve and imagine what’s possible.
- Focused – the seven-year learning journey focuses on the big ideas and threshold concepts that enable all learners to build schema and widen their knowledge on a deeper level.
- Relevant – to the situational and contextual interest patterns of our students; our curriculum will get students interested in things they didn’t know they were interested in.
Implementation of our Curriculum
Our curriculum is designed so that it maximises the likelihood that our learners will remember and connect the steps they’ve been taught by following a progression model that builds on prior learning, ensuring comprehension of substantive and disciplinary knowledge with regular opportunities for interleaving and deliberate retrieval practice to ensure that knowledge is profoundly retained and not merely encountered.
Our subject teams of reflective and specialist practitioners work collaboratively to plan and deliver schemes of learning that construct a clear and coherent subject specific curriculum over the five to seven years that enables students to make links within and across topics. Our schemes of learning intuitively build our students’ knowledge, skills and understanding over time, incorporating regular, personalised and formative assessment of their learning so that we are fully confident that progress is being made and knowledge and skills are firmly embedded in our students’ long term memories.
Our school year is divided into three knowledge cycles of approximately twelve weeks. Each cycle comprises ten teaching weeks, during which students cover new topics in preparation for examination at the end of Year 11 and 13, followed by two assessment weeks when all students in Years 7-11 in all subjects complete exam based tests/other assessments, to analyse their strengths and weaknesses in current and previous knowledge cycles. This is followed by feedback weeks in which teachers re-teach areas that students have struggled with in the assessments/exam-based tests.
Our broad, rich and balanced curriculum incorporates English Language, English Literature, Maths, Science, French, Spanish, History, Geography, Values, Religious Studies, Dance, Music, Computing, PE, Art, Design Technology and Drama at KS3. At KS4 our core curriculum includes English Language, English Literature, Maths, Combined Science, History or Geography, French or Spanish, Core PE, Values and Religious Studies.
Our option courses are a mixture of GCSE and vocational specifications to guarantee a personalised curriculum and therefore maximise student achievements. Students can choose from: History or Geography and the vast majority of students continue with the language they studied in KS3, either French or Spanish. Students can then chose to study two further subjects from: Music, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Separate Sciences, Fine Art, Photography, Design Technology, Food Nutrition and Preparation, Performing Arts, Drama, BTEC Sport, Computer Science, Statistics, Business, iMedia, Public Services, Health & Social Care, Hair and Beauty, Media Studies and Religious Studies.
At Sixth Form we offer our students a broad selection of subject choices delivered through A level and alternative academic courses including: English Language, English Literature, Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Applied Biology, Psychology, Applied Psychology, Business, Economics, History, Politics, Geography, Sociology, Religious Studies, Fine Art, Photography, Music, Music Production, Drama, Performing Arts, Catering, Product Design, Computer Studies, IT, Sport Coaching, Btec Sport Level 3, Health & Social Care, Hair & Beauty. Students’ choice of studies, is complemented by a Life Skills programme of study and the opportunity to complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
Our breadth of choice at each key stage is reviewed each year to ensure it offers what our students need and wish to study.
We deliver our Religious Education, Relationships & Sex Education, PSHE and SMSC curriculums in a five-year programme of learning that all students participate in, delivered in Religious Studies & Values lessons at KS3 and in Religions & Values lessons at KS4.
The intent of our ‘Values’ Curriculum at Newton Abbot College is to help each student experience becoming the best version of themselves and to enjoy all that life has to offer. This includes their social, physical, spiritual, relational and academic development and means that all students:
- Have the opportunity to experience a balanced and varied curriculum allowing students to study a wide variety of topics related to all aspects of their development as human beings.
- Develop their understanding of how these topics relate to our values of courage, perseverance, hard work, achievement, kindness, respect, pride and aspiration.
- Have the opportunity to explore a range of faiths thus developing their understanding of others’ beliefs and developing their own world view.
- Make positive informed choices around their health, well-being and diet thus taking responsibility for their own physical and mental health.
- Link the benefits of a healthy diet, physical activity, self-esteem and healthy relationships to mental and physical well-being.
- Develop their ability to debate and discuss difficult topics demonstrating their respect and tolerance of all views.
- Understand how British Values impact on their lives and the role of democracy in the modern world.
- Understand how to stay safe in this modern world and minimise risk.
- Contribute to the school community in a positive way and demonstrate their ability and commitment to social change within the wider world.
For a detailed breakdown of our curriculum across years 7-11 for 2022-2023, please see below: