The Curriculum Implementation outlines the structure of the school day, the structure of Ark Blake Academy’s Curriculum, the Base Learning Curriculum Entitlement, the Academic Knowledge-rich Subject Discipline Outline, and the Enhanced Curriculum Provision.

School Day

The school day provides the vehicle for Ark Blake Academy’s Vision, Mission and Intent to be Implemented. The Ark Blake Academy Curriculum Entitlement comprises of thirty lessons with one additional lesson of enrichment across Tuesday, thirty minutes of daily Morning Reading and twenty-five minutes of daily Tutor Time. Lesson lengths are fifty minutes. Ark Blake Academy offers a combined total of over thirty hours of learning a week.

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday School Day:

Activity

Timings

Minutes

Line up then Morning

8:25- 8:55

30

Period 1

8.55 – 9:45

50

Period 2

9:45 – 10:35

50

Break

10:35 – 10:55

20

Period 3

10:55 – 11:45

50

Period 4

11:45 - 12:35

50

Lunch

12:35 -13:25

50

Period 5

13:25 -14:15

50

Period 6

14:15 -15:05

50

Tutor Time

15:05-15:30

25

 

Tuesday School Day:

Activity

Timings

Minutes

Line up then Morning

8:25- 8:55

30

Period 1

8.55 – 9:45

50

Period 2

9:45 – 10:35

50

Break

10:35 – 10:55

20

Period 3

10:55 – 11:45

50

Period 4

11:45 - 12:35

50

Lunch

12:35 -13:25

50

Period 5

13:25 -14:15

50

Period 6

14:15 -15:05

50

Tutor Time

15:05-15:30

25

Enrichment

15:30-16:20

50

To ensure that we are constantly improving and reflecting upon our provision, staff training and meetings take place after school across Mondays and Wednesdays.

 

Structure of Ark Blake Academy’s Curriculum

The Ark Blake Academy Curriculum is structured into three different areas of focus:

Base Learning Curriculum: The basic cuuriculum entitlement for all pupils. Thirty-one fifty minute lessons, inclusive of an Enrichment lesson, thirty minutes of daily Morning Reading and twnty-five minutes of daily Tutor Time.

Academic Knowledge-rich Curriculum: The core subject provision for all pupils. The powerful Knowledge, domain-centric Skills and threshold concepts mapped out across all subject disciplines.

Enhanced Curriculum: The enrichment provision offered to all pupils that helps to focus on Character and Health. The activities, speakers, trips, events, and workshops that ensure a holistic education.

 

Base Learning Curriculum

Key Stage Three

Pupils study a curriculum that is both broad and balanced in KS3, and one that is taught by subject specialists. Content is mapped backwards from university study and is, therefore, ambitious, challenging and inspiring. The curriculum is designed to unlock the inherent greatness inside of all pupils. As such, pupils develop their core knowledge and skills by studying the foundational subjects, English, Maths and Science, for approximately half of their allotted time. Pupils spend close to five hours studying the humanities, and close to three hours on a modern foreign language: Spanish or French. Pupils also have the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and interests further by studying Music, Art, Drama, Design Technology and PE, and in future years, Computing and ICT. Pupils are explicitly taught a ‘Character’ programme, in order to develop their understanding and appreciation of Ark Blake Academy’s values and learning dispositions, and to learn about Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education. Each pupil also benefits from Enrichment on Tuesday.

#

Subject

ABA Lessons per Week

School Hours per Week

1

English*

6/5

5.5/4.6

2

Maths

5

4.6

3

Science**

5/4

4.6/3.7

4

History

2

1.8

5

Geography

2

1.8

6

RE

1

0.9

7

MFL

3

2.8

8

Art

1

0.9

9

Music

1

0.9

10

Drama

1

0.9

11

DT***

2

1.8

12

PE

2

1.8

13

Computing****

1

0.9

14

Character

1

0.9

15

Academic Enrichment

1

0.9

*English Language and English Literature. Six lessons in Year 7, five in Year 8 and 9.

**Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Five lessons in Year 7, four in Year 8 and 9.

***Two lessons a week from Year 8 for DT.

****Computing is taught to all KS3 pupils from the academic year 2022-2023. ‘Computing Drop Down Days’ and ‘Independent Study’ support Year 8 and Year 9 pupils to catch-up on learning missed across 2020-2022.

Pupils are split across six mixed prior attainment Tutor Group classes. There is gradual progression to three bands in Maths, English and Science, each with two classes initially before moving to three classes, allowing broad setting by prior attainment where appropriate. This will move steadily into this form from mixed prior attainment in Year 7 to three band settings in Year 8, to two band settings in Year 9. Humanities, MFL, Art, Music, PE, Drama, Computing and Character will continue to be taught in mixed prior attainment Tutor Groups.

The KS3 curriculum entitlement will adapt and develop as Ark Blake Academy grows.

Key Stage Four

Pupils study fewer subjects in greater depth, in preparation for GCSE examinations, and study beyond. All pupils will study English Language, English Literature, Maths, Double Science, MFL and either History or Geography. Pupils will also study Core PE, in accordance to our Health Curriculum Facet, and the promotion of holistic wellbeing.

For the additional subject choices, we discuss individual curriculum pathways with pupils and their parents at the end of Year 9, as pupils prepare for the transition to Key Stage 4. Each pupil will be interviewed with their parents by a senior member of staff to discuss their option choices. They will have the option to choose two further subjects, including:

  • History or Geography
  • Art
  • Design and Technology
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education
  • Computing
  • Media Studies

In addition to this, some pupils will study Further Maths, Triple Science and Astrology, if the desire and attainment is there, and some pupils will work towards a heritage (home) language GCSE, supported by our Modern Foreign Languages department.

All of the options subjects offered at Ark Blake Academy will meet the qualification requirements for Best 8 subjects.

 

#

Subject

ABA Lessons per Week

School Hours per Week

1

English*

6

5.5

2

Maths

5

4.6

3

Science**

5

4.6

4

History or Geography

3

2.8

5

MFL

3

2.8

6

Option 1

3

2.8

7

Option 2

3

2.8

8

Core PE

2

1.8

*English Language and English Literature

**Double Science – worth two GCSEs. Some pupils will have the opportunity to study Triple Science – worth three GCSEs.

Key Stage Five

Ark Blake Academy will open its sixth form in 2025 after our 2020 founding pupils complete GCSEs. We will offer A-Level courses across a range of academic subjects. Our subject offer will encompass all Russell group ‘facilitating subjects’ as well as a range of other choices, and will likely include the following:

  • Art & Design
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Drama and Theatre Studies
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Geography
  • History
  • French
  • Music
  • Media Studies
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Product Design
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Religious studies

We believe this offer will prepare Ark Blake Academy pupils to attend the best universities in the country or embark on a higher-level apprenticeship of their choice.

We also intend to offer a number of rigorous level 3 qualifications that have recently been introduced across the Ark network. They have been designed in close collaboration with partners from the commercial and public sectors and are complemented by a careers readiness programme, careers mentoring and business partnerships. Our offer is likely to include both:

  • Applied Science Professional Pathway
  • Business Professional Pathway

A-Level subjects in Key Stage 5 will have six lessons per week. Most pupils will study 3 A-Levels and some will study 4 (in particular, this will include those studying Maths and Further Maths).

Professional Pathways pupils will be taught a minimum of 15 lessons per week.

Academic Knowledge-rich Curriculum

Each subject discipline has generated and devised the following to ensure rigour and academic richness:

  • Curriculum Subject Intent – The identification of the nature of a subject, and the rationale for the design, scope, and sequencing of selected content, skills and concepts in that subject’s curriculum.
  • Curriculum Y7-Y11 Map – A term-by-term breakdown of content, skills and concepts covered in a subject’s curriculum.
  • Curriculum Content* – An outline of ‘what’ is taught in the subject’s curriculum.
  • Curriculum Skills* – An outline of the domain-centric skills and disciplinary thinking in the subject’s curriculum.
  • Curriculum Threshold Concepts* – An outline of the powerful, transformative concepts that alter pupils’ thinking on a subject.

*Curriculum Content, Skills and Threshold Concepts are outlined in each subject’s ‘Curriculum Unit Plans’ for respective schemes of work.

The definition and nature of each subject discipline is important to distill and share with pupils. We believe our subject disciplines are:

#

Subject

1

English Language

The forging of the linguistic keys that will unlock the whole curriculum and a life of learning.

2

English Literature

The exploration of the human condition through the study of literary texts.

3

Maths

The use of rigour and reason to solve problems grounded in numeracy, algebra and geometry.

4

Biology

The examination of all living organisms and their interdependence upon each other.

5

Chemistry

An analysis of the material world from atomic building blocks to universal bodies.

6

Physics

An explanation of the behaviors of non-living phenomena experienced in our daily lives.

7

History

The study of the phenomenon of society over time, and how people and societies behave through varied sources.

8

Geography

The understanding of the complex relationship between humans and the physical earth, so that both can thrive.

9

RE

The study of religion, religious and non-religious worldviews as well as their influence on the individual and society.

10

MFL

The study of communicating with precision through reading, writing, listening and speaking in other languages.

11

Art

A critical and creative exploration of a visual language that communicates to all.

12

Music

The development of our creativity through performance and composition.

13

Drama

The exploration of the human condition through the study of movement, acting and theatre.

14

PE

The exploration of a broad range of activities and sports that benefit health, fitness, and wellbeing.

15

Character

The practice and development of the virtues, habits and emotional intelligence that will enable students to cultivate ethical intuition.

16

Access & Inclusion

The adaptation of provision so that academic and personal success for all is a non-negotiable.

Ark Blake Academy’s ‘Teaching Tenets’

In ‘Expert Teaching: What is it, and how might we develop it?’, Peps Mccrea argues that teaching is the “greatest lever at our disposal for improving the life chances of the young people in our care” (2018)[1]. As such, there is a moral obligation to get teaching right to ensure that our pupils have the best possible chance to seize life’s opportunity and manifest their inherent greatness. Codifying best teaching practice is paramount to the success of our pupils, and Ark Blake Academy, as it enables us to implement the intent of our curriculum appropriately.

[1] Mccrea, P. (2018). Expert Teaching: What is it, and how might we develop it? London: Ambition Institute

Below details twelve ‘Teaching Tenets’ for Ark Blake Academy: best practice encouraged across a series or sequence of lessons*.

#

Tenet

Description

1

Retrieval Practice

Barak Rosenshine states that “daily review is an important component of instruction [which] can help us strengthen the connections among the material we have learned.” Ark Blake ‘Do Nows’ focus on retrieval practice, which take up to five minutes to complete, and up to five minutes to review.

2

Learning Question

Oli Knight and David Benson argue that “it is a rich, open, engaging question which takes students on a journey of enquiry” and one that is focused on learning. Each lesson at Ark Blake centres on a ‘Lesson Learning Question’ that steers the focus of pupils’ learning in that period, providing the ‘Big Picture’ of learning for the lesson.

3

 

Learning Intentions

Dylan Wiliam reasons that, “if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there” as a primary argument for the use of ‘Lesson Learning Intentions’. ‘Lesson Learning Intentions’ help to further focus pupils’ learning for the period, providing the ‘Fine Detail’ of learning for the lesson.

4

Narrative

Daniel Willingham advocates that “the human mind seems exquisitely tuned to understand and remember stories” and that learning should be structured as such. To ensure that pupils understand the purpose of their learning, Ark Blake teachers will always articulate the ‘narrative’ of the learning journey.

5

Connect

Peps Mccrea explains in ‘Learning: What is it, and how might we catalyse it?’ that “our capacity to attend to something is influenced by our knowledge of it”, implying that learning is amplified if we are able to ‘connect’ new content with prior content. This is something that Ark Blake teachers will do.

6

Teacher Exposition

Andy Tharby states “it is near impossible to conceive of effective teaching without explanation” and that “students usually learn better when a teacher introduces new content rather than attempts to elicit it from them.” Ark Blake teachers will be subject-specialists who communicate high quality content.

7

Questioning

Rob Coe believes that “learning happens when students think hard about subject content.” Questioning invites pupils to think, reason, and contemplate high-level content taught by subject-specialists. Ark Blake teachers will ask rigorous questions to stretch all children to seize greatness.

8

Discussion

James Britton coined that “reading and writing float on a sea of talk”, giving pupils space to consider and discuss content, before committing expression to writing. Ark Blake teachers will give pupils space to contemplate learning, in order to support them in communicating with excellence.

9

Modelling

Harry Fletcher-Wood surmises educational research with the concise note that “studying models – worked examples – has a powerful impact on the quality of student work.” Ark Blake teachers will model outcomes, through live modelling and pre-prepared models, to support student excellence.

10

Practice

Anders Ericsson advocates that “with deliberate practice, the goal is not just to reach [pupils’] potential but to build it, to make things possible that were not possible before.” Pupils at Ark Blake will engage in quality, scaffolded, independent practice to develop expertise in subject disciplines.

11

Feedback

The studies of feedback reviewed in the Teaching and Learning Toolkit found that on average the provision of high-quality feedback led to an improvement of eight additional months’ progress over the course of a year. As such, timely, formative feedback will ensure that Ark Blake Academy pupils make rapid and sustained progress in their learning.

12

Review

John Sweller coined the definition of learning to be “a change in long-term memory”; a change in the mental, conceptual map pupils have of a subject domain. As such, Ark Blake teachers will review and recap learning to ensure that content moves from pupils’ working memory to their long-term memory.

For more on the ‘Teaching Tenets’ please refer to the Teaching & Learning Policy.

Academy’s Universal Offer

The Ark Blake Academy Universal Offer is the Quality First Teaching Strategies that we employ to ensure that every pupil is catered for and all are equipped and supported to achieve their greatness.

 

Enhanced Curriculum

Our wide-ranging enrichment and extra-curricular programme will allow our pupils to develop their passions and interests, as well as gain in confidence and self-belief.  

Enrichment at Ark Blake will form part of the school day. Each pupil will have a choice of enrichment options to sign up to each term, including: Sport, Dance, Technology, Creative Writing and Journalism, Music, Art, Drama, Coding, Chess, CSI, Debating and Latin.

Regular trips and visits will make the most of museums, universities and all the best that London has to offer. There will be opportunities to participate in outdoor pursuits to build confidence and leadership skills. Pupils will have access to Ark events such as: Shakespeare Schools Festival, Debating competitions, Maths challenges, Cross Country, and Sports days. Pupils can also participate in our annual shows, music concerts, the school choir or take up instruments.

  • Various facets of the ‘enrichment’:
    • X1 Enrichment Session per week
    • Assemblies
    • Morning Reading Programme
    • Tutor Time Programme
    • Character Programme
    • PSHCE
    • Drop Down Days
    • Educational Visits & Trips
    • Guest Speakers
    • Charitable Work

Tutor Time Morning Programme

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Schedule

Values Assembly

Falcon House Assembly / Reading for Pleasure

Hawk House Assembly / Reading for Pleasure

Eagle House Assembly / Reading for Pleasure

Ark Blake’s Anthology for Greatness

  • Values Assembly – Pupils will have a weekly assembly that gives them the opportunity to explore one of the core BLAKE values on a half-termly basis: Bravery, Leadership, Aspiration, Kindness, and Endeavour. Key messages, current affairs, and inspirational talks will be the focus during these assemblies.
  • House Assemblies – Each pupil is attached to one of Ark Blake Academy’s three Houses: Falcon House, Hawk House, or Eagle House. Regularly over the course of a half-term, usually twice, all pupils from a House Group meet together for assemblies, discussions, debates, or competitions. The regular House Assemblies enable pupils to develop a sense of belonging to their House, and to connect with others outside of their own Tutor Group. House Assemblies across all three Houses take place in the same week, so that messages are received at similar times.
  • Reading for Pleasure – Three times a week during Morning Reading, pupils have the opportunity to read a text for enjoyment, corporately with their Tutor and Tutor Group peers. This seeks to boost pupils’ pleasure in reading, and offers a shared experience with the others in the Tutor Group. Tutor Groups will be able to read three-five books over the course of the academic year, purely for enjoyment.
  • Ark Blake’s Anthology for Greatness – On a weekly basis, pupils will explore a collection of excerpts, short stories, articles, biography extracts, speeches, poems and Ted Talks that showcase ‘greatness’ in a specific sphere and field, in order to encourage ‘greatness’ in pupils. This seeks to boost pupils’ cultural capital, promote social mobility, and enrich their educational experience.

In the afternoon, pupils have a twenty-five minute Tutor Time. This enables pupils to engage in further aspects of the Character programme: current affairs, debates and talks. Additionally, this gives further time for the Tutor to check in with pupils, have important conversations throughout the week, and to sign the pupil planners. On three afternoons a week, pupils engage in ‘Numeracy Across the Curriculum’, and aim to improve their Maths skills through TimesTable RockStars and other mathematic-centric tasks.

The Ark Blake Academy Curriculum comprises of thirty lessons with one additional lesson of enrichment, thirty minutes daily of Morning Reading, and twenty-five minutes daily of Tutor Time. A combined total of over thirty-two hours a week of learning.