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Curriculum Changes from September 2020

Details of some important changes we are making to the curriculum provision at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 which will take effect from the start of the Autumn Term in September 2020.

The vision of Skinners’ Academy is for every pupil to ‘Be the best you can’. As a school we are constantly reviewing the curriculum we offer our pupils in order to achieve this. We take into consideration the specific needs of our pupils as well as national policy, legal requirements and best practice in other similar schools.

In recent years the Academy has operated a two-year Key Stage 3 for Years 7 and 8 and a three-year Key Stage 4 curriculum provision for Years 9, 10 and 11. This has meant that pupils selected their GCSE option subjects in Year 8 and started their programme of study for GCSEs in Year 9.

We have now made the decision to go back to a three-year Key Stage 3 and a two-year Key Stage 4 provision. This will operate from September 2020. The Key Stage 3 curriculum will run from Year 7 to Year 9 and the Key Stage 4 curriculum will formally start in Year 10 and continue into Year 11.

This has involved much consideration, detailed discussions and advice from a wide range of partners including governors, Ofsted inspectors and officers from the Hackney Learning Trust. We have carried out a detailed analysis and evaluation of our pupil data and outcomes for the whole Academy and for different subject areas.

We are making this change for the following key reasons:

  • It provides pupils at Key Stage 3 with a curriculum that is as broad as possible for as long as possibleKey subjects including History, Geography, Art, Spanish etc. can be studied in more depth to provide a better foundation for continued study in options at Key Stage 4

  • This wider curriculum is open to all pupils regardless of academic ability

  • A continued focus on embedding literacy and numeracy skills can form a more secure foundation for more complex study at GCSE level for pupils across the ability range

  • We are able to timetable a broader range of choice of option subjects at Key Stage 4 and ensure that the options process gives true choice to a much wider range of pupils

  • This arrangement matches that adopted by a majority of secondary schools nationally, fits in with inspection arrangements and supports tried and tested two-year GCSE courses in all subjects

  • It ensures a much greater degree of maturity and readiness in an options process in Year 9 after nearly three years of secondary education than important choices having to be made after less than two years in the school for pupils in Year 8

What does this mean in practice?

For current Year 8 pupils:

  • There will no longer be any options meetings, usually held in March, for parents and pupils in Year 8. Pupils currently in Year 8 who would have been faced with options choices within the next month will now make those choices in Year 9

  • The curriculum in Year 9 will continue to follow the full range of subjects and will provide your child with the foundation knowledge and skills to equip them to be successful in their GCSE studies

  • Once in Year 9 pupils will receive taster sessions of potential GCSE option subjects to help them to make much more informed choices. This will start from September 2020

  • There will be an Options Information evening for current Year 8 pupils and parents in the Autumn of 2020 when they are in Year 9

For current Year 9, 10 and 11 pupils:

  • There will be NO changes to the current arrangements

  • All GCSE courses will continue as planned for the rest of Year 9 and into Year 10 and Year 11

For pupils currently in Year 7:

  • Their current range of subjects will continue for the rest of Year 7

  • They will now continue their current Key Stage 3 timetable of a broad range of subjects into Year 8 and to the end of Year 9

  • Options for GCSE subjects will now take place when they are in Year 9 in the Autumn Term not in Year 8

  • When they are in Year 9 they will experience taster sessions in options subjects such as Business Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Media Studies in order to help them make more informed choices for GCSE subjects

  • A wider choice of options subjects will be available

Many of our subject teaching staff and the Senior Leadership Team already have significant experience in operating a system of two-year GCSE courses.  Time and other resources are being given to planning this change to ensure that it is implemented effectively and that it is of maximum benefit to all our pupils.

We can give absolute assurances that the decisions taken about Key Stage changes detailed above will have a positive impact on the continued studies of all pupils in the Academy and the support and excellent teaching we will continue to provide for the rest of their time at Skinners’ Academy.

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