Bede Academy is a Christian ethos school for the whole community. Our curriculum is the sum of all planned activity within the academy and is the vehicle through which we deliver our vision; namely excellence in character development, learning across the curriculum and service to our community.
Our all-through curriculum is:
…knowledge-rich with clearly defined, coherent progression which strengthens schema to enable all students to secure ambitious curriculum goals;
…enabling as all students have access to the whole curriculum and students master fundamentals in reading, writing and mathematics;
…responsive as assessment identifies security of learning and students are supported to achieve our curriculum goals;
…inspiring as it takes students beyond their own experience, offers opportunity for creativity, and enables them to understand their identity in Blyth and beyond;
…transformative as by developing character, we build learners who exemplify the Core Virtues and make a positive contribution to their community.
Our students will value the power of knowledge and questioning. We choose to teach knowledge that yields the greatest cognitive benefit. Our curriculum provides a knowledge-rich program of study which is increasingly rigorous and is flexible enough to be adapted to meet students’ needs.
Knowledge is what we already know about our subjects. It comes from centuries of learning, and from the research of universities and subject associations. It is powerful because it enables children to interpret the subject (and ultimately the world): it is our role to share this knowledge and all our students should be exposed to it. It is fair and just that this should be so.
Our curriculum enables all students to acquire knowledge that takes them beyond their own experience. It is knowledge students may not have equal access to at home, in their community, family or friends. As such, this knowledge is the right of all students.
Students naturally see a subject in terms of its substantive knowledge – the facts and ideas that experts in the subject have established. In addition to this information, however, disciplinary knowledge is required. Disciplinary knowledge addresses how that knowledge was established, its degree of certainty and how it continues to be revised by scholars, artists or professional practice. It is that part of the subject where pupils understand each discipline as a tradition of enquiry with its own distinctive pursuit of truth. The age and stage at which students are exposed in any depth to disciplinary knowledge varies with the subject, but the point is that we wish our students not simply to learn about history or science but to become historians and scientists.
Our curriculum considers disciplinary specific, powerful ways of thinking that are developed through sustained engagement with the subject. Examples are inverse operations in mathematics, cause and effect in science, structure and agency in sociology, provenance and context in history, central tendency and dispersion in statistics.
The curriculum is structured and progressive, focusing on building to advanced levels of knowledge. This approach is particularly important in subjects like mathematics, science and languages, where some concepts can only be understood if other concepts have been taught first. Even in a subject like history where some units might stand alone, the development of discipline requires vertical integration; advanced skills build on more basic skills, and these must be mastered first.
Optimal order of content needs careful consideration within and across subjects to promote the development of capabilities across subjects. “As a trivial example, it might be a good idea if students learned about graphs in mathematics before they are needed in the science classroom”. Judicious selection of the optimal amount of content each year is vital so as not to overload students but ensure retention in the long-term memory. The curriculum is interleaved to ensure that knowledge sticks and students are given the opportunity to develop expertise.
We overcome students’ barriers to progress by ensuring that every student has competence in literacy, reads widely and develops numeracy. They will master the basics and be supported when they fall short. All students will be appropriately challenged. Planning for challenge is not about just making work as hard as possible; the curriculum at each stage should present an appropriate element of challenge. To pitch work correctly requires an understanding of what students already know, and an appreciation of the misconceptions that they may bring to their learning.
The curriculum creates learners who are compassionate, responsible and become leaders of good character, exemplifying the Bede Values to make a positive contribution to their community.
Our curriculum extends our students’ experiences, and create lasting memories, by ensuring all students participate in character and leadership development each year as well as sport, music, charitable and extra-curricular opportunities. We actively seek to increase cultural capital by ensuring all students have access to enrichment opportunities.
Our curriculum equips students with a strong identity and resilience so that they are empowered to thrive and to overcome difficulty.
Our curriculum instils in students a love of learning. This means that students must not only learn what to study, they must also develop intellectual character, and thus become confident, self-disciplined individuals capable of engaging in a lifelong process of learning.
Our curriculum fosters a sense of citizenship, history and belonging for all students, ensuring that via our wide range of opportunities they contribute to and discover more of the richness of their community locally, nationally and internationally.
The curriculum is designed to raise students’ aspirations, by creating carefully planned opportunities to experience a wide range of enrichment, including careers provision. We match students’ own interests and aspirations to local enterprise areas of growth.
Our curriculum looks outward to the opportunities and needs of Blyth and beyond. This is particularly evidenced through STEM links to the Port of Blyth, renewable energy industries and leading-edge technology firms. There is a transformative level of investment in local industry, and particularly in creation of high skilled job opportunities. We would like our students to be equipped with the character and expertise to capitalise on this investment.
We increase participation in community events for our students by ensuring explicit links to local charitable organisations, industries as well as routes into Universities. These are directly built into our curriculum and CEIAG.
For further information about the curriculum contact the academic team