As part of Turner Schools we have a curriculum-driven school improvement approach, believing that what we teach – and how we teach it – is central to ensuring that our pupils overcome our context of coastal isolation and any other barriers they may face, ranging from disadvantage to illiteracy.
We also believe our purpose is to discover and nurture the talent of our pupils and develop them to be confident, ambitious and successful by experiencing a broad and enriched curriculum. We also want to develop them as active citizens making a contribution to their community. Above all we want them to achieve level 3 qualifications so that they have meaningful choices and opportunities in their futures.
Whole school curriculum aims
At Folkestone Academy we believe our purpose is to provide the young people we serve with a powerful education, this education will develop ambitious pupils who have the confidence to succeed academically, be a force for good in their community and to go on to live fulfilled and meaningful lives. Our curriculum is the cornerstone of a powerful education and as such we commit to:
Teach a wide range of subjects including but not limited to the traditional academic ones.
Expose pupils to the best of ‘what has been thought and said’.
Find pupils’ talents, develop their creativity and self-confidence.
In Years 7 to 9 offer pupils the opportunity to develop their potential, to perform, to create, as well as gain the core knowledge they need to successfully move into KS4.
In Year 10 and 12 ensure that pupils can study a wide variety of subjects that means they can choose the best pathway that matches their interests, abilities and future aspirations.
Support and guide our pupils to gain the excellent results they need for their future learning and careers.
Give every pupil experience of learning beyond the classroom that enriches their understanding of the society in which they live.
Develop pupils’ social conscience so that they learn how to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Our curriculum is structured in formal subjects and each subject’s curriculum is sequenced so that pupils' knowledge and skills build over time. Knowledge is revisited regularly through the use of retrieval practice and Multiple Choice Quizzes (MCQs) to ensure that what pupils have learned is fully embedded. This is complemented by regular opportunities to apply this knowledge to assess the strength of pupils’ understanding when applied to subject-appropriate extended tasks.
At Turner Schools, we know that reading is vital to the success of our pupils and that is why we place reading at the heart of what we do. Across our curriculum pupils are provided with regular opportunities to read subject-focused texts to enhance their understanding of the discipline they are being taught, whether that be in science, geography, History or English. This curricular focus on reading supports pupils to develop their skills of comprehension and inference whilst exposing them to a wide range of scholarly writing. In English, this is further complemented by our Turner Reads programme where pupils read for pleasure with their teacher in one lesson per week. For those who require further support in reading, we offer a suite of targeted interventions.
Barriers to learning:
Our rigorous approach to identifying those who require additional support means we target our intervention programmes such as Read Write and Direct Instruction to the pupils who need it most so that all of our pupils can be successful. In lessons, teachers carefully plan how to address pupils' misconceptions and provide effective resources to support pupils to complete their work to a high standard. Our focus on oracy provides pupils with opportunities to share their ideas and articulate what they have learned to improve their confidence and develop their written style. Those requiring additional support are guided by our team of expert Teaching Assistants who work closely with teachers to remove barriers to learning in the classroom.
Our curriculum aims to enrich our pupils by helping them develop a greater understanding of the world around them and their place within it. Our personal development curriculum teaches pupils about the importance of empathy, tolerance, community, diversity, and how to be active citizens. This is enhanced through our curriculum in subjects such as history, English, French and geography where these themes are woven into the texts, contexts, places and people that pupils study. In addition, pupils are offered a range of opportunities and experiences throughout their time at FA through our Turner 25 initiative and our extra curricular programmes, which complements our taught curriculum.
Assessment occurs in every lesson through our responsive teaching approaches. Our ongoing assessment of pupils' learning also informs how we adapt and develop our curriculum. Teachers identify and re-teach key misconceptions as they arise, ensuring that pupils have regular opportunities to revisit and consolidate what they have learnt. Low-stakes quizzing takes place regularly with the aim of securing knowledge and building confidence. This is supported by our digital learning approach where pupils use their Chromebooks to complete quizzes which teachers can analyse and immediately use to address misconceptions and adjust their curriculum to ensure gaps are closed.
There are two formal assessment points each year which provide teachers with a good understanding of what pupils know and can do so they can identify where support is needed and assess progress made.
Key Stage 4 Curriculum
Our curriculum offer for Years 10 and 11 is broad and balanced whilst supporting our vision ‘to equip all students with the knowledge to lead and skills to succeed’. Our students follow a two year GCSE / BTEC pathway which builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in the three year Key Stage 3.
All pupils follow a core curriculum of English (Language and Literature), Mathematics and Combined Science (Biology, Physics and Chemistry) as well as being asked to select either Geography or History. Physical Education, which is not assessed, completes the core foundation of studies on their timetable. In addition to this, students are required to choose three additional subjects. In making their selections students should seek a balance of subjects that will provide a broad and interesting curriculum, as well as ensuring they are well prepared for the next stage of their life post 16. These will be from a list of subjects presented in blocks.
Pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning throughout Key Stage 4. In order to be successful and fulfil their potential, pupils will be required to undertake study outside of lesson time. Throughout the key stage students will be required to take regular tests and assessments to help them be aware of their own progress as well as essential preparation for the terminal examinations they will sit at the end of Year 11.