Chiltern Hills Academy A Church of England Academy

Create, Aspire and Excel

to 'Live life in all its fullness' (John 10:10)

Curriculum

Our vision of Create, Aspire and Excel to ‘Live life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10) ‚Äčis embedded into all areas of our curriculum and extended curriculum.  Our vision empowers students to take every opportunity to reach their maximum potential, building character to lead full and reflective lives while at the Academy and beyond.

Chiltern Hills Academy believes in providing inspiration to students through a school curriculum built on high expectations and standards and offering an extra-curricular experience that encourages participation, enjoyment and the opportunity to be the best we can be. Our values of Love, Honesty, Respect, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Forgiveness and Hope are fed into all areas of our structured and unstructured curriculum.

The intent for our Curriculum is to offer a broad-based mix of academic and vocational subjects which is structured to cater for a wide range of learning styles and abilities. We utilise a combination of setting and mixed-ability groupings to ensure that teaching and learning is closely tailored to the needs of our students. English, Maths, Science, Humanities and Languages set according to ability, whilst Design, Performing Arts, PRE (Philosophy, Religion and Ethics), P.E. and Life Skills (PSCHE) are taught in mixed ability groups. The school is committed to offering a broad and balanced curriculum and continues to follow the guidance offered by the Department for Education with regards to ensuring this.

We have a 2 year Key stage 3 in Years 7and 8. Students study the following subjects: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Art, Drama, Music, Dance, Design (Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials and Textiles), ICT, P.E., PRE and Life skills. We are also firmly committed to not forcing students through examinations early, as evidence shows that this does not allow students the time or experience to reach their true potential. Students, therefore, make their option choices at the end of Year 8 and enjoy a very broad choice of subjects. Over 85% of students in KS4 choose to take at least one creative subject these being: Art, Photography, Media, Music, Product Design, Food and Nutrition, Drama and Dance, within their KS4 curriculum choices.

We run a two week timetable, lessons are 60 minutes long and number 50 per two week cycle. In terms of curriculum time, the model is:

Year 7 and 8

  Subject

Number of lessons

 

 

 

 

KS3

English

7

Mathematics

7

Science

7

PE

3

Geography, History, PRE

3 each

Spanish or French

3

 Art, Music, Drama, Dance, IT

2

Product Design, Food & Nutrition

Carousel, 2

Life Skills 2
Total 50

At Key Stage 4, students enjoy a very broad choice of options. In addition to the core curriculum of English, English literature, Maths, Science, ICT, PRE and Physical Education, students have three option choices. This gives the option to follow either a ‘traditional’ mix of subjects, such as a Language, along with Humanities, Technology and Arts-based subjects, or a combination which focusses on a particular area of strength. For example, a student wishing to follow a more technological path could opt for Product Design or Computer Science, or a student wishing to follow an Arts-based path could opt for Music and Drama. We also offer vocational subjects which include BTECtech award in Sport, Construction.

These are the courses we offer at the end of Year 8 for the students to study in Year 9, 10 and 11.

GCSE English Language - Core

GCSE English Literature - Core

GCSE Maths -Core

GCSE Combined Science -Core

GCSE Triple Science: Core (selected based on ability, progress at the end of Year 9)

GCSE PRE (Philosophy, Religion and Ethics) - Core

PE – Core (non-examined)

Life skills –Core (non-examined)

Literacy and numeracy programme (non-examined)

Option subjects:

GCSE Geography GCSE History GCSE French GCSE Computing Level 2 in Business and Enterprise GCSE Art GCSE Photography GCSE/Level 2 Drama GCSE Music GCSE Dance GCSE Product Design/Engineering  GCSE Food and Nutrition BTEC PE BTEC Level 2 Sport Level 2 Child Development GCSE Media

Curriculum time allocation at Key Stage 4

Life skills at Key Stage 4 is taught over 2 hours in the two week timetable. Activities related to drug education, financial education, sex and relationship education (SRE), the use of social media, and the importance of physical activity and diet for a healthy lifestyle. We also run opportunity days, 3 throughout the academic year, these days are vital for students to take part in Business days, WRL programmes or taking part in educational trips and visits.

In addition to these subjects, we have a very full Work Related Learning programme for all students at Key Stage 3 and 4. Students have careers interviews in groups, all studnets in Year 10 and Year 11 will have a one to one careers interview that is tailored by their specific interests and career pathway

Year 9

  Subject Number of lessons

 

 

 

KS4 9

English

8

Mathematics

8

Science

9

Option Subjects x 3

5 each

PE

3

PRE - Core GCSE

5
Life Skills 2

Year 10/11

  Subject Number of lessons

 

 

KS4

10 & 11

English

8

Mathematics

8

Science

7

Option Subjects x4

5 each

PE

2

PRE - Core GCSE

2
Life Skills 2

For further detail please see the Intent for each subject available on the Subjects we teach page.

Sixth Form

We offer a broad range of A-level courses which cater for a wide range of learners. In addition to studying A-level courses, students will also have form time every day. Form time covers a range of topics such as study skills, support for progression into employment or Higher Education, and current affairs.

Students in Y12/13 are also taught core PRE within their curriculum time. Students have 1 hour of PRE per fortnight as well as drop down events throughout the year.  The course content forms around reflection and discussions on religious and ethical issues. Students learn about ancient Greek philosophy, for example, and its application to modern day thinking in both a religious and non-religious context. Students discuss and evaluate their responses to modern ethical dilemmas and develop a subjective approach to moral questions.

This approach helps our students to develop the critical thinking skills and higher order analysis and evaluative skills that will enable them to flourish both in an academic and non-academic setting

Students taking applied courses

At Chiltern Hills Academy we offer some applied general qualifications - BTEC courses which may be appropriate for some learners to achieve their career goals.  BTECs and BTEC Tech Awards are rigorous advanced qualifications that equip students with transferable knowledge and skills. These qualifications are for learners who want to continue their education through applied learning. These can be taken alongside A-level qualifications. 

Students with special educational needs and/or disability

Students with special educational needs and/or disabilities will be supported through their choice of post-16 courses to ensure they follow a programme which stretches them, prepares them for adulthood and supports progression into work or further study. We work closely with students who have special education needs and/or disabilities (and their parents/carers) to ensure their choice of courses is appropriate given their career aspirations.

GCSE Maths and English 

Any student in post-16 education at Chiltern Hills Academy who has not secured a ‘good’ pass in GCSE English and/or Maths with have timetabled lessons as part of their study programme. Most employers, and universities, expect applicants to hold GCSEs in Maths and English. Therefore, students who have yet to secure a ‘good pass’ must retake these examinations following a period of study in Year 12 and, where necessary Year 13.

Work Experience 

All Year 12 students will have the opportunity to take on a work experience placement. This placement will be arranged by the student and should be related to career aspirations or help to inform career choices. Some students may gain work experience for a longer period which supports university application or employment beyond sixth form. This work experience will be planned, taking account of the students’ prior attainment, career and learning goals and linked to future aspirations. This work experience is timetabled.

All students get the opportunity to take part in meaningful activity alongside work experience. This currently includes: Buddy students in lower years, complimentary studies, enrichment support, sporting activities, University Open Day visits and visits to parliament.

Assessment and Reports

Throughout your son’s/daughter's school life his/her work, effort and attitude will be continuously assessed.

Assessment is based on a combination of classwork, homework and formal tests. Considerable emphasis is placed upon a student’s effort and potential when assessing work. Students are involved in self-assessment and encouraged to set their own targets for progress.

Progress reports are regularly issued to parents four times throughout the academic year.  These give parents information on the skills, knowledge and attitudes and provide a detailed analysis of a child's work and progress, taking into account curriculum and GCSE requirements. Parents are also invited to meet teachers and discuss their child's progress in an annual Parents' Evening. In Y11 and Sixth Form this is twice annually to support students through their external examinations.

As the government has removed level descriptors from the national curriculum, schools are free to choose whatever measure of pupil attainment and progress they feel is most appropriate. Here at Chiltern Hills Academy, we have chosen to adapt the previous curriculum levels.

Grades in the form of numbers are produced for all subjects taken and are formulated following the completion of key assessments and through the assessment of all work produced both in and out of class.  In the report, there is:

An attitude to learning grade on a scale of 1 to 4. This will provide parents with a measure of the effort that their child is deemed to be applying in class over that particular term.

A minimum target which is a target for the end of the year. To understand how we set these progress targets we must explain that progress is measured on how well each student is progressing given their individual starting point. In line with national policy, set by the Government, currently for our students the starting point is their level achieved in the Key Stage 2 (KS2) English and Maths SATs test sat at the end of Year 6. This target allows parents to judge whether a child is on track to make the expected progress to their target GCSE grade in later years.

We must note that some children do progress at a steady rate whilst others make rapid progress in some subjects. Not all students will follow this progress line exactly and it should be noted that students’ progress at different rates at different times of their education. This flight path of targets should be taken as an indicator of potential.

Students have less experience in some specialist subjects, such as MFL, and we would expect them to start from a lower level and develop a foundation of knowledge, skills and understanding.

We are in an era of great change when it comes to national assessment policy and feel that our common-sense approach to reporting attainment and progress whilst different models are trialled nationally will provide some stability and rigour to the assessment information parents, understand and can act upon.