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Finch Woods Academy

Curriculum rationale

The Finch Woods Academy curriculum has been built to ensure a combination of academic, practical, and therapeutic learning experiences to give pupils the knowledge, skills and tools they need to become successful, productive and well-rounded in adulthood.

The weekly timetable runs alongside pupils being taught key ideals in our ‘STAIRS’ values, and the Finch Woods Academy Pledge, which enables all pupils to access a wide range of social and cultural life opportunities. It is this school offer, combined with academic and SEN expertise and experience both inside and outside of the classroom, that ensures that the pupils of Finch Woods Academy receive a rich and diverse experience in their time with us, and leave us prepared for post 16 education and training, and adulthood.

 

The Curriculum offer is designed with a number of key principles:

  • An offer that matches that of mainstream educators to ensure that pupils have access to the same breadth of subjects and qualifications
  • An offer that supports the SEMH needs of pupils, promoting emotional and physical wellbeing
  • An offer that ensures that pupils have access to a wealth of social and cultural experiences – our Pledge – to ensure that economic disadvantage is not a barrier
  • An offer that supports the bespoke needs of every child.

 

Key Stage 3 Curriculum 

Core Learning - Academic

Subject

Lessons

Rationale

English

4

Being highly literate and numerate is one of the Finch Woods Academy Key Aims. English is taught four times per week to accommodate this. 

Mathematics

4

Being highly literate and numerate is one of the Finch Woods Academy Key Aims. Mathematics is taught four times per week to accommodate this. 

Science

3

As a core subject, Science has three lessons per week, enabling the study of all three disciplines throughout key stage three.

Foundation Learning - Academic

MFL (Spanish)

1

In previous curriculum models, MFL has had more lessons dedicated to its study at key stage 3, however as there is a low uptake of pupils wishing to study it through to GCSE, this has been reduced to facilitate study of more popular subjects. Instead, pupils build to a functional level qualification that will equip them with the skills and confidence to travel abroad to Spanish speaking countries.

Geography

2

Geography is taught through to GCSE level and is the aspect of the humanities curriculum favoured by pupils.

Foundation Learning - Practical

Technology (focus on Food Technology)

1

At key stage three, pupils follow a series of purely practical food technology lessons that equip them with the skills and understanding of how to cook a range of nutritious meals on a budget. At key stage three, the emphasis is placed on gaining a key life skill that will help them become healthy and independent adults.

Art and Design

2

The majority of pupils at Finch Woods Academy choose to study Art and Design through to GCSE, where both Art and Photography are offered.

Physical Education

2

All pupils access core PE each week to help them maintain good levels of physical fitness and learn positive habits around exercise. They access a range of sports that provide positive outlets for their physical and mental wellbeing.

ICT and Computing

2

A new addition to the Finch Woods Academy Curriculum model and in its early stages. This subject is currently taught to ensure that pupils gain the necessary computing skills to support future employment and safe use of technology as adults.

PSHE, SRE, Citizenship and Careers

1

All pupils have one timetabled lesson of PSHE, Citizenship, and Careers per week. As this is such a wide field of learning, much of its content is taught further through fortnightly ‘STAIRS’ days, where pupils explore aspects of the PSHE, SRE, Citizenship, and Careers curriculum in further detail. All PSHE and SRE teaching is mapped against the KCSIE requirements and recommendations.

Therapeutic Learning

Wider World

3

The wider world curriculum allows a block of time each week where pupils can travel away from the school site and learn about the world around them and the opportunities that are part of it. Pupils access social, cultural, geographical, historical, and religious places of interest and have the chance to gain additional qualifications in physical activities such as rock climbing and water sports. Wider world also allows pupils to spend extended periods of time off site with their peers, communicating with the general public.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

Core Learning - Academic

  Subject

   Lessons

  Rationale

English

4

Being highly literate and numerate is one of the Finch Woods Academy Key Aims. English is taught four times per week to accommodate this. Pupils build to different outcomes depending on ability and intended next steps. 

Mathematics

4

Being highly literate and numerate is one of the Finch Woods Academy Key Aims. Mathematics is taught four times per week to accommodate this. 

Science

3

As a core subject, Science has three lessons per week. Different pathways are available to pupils depending on ability and intended next steps.

Foundation Learning - Academic

MFL (Spanish)

2

Pupils are taught either Spanish through to FSCE level or Geography through to GCSE level depending on personal interest and ability.

Geography

2

Pupils are taught either Spanish through to FSCE level or Geography through to GCSE level depending on personal interest and ability.

Foundation Learning - Practical

Food Technology

Year 10 – 2

Year 11- 3 (Option)

In Year 11 cohort, pupils have three lessons. This enables a double lesson for practical sessions, developing practical skills and completing practical assessments, and a single lesson to work on theoretical principles and coursework.

In Year 10,  food technology is taught in a double lesson.

Art and Design

Year 10 – 2

Year 11 – 3

(Option)

The majority of pupils at Finch Woods Academy choose to study Art and Design through to GCSE. In year 11, pupils are given an additional lesson to secure Photography as an additional qualification.

Physical Education

Year 10 – 2

Year 11 – 2
+3(Option)

All pupils have a double lesson of core PE in line with government expectations. Those who study for a GCSE / BTech qualification have an additional 3 lessons per week.

ICT and Computing

Year 10 – 0

Year 11 - 1

ICT is new to the offer and is not currently offered in Year 10. This will change as current key stage 3 pupils move through to key stage 4. Year 11s access a single lesson per week to help support them demonstrate skills learned for a functional skills qualification, before moving in to college or employment

PSHE, SRE, Citizenship and Careers

Year 10 – 1

Year 11 - 2

All pupils have one timetabled lesson of PSHE, Citizenship, and Careers per week. As this is such a wide field of learning, much of its content is taught further through fortnightly ‘STAIRS’ days, where pupils explore aspects of the PSHE, SRE, Citizenship, and Careers curriculum in further detail.

In Year 11, pupils access an additional lesson of careers each week to support them in preparing for adulthood and further education, employment or training. All PSHE and SRE teaching is mapped against the KCSIE requirements and recommendations.

Vocational Learning

Year 10 – 2

Year 11 – 3 (Option)

Pupils have the opportunity to access courses that may be in line with areas of study they wish to pursue at key stage 5, within the vocational studio at Finch Woods Academy. These include practical, trade based skills, hair and beauty, and other NOCN recognised courses.

Revision Skills

Year 11 - 4 (selected cohort)

Pupils who have been identified as able to gain a higher level GCSE / iGCSE in a reduced time scale have the opportunity to take an additional option in Year 11 such as English Literature or further NOCN modules. Alternatively, the time can be used to access additional support in mathematics to ensure a smooth transition to college, or additional time to complete coursework in other option subjects.

Therapeutic Learning

Wider World

Year 10 – 3

Year 11 - 0

The wider world curriculum allows a block of time each week where pupils can travel away from the school site and learn about the world around them and the opportunities that are part of it. Pupils access social, cultural, geographical, historical, and religious places of interest and have the chance to gain additional qualifications in physical activities such as rock climbing and water sports. Wider world also allows pupils to spend extended periods of time off site with their peers, communicating with the general public. In year 11, pupils no longer access this time, in order to ensure that learning time is focused on exam preparation and securing the best academic outcomes.

 Access to other areas of the National Curriculum

The curriculum is reviewed regularly to ensure that it best meets the needs of each cohort. In order to ensure that needs are met, there are subjects that do not have timetabled hours. These are addressed through Pledge activities, wider world lessons, and cross curricular links when appropriate.

Religious Education: Although this is not studied as a stand-alone lesson, pupils gain an appreciation for other religions, cultures and traditions through the Finch Woods Academy Pledge and Wider World lessons. Pupils visit different places for religious worship and learn about the different religions that make up the local and national community. 


Music: As with Religious Education, pupils access a range of musical experiences through the Finch Woods Pledge and wider world lessons where they have the opportunity to attend concerts. Finch Woods Academy also hosts music lessons from external professionals through Arts Projects in Knowsley.

History: Traditionally, Geography is favoured by pupils at Finch Woods Academy, so the humanities offer focuses on teaching in that area. History does not have timetabled lessons, but is again taught through wider world where pupils visit museums in the local area and learn about the development of Liverpool over time. Pupils also learn about the Victorian Age in their study of Dickens, the Elizabethan Age in their study of Shakespeare, and World War One in their study of poetry in English lessons.

 Pathways for Success

Pupil pathways through Key Stage 4 are designed according to pupil ability, targets, and planned next steps.

English and Mathematics:
All pupils complete Functional Skills in both English and mathematics, including those pupils who study at the Link. In addition to this, the vast majority of pupils will also study toward GCSEs in English and mathematics. The English department offer iGCSE English to those pupils who benefit from a coursework element to the course, and English Literature is available to more able pupils, or those who intend to study A levels.

Science:
In Science, the curriculum has developed in the last 12 months to incorporate BTech study, again as a way of allowing pupils to have the benefit of reducing exam stress through access to coursework elements. GCSE Science is also available and can be studied alongside BTech or instead of it, depending on the needs and ambitions of the cohort.

The Key Stage 4 Offer:
The Key Stage 4 offer is a blend of academic and vocational qualifications in order to allow pupils to study in a range of ways and attain qualifications for further study. The pathway and qualifications studied is decided through a mixture of pupil and parental voice, pupil ability, and consideration of the pupil’s intended career pathway.

Available GCSE qualifications include: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Sciences, Geography, Art, and Photography.
iGCSE qualifications include: English Language.
FCSE qualifications include: Spanish.
BTech qualifications include: Science, Hospitality and Catering, and Physical Education.
Vocational qualifications include: NOCN units of study and Esports.
Functional Skills qualifications include: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and ICT.

 

Alternative Provision:
Pupils who study with our Link provision also have the opportunity to access work-based learning with alternative provisions. Each of these approved providers offer bespoke educational packages with vocational qualifications.

  Provider

  Offer

Peregrinate

  Functional Skills English and Maths

  BTech Level 1 Construction alongside ‘Working Safely’     Certification

  Level 1 Award in Retail

Prudentia

  Functional Skills English and Maths

  BTech Sport

  BTech Work Skills

  BTech Motor Vehicle Engineering (practical only)

Motiv8

  Functional Skills English and Maths

  BTech Sport

CST

  BTech Level 1 and Level 2 Construction

Pro-Vision

  Functional Skills English and Maths

  Wellbeing Award

  Jamie Oliver Cooking Award

Educ8

  Functional Skills English and Maths

  BTech Construction

  BTech Hair and Beauty Level 1 and Level 2

  BTech Art and Design

  Level 1 Animal Care

  Level 1 Health and Social Care

Skills Base

  NOCN Motor Vehicle Level 1

Pupil Destinations

Pupil pathways at Finch Woods Academy have been carefully designed through carefully mapping trends in pupil destinations. As a school, we work closely with careers services and local colleges and employers to ensure that our pupils leave with the skills and qualifications needed.

Trends of previous years demonstrate:

  • The majority of our pupils move on to vocational qualifications either at Level 1 or Level 2.
  • Those who start at Level 1 remain to study Level 2 in Year 2, or get moved to Level 2 earlier.
  • Other pupils gain employment or follow training courses in confidence building and employability. These are a minority in comparison to pupils in further education.

 

  Cohort

  Destinations

Class of 2020

 Education:

 Level 1 Bricklaying

 Level 1 Catering

 Level 1 Electrical Installations

 Level 1 Motor Vehicle

 Level 1 Horticultural

 Level 2 Hair and Beauty

 Level 2 Mechanics

 Level 2 Electrical Engineering

 Level 2 Bricklaying

 Level 2 Catering

 Training:

 Work with Connexions / Careers Connect

 Halewood Leisure

 Expanse Learning

 Talent Match

Class of 2021

 Education:

 Foundation Learning

 Level 1 Plumbing

 Level 1 Construction

 Level 1 Mechanics

 Level 1 Bricklaying

 Level 1 Small Animal Care

 Level 1 Sports Science

 Level 1 / 2 Painting and Decorating

 Level 2 Health and Social Care

 Training:

 Peregrinate Post 16 Study

 Apprenticeship at Step Up Security

 Employability with Widnes Vikings

 Steven Gerrard Football Academy / Everton Football Club

 Employment:

 Fencing company

 Tarmac company

 

In response to these trends, we have introduced vocational qualifications at key stage 4. These have replaced traditional qualifications such as Design Technology in order to better prepare pupils for their chosen pathways. The NOCN qualifications on offer allow pupils to accrue points to different levels of competency and qualification in vocational fields of their choosing such as painting and decorating, basic mechanics, construction, hair and beauty and bricklaying. The range of qualifications is extensive, allowing pupils to try different vocations while still in the school environment.

The investment in the learning space and opportunities now available will, it is hoped, help pupils become equipped with the various skills needed to secure level 2 or higher courses post-16 rather than level 1.

Most recent cohorts tend not to choose purely academic pathways. This being the case, the securement of GCSE English and maths against a range of other subjects, many of which are practical seem best suited to meet needs and interests.

However, should a pupil want to study A Level, there is still the opportunity to follow the mathematics with Language and Literature combined pathway, study GCSE Geography and Spanish, and elect for additional GCSE qualifications to ensure that enough points are gained to support this route to sixth form.