Building upon firm foundations as young people transition to secondary education.
At the GLC we are collaboratively working across phases of education to ensure that we provide the best possible start for all children and all to aim high and excel. To achieve this, the Gateway Academy is working with its primary partners within the GLC to align the primary curriculum to provide a consistent foundation of skills, knowledge and understanding to support rapid progress and continuity as students embark on the secondary curriculum.
To ensure that all young people make a smooth transition from the primary to the secondary phase, the GLC has established a rigorous transition programme, which aims to provide a seamless transition from primary to secondary settings. The key features are as follows:
- A three-week transition at the Gateway Academy at the end of Year 6 for all students [critically their Year 6 teachers and LSAs join them at Gateway and team-teach with Year 7 teachers to ensure that high expectation and continuity of delivery are achieved].
- A year-long transition programme for those pupils identified as vulnerable. Consisting of regular trips to Gateway to acclimatise
- Saturday transition: four Saturdays in June and July [at the end of Year 6] are devoted to bespoke activities for key vulnerable students
- Summer school: this takes place in the last week of August and is open to all students starting in Year 7. It consists of a wide range of workshops, trips and activities with a focus on developing, literacy and numeracy skills as well as fostering self-confidence and self-esteem.
A vision for all students as they start their secondary education
During the secondary phase of education all GLC staff will help every young person to:
- Dream and to set goals for the future whilst being inspired in the present to work to achieve them;
- Develop a sense of belonging in an environment where every young person is valued, celebrated and acknowledged as a unique individual;
- Takes responsibility for who and what they want to become;
- Be disciplined and diligent, polite, considerate, supportive of others, ambitious for themselves, their school, their peers, their family and their community;
- Have a seamless curriculum from Year 6 into 7, that is the product of joint working between primary and secondary teachers;
- Be tracked at every step of the way with rigorous intervention strategies applied as necessary so that they make outstanding progress;
- Read increasingly complex texts and find meaning and inference within the text;
- Have a firm grasp of numbers and learns to apply this knowledge in an increasingly challenging and sophisticated manner;
- Use and apply their ICT knowledge, skills and understanding confidently and competently in their learning and every day contexts;
- Develop personal and interpersonal skills to allow them to take control of their own learning and development;
- Understand their place within their community and strive to make it the best it can be.
The Gateway Academy with its GLC partners will work tirelessly so that:
- Every student has the opportunity to study a broad and balanced curriculum and achieve at least the Government’s benchmark standard of 5 GCSE qualifications including English and Mathematics.
- Every student develops an enthusiasm and desire to learn new things;
- Every student has the opportunity to excel in sport and the arts within an inclusive culture;
- Every student is exposed to teaching that is outstanding;
- Every student has access to information technologies to connect them safely to the wider world, helping them to understand their place in an ever changing globalised society but without ever losing sight of their history and heritage.
The GLC is working hard to ensure that all of the below are achieved:
- The Gateway Academy is a fantastic school where all adults and young people can be different but equal;
- The Gateway Academy is a thriving place where people from all different backgrounds are equal, and where everyone matters whether boy or girl, settled or new, black or white.
- The Gateway Academy is developing a learning environment where all groups feel that they are treated fairly, and that they have responsibility to others that transcends the difference between them. An environment where people celebrate diversity and where they don’t see individual differences as a barrier to the success of the whole community.
The Secondary Curriculum
The curriculum for Years 7-8
In Year 7 and 8, the curriculum we have planned is as broad and balanced as possible. Providing students with opportunities to build upon their primary school studies, but to also have an entitlement to new experiences that will develop them physically, emotionally, linguistically, culturally and academically, and prepare them for their GCSE studies which at Gateway start in Year 9 via the option process.
At GA, we are working to group subjects so that students can make connections, apply their learning in different contexts and develop reasoning, creativity and problem solving skills across a broad range of disciplines. To this end, the following subjects have created 'learning alliances':
- Science, technology, engineering and maths work to plan the curriculum together and are known as STEM subjects.
- Drama works closely with the English faculty to deliver key aspects of literacy development. Drama is also a key vehicle at Gateway for exploring important issues such as e-safety, drug abuse, anti-bullying and radicalisation.
- PE works closely with the Food department to ensure students are aware of the link between nutrition, exercise and health. Gateway has chosen food studies for both year 7 and 8 in response to the high levels of obesity locally and the significantly lower average life expectancy in Tilbury. Food studies will focus on developing practical skills to create healthy, affordable meals.
- The humanities [geography and history] will be taught in Year 7 and 8 as joint humanities. This will ensure that generic skills such as research and analysis are developed in a way that allows all students to apply them effectively in either a geographical or historic context.
- Art, design and technology (D&T) will be compulsory in Year 7, but will be part of an option group in Year 8, where students will select 2 subjects from, Art, D&T and Textiles.
- Dance will be compulsory in Year 7 but will be part of an option group in Year 9 where students will be able to select either dance or PE+. PE+ consists of health and leisure activities designed to meet the needs of different cohorts. Activities could include swimming, gym workouts, Zumba, yoga etc.
- GA has chosen food studies for both Year 7 and 8 in response to the high levels of obesity locally and the significantly lower average life expectancy in Tilbury. Food studies will focus on developing practical skill to create healthy, affordable meals.
The Gateway's approach to music is very different to most schools and has evolved through the Gateway CEO's position as a music educator, researcher and advisor for many years. Firstly, Gateway will work with GLC and other primary schools to ensure that the primary music curriculum provides all children with a sound basis, particularly linked to vocal skills, an understanding of musical elements and the exposure to key styles and genres. In Year 7, this will continue with a carefully structured course that will explore music over time and place through practical application of instrumental and vocal skills. Through this, students will develop a broad understanding of culture and style whilst developing confidence as performers (both as soloists and in ensemble). In Year 8, 'classroom music' will give way to opportunities for students to opt to learn a range of orchestral and band instruments through visiting peripatetic teachers. This will better prepare those who opt for the rigors of a GCSE course. The instrumental lessons will take place in extra and extended curriculum time at the end of the formal day.
The additional hour of learning time (released in Year 8 by music) will allow all students in Year 8 to study a modular business course leading to a level 1 qualification. The purpose of this is to address a locally identified priority for young people to better understand the world of finance, including managing debt and budgeting.
All students will study RE in Year 7 and Year 8 developing their knowledge and understanding of the relationship between religion and the wider world and express their personal responses and informed insights about identity, belonging, meaning, truths, values and commitments. RE will work closely with Humanities and the Pastoral curriculum to promote British values and encourage students to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.
In order to prepare students for their GCSE examinations, the core subjects of English, Maths and Science will plan the curriculum over a 5 year period with Year 7 acting as a foundation with a 'learning flight path' developed for every student so that they make better progress than other students nationally (given their individual starting point) and achieve highly at the end of Year 11.
The Year 7 and 8 curriculum will consist of the following subject areas:
- Combined humanities
- Drama (text based focusing on raising awareness of key societal issues)
- Music (in Year 7 for all) Instrumental studies (in Year 8 for those who opt)
- Finance studies (for all in Year 8)
- Dance (for all in Year 7 and part of an option block in Year 8 with PE+)
- Food studies
- Design and technology
Pre Year 11 public examinations
In order to better prepare student for the rigors of examinations at the end of Year 11, Gateway will implement a study skills programme from Year 7-11 that will include the following qualifications:
- Year 7 computing ECDL
- Year 8 level 1 Finance
- Year 9 statistics GCSE
- Year 10 Philosophy and Ethics [incorporating RE] GCSE
Year 9-11 Core curriculum and Options
At the start of Year 9 and through Years 10 and 11, the curriculum narrows slightly and students start their GCSE studies. However, we believe that students should be encouraged to opt for a range of subjects that continue to stimulate each area of the brain whilst preparing them for their post-16 studies; their chosen career and most importantly; to take their place in society where they can make a positive contribution.
We have consulted widely on 3 year examination courses [most schools will run GCSE courses over 2 years]. We believe that with the core and three option choices, students will have a broad and balanced range of courses and are likely to be more successful across the board with the additional hours that three year courses provide. We also believe that the agreed thematic curriculum of GLC primary schools which is closely aligned to the Year 7 and 8 curriculum provides seamless progression and continuity ensuring that by the end of Year 8, students are ready and well informed to make their choices for examination courses.
Core subjects in Year 9, 10 and 11
Core consists of subjects that we believe are essential for all young people for example we have included English literature because we believe that a focus on reading and comprehension will support learning across all subjects and will also support English language. Additionally we want all of our young people to develop a love for reading and to be exposed to great literature which is at the heart of our culture.
Core subjects are as follows:
- English language
- English literature
- Maths. (Statistics will be taught within maths and will be examined at GCSE level at the end of Year 9)
- Double science for all. (Triple for the more able)
- Philosophy and Ethics (incorporating RE) will be examined in Year 10
- PE core for all to continue to develop health and fitness.
The additional time created in Year 11, after students complete the Philosophy and Ethics course, will be used as booster time in which ever courses it is felt that students need some additional support in.
Option choices in Year 9, 10 and 11
‘Tapas’, a process of trying a range of courses and talking to older students and staff before selection takes place at the end of Year 8. This provides a good opportunity for all students, and their parents to make informed choices for future study.
Students will be able asked to select three subjects that they will study in addition to the core [one choice from the three option blocks]. One block will comprise mostly English Baccalaureate subjects to maximise the proportion of students fulfilling the EBacc requirements. However this block will contain other options. The GA has considered the matter of additional compulsory subjects [the Government is planning to legislate that a modern foreign language should become a core subject]. We have consulted with students, parents, staff and local business leaders and have decided that, whilst we will promote the value and benefits of all subjects, we will not compel students to take any subjects outside of the core. The GA has carefully chosen the subjects available to provide a balance between academic and vocational choices to meet the interests, post-16 progression routes, and career choices of as many students as possible.
The following Option subjects are available:
- Business Studies
- Computer Science
- Child Development
- Hair and Beauty
- Health and Social Care
- Hospitality and Catering
- Physical Education
- Textile Design
To ensure that the most able students who attend the GA are sufficiently challenged, the Grammar Stream has been created. This will operate from Year 7 through to Year 11. Students in this group would typically have achieved Level 5 or better in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Year 6 and will be targeted to achieve A / A* grades at GCSE.
The A Band
At the GA, we recognise that for a small number of students, the mainstream curriculum is not suitable and could act as a barrier to further progression. For targeted students we have designed a tailored curriculum which is aimed in Year 7 and 8 to accelerate literacy and numeracy to a point where students can access GCSE courses in Years 9-11. However, for the few for whom this is not appropriate, a carefully tailored range of subjects will be offered to best suit their developmental stage and to best prepare them for post-16 opportunities.
In Years 7 and 8 the curriculum will focus on developing literacy and numeracy. The curriculum will build upon the GLC primary thematic curriculum and will use content in subjects such as history, drama, PE etc. as a vehicle to develop literacy and numeracy. In this curriculum, there will be a focus on developing each student's confidence and self- esteem as well as their personal and inter-personal skills.
In Years 9-11 students will have a curriculum designed for them from the following areas:
- Physical Education
- Duke of Edinburgh Award (or an equivalent)
- Jamie Oliver Food Studies
- Hair and Beauty
- Additional courses may be available through partnerships with other organisations
Curriculum Plus 7+, 8+, 9+, 10+, 11+
The idea of Curriculum+ is to provide high quality, focused experiences for those students who have significant barriers to learning which have prevented them being successful in the mainstream curriculum. Curriculum+ aims to accelerate students’ core skills of literacy and numeracy to enable them, at a point in time, to re-join the mainstream curriculum. However, experience suggests that for a small minority of students, they would achieve greater success through an ‘alternative’ learning pathway to enable them to access post-16 learning or training.
Curriculum+ aims to:
- Support students through provision based on the Nurture Network Group principles to promote accelerated learning specifically in literacy and numeracy.
- Ensure that students achieve a minimum reading age of 11+
- Support students so that they have the skills to access mainstream lessons wherever possible.
- Help students achieve and maintain outstanding attendance.
- Create a personalised curriculum so that every student can achieve success and will access their post-16 progression route.
- Develop students’ independence, resilience, their confidence to take risks, their ability to work in teams: they will be supported to develop their own strategies to manage their emotions and develop improved social skills.
Curriculum+ operates in each year group with a maximum of 12 students in each group. Students have individualised timetables depending on their current level in English and Maths or their specific identified need. Some students are in the group full-time while others may only spend a couple of periods in the group over a week.
Year 7 Curriculum+ is focused on the acceleration of basic skills.
Y8-11 Curriculum+ focusses on the development of basic skills with the addition of a range of vocational options.
Using the curriculum to prepare students for the wider world
The GLC recognises its responsibility to provide a curriculum that supports the development of the whole person and prepares each to take their place in the wider world, ready to make a positive contribution. To this end, the GA has developed, and is continuing to develop, a programme of study in both discrete activities and through curriculum arears [such as humanities and drama] to achieve this.
A structured programme of Ready to Learn [RTL- 10 minutes at the start of each day]; Personal and Academic Development [PAD – a daily 20 minute tutor period in the middle of the day] and assemblies has been created to develop skills, knowledge and understanding in the following:
Ready to Learn
RTL will operate on a weekly cycle as follows:
- Monday: News a current affairs exploration and discussion;
- Tuesday: Maths basics [developing an understanding of number];
- Wednesday: Spellings;
- Thursday: Problem solving;
- Friday: ‘Fun Friday’.
Personal and Academic Development
PaDs operates for 20 minutes each day [students are divided in to groups comprising 7 and 8; 9 and 10; with Year 11 working together with a tailored curriculum that will prepare them for the exams for a life beyond GA. Students will have the opportunity to lead and contribute to discussions and debates to develop informed opinions regarding a wide range of important issues. Whilst there is not a session entitled British Values the GA ensures that these and the core values of the GLC are woven through all activities. There is an annual schedule of activities and foci which are centered on termly themes as follows:
- Autumn: Relationships
- Spring: Health
- Summer: Culture
Activities included as part of an Y7-11 entitlement curriculum are as follows:
- Sex and relationships [addressing teenage pregnancy]
- Racism, prejudice, homophobia
- Violence against women [including Female Genital Mutilation]
- Extremism and radicalisation
- Smoking cessation
- Healthy lifestyles [including dental hygiene]
- Safety on train lines
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Dealing with stress and keeping safe
- Law and Crime
- Money matters and budgeting
- Sport Relief
- World cultures
Focus days and events
The GA believes that it is important to pursue the curriculum to develop a sense of community, mutual support and to demonstrate that members of a large institution can have fun together in a safe and supportive environment. To this end, the following are part of the curriculum on an annual basis
- WOW Day: a chance to have fun together and to celebrate the end of the academic year. WOW Day has included; foam parties; silent discos; roller rink; it’s a knock out and much more. This must be a day that every child remembers
- College Challenges: to foster a sense of belonging and friendly rivalry, College Challenges are organised on a half termly basis and can range from a treasure hunt to who can produce the best ‘scratch choir’.
- Inter-College Challenge: these take place each week and alternate between academic and sporting challenged. Every student is expected to participate in at least one challenge per term [this is monitored by the Heads of College].
- Black History Month: takes place each October and is a celebration of black and ethnic minority culture.
- Work Experience: The GA believes that young people benefit greatly from a 2-week work experience, which at the GA, takes place towards the end of Year 10. This is preceded by a programme of activities that include practice interviews with local business people; health and safety briefings; careers advice and CV writing.
- Charity Days: We believe that these are an important feature of the curriculum which help students to develop empathy and a greater understanding of the world in which they live whilst contributing, in a small way, to the resolution of some issues. Annual or biannual events include:
- Jeans for Genes Day
- Comic Relief
- Children In Need
- Sports Relief
- Deep Learning Days: take place once per term and are divided into:
- Curriculum days [where each year group will study an aspect of a single area of the curriculum in great depth either in the academy or through a trip] or,
- College days, which provide students of all ages to work within their college focusing on aspects such as culture, charity or PSHE;
- Annual school performance: GA believes that as many students as possible should have the experience of performing to an audience. Whilst there are many opportunities to perform to peers during Year 7 and 8 drama. The annual performance is the prime opportunity for students to experience performance to the wider community;
- GLC Literary Festival: This is an annual celebration of the written word through student performances;
- GLC Science Fair: This takes place on an annual basis and encourages a deep exploration of scientific concepts from Y5-8.
Like PaDs, assemblies will be based, where possible on the termly themes of Relationships, Health and Culture. Assemblies are a key vehicle to further develop a sense of community within the GA to celebrate success and to further develop a moral understanding of right and wrong. Assemblies will support and inform the activities that are part of RTL and PaDs. An annual entitlement programme will mirror that outlined above [see the PaDs programme].
Additional opportunities such as trips, visits, residencies as well as visitors to the academy will provide access to experiences and learning beyond the capacity of the academy. Part of these will be the GLC entitlement curriculum which provides a commitment to ensure that all young people have access to activities as they make their way through GLC schools
These will include:
- Trips to the London theatre
- A major sporting event
- Visits to museums and galleries
- A chance to perform
Extended Curricular activities provide opportunities for all and targeted students to further develop or improve the work that has originated in the classroom. These are often targeted when a student has not kept up with the learning in the classroom. Extended curricular activities include:
- Instrumental tuition
- booster classes
- reading recovery
- Premier League Reading Stars
- Holiday and weekend support
- In school withdrawal
- Targeted support for SEND students
- Targeted support for disadvantaged students
- Self-esteem development programme [separately for boys and girls]
- Anger management programmes
- Coaching and mentoring
- Speech and language support
Extra-Curricular [basic entitlement]
- GLC Focus Sports
- Basket ball
- Gym training
- Engineering [including the 2014-17 Build and Aeroplane project]
- Ski Trip
- Street Dance
- Art Club
- Rock School
- Student Leadership
- Debate Society
- Duke of Edinburgh
- Community Volunteering
- Academic Focus Clubs
- Spanish Film Club
- Creative Writing
- Computer Club
- Preparing for life
Celebration of Outcomes
Students’ learning and achievements are regularly recognised and celebrated through the following:
- College celebration assemblies
- Whole Academy assemblies
- Prize draws
- Letters and cards home
- Recognition in Students’ Passports
- The website
- Press releases
- GA Awards Ceremony
- GLC Awards and events
- The Orsett Show