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Curriculum Overview

At Accrington Academy, we offer an engaging, inspiring and innovative curriculum, which equips students with the skills and qualifications they need to make a success of their lives.
More information on specific subjects can be found here.

Our curriculum structure works through a two-week timetable where every day has 5 x 1 hour lessons plus a registration / tutor time at the start of the day. Within this schedule we aim to provide a broad, balanced, coherent and challenging curriculum for all in an engaging, inspiring and motivating way; which enables each student to enjoy learning and achieve success in school. 

We pay particular attention to the core skills of English, Mathematics and Computer Science, however we are keen to ensure that students develop the essential skills and qualifications they need to reach their full potential. This means accelerating the more able students and giving extra support to those who need it. Our curriculum meets all the requirements of the National Curriculum and other statutory subjects.

Students move through the Key Stage 3 (years 7&8) National Curriculum at the rate most suited to their ability and we work closely with our partner primary schools to ensure a smooth and successful transition to high school and the new curriculum. Students embark on GCSE courses in Year 9.

For Years 9, 10 and 11, our students can opt to study a full range of GCSEs or combine their core GCSEs with other qualifications in more applied or vocational subjects. All students have the oppourtunity to study EBAC qualifications, although this is not compulsory. Our curriculum at this key stage is aimed at securing the best possible opportunities for students post-16 and we offer a comprehensive package of careers guidance and support to underpin this.

The range of GCSEs on offer at Key Stage 4 builds into our Sixth Form curriculum. The majority of students  remain with us into the Sixth Form to continue their education. 

The Academy places particular emphasis on the development of literacy and ITC skills. Reading is one of the ways that all students can improve their own level of success.

It helps them:

  • Increase their vocabulary
  • Improve their writing skills
  • Learn new ideas
  • Engage in creative thinking and reflection

All students complete KS4 with an ICT qualification.

We have a two year Key Stage 3. During Years 7 and 8 all students follow the same courses. All students’ study: English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Art, Music, Drama, Physical Education (PE), Creative Design & Technology, New Technology and Religious Education (RE). All classes are set according to ability. PE and Creative Design & Technology are taught in smaller mixed ability classes.

Our students in Years 7 & 8 follow the United Learning ‘Mastery Curriculum’ in English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Computing, Music and PE.  A mastery curriculum breaks the key knowledge relating to each subject area into units with clearly specified objectives, which are pursued until they are achieved. Students work through each block of content in a series of sequential steps and must demonstrate a high level of success on tests. Typically, about 80% of our students are expected to have mastered the threshold concepts before progressing to new content. Retention of this knowledge is then assessed in future testing and gaps, which emerge are addressed.

Alongside the mastery curriculum, it is our aim to promote the student’s development. To achieve this we run a thematic curriculum framework. The framework is built on specifically promoting and developing 5 groups of competencies that we believe are essential for students to develop as lifelong learners.

At the end of Year 8, students choose their options and begin to study their GCSE subjects from Year 9. The options process begins in the January with assemblies to explain the option process and introduce new subjects that have not been taught at Key Stage 3.  In February we hold a Parents ‘Careers and Information’ evening.  Attendance to this is always in the high 90 percentage and is highly valued by all, giving students and parents the opportunity to meet subject leaders, further education providers and a wide range of business advisors.  In addition, parents and students may book in for one-to-one meetings with a member of the senior leadership team or pastoral team to review and discuss career aspirations and suitable GCSE options.

Subject options are made by February half term.  Our Vice Principal constructs the timetable for September of that year to ensure that most students starting Year 9 are given the opportunity to study their desired options.  Where this is not possible, we will inform students and parents and a suitable alternative subject is agreed.

For further, in depth, details please read our Options page.

Number of hours taught in a 2 week timetable:

SubjectYear 7Year 8
Creative Design & Technology44
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)44
Physical Education (PE)44
New Technologies42
Religious Education (RE)22

Years 9 to 11 are important years in preparing students for external examinations and for further education or apprenticeships.  Having a three year Key Stage 4 allows us to devote extra time to Maths and English, however also ensures that students have maximum choice and can select up to 4 options for subjects studied.

Except for Maths, English and Sciences, GCSE subjects are taught over five periods every two weeks.  All students are required to study Religious Studies and also receive four periods of Physical Education over two weeks. There is also the opportunity to gain accredited qualifications in core PE lessons.

In Year 11 students apply to enter our Sixth Form and select the A level / vocational subjects they wish to study.  Students are encouraged to consider a full range of post 16 options available, however we are delighted that so many choose to remain with us here at the Academy.

GCSE Subjects:
English, English Literature, Mathematics, Science, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, French, Spanish, Computer Science, History, Geography, Business Studies, Music,  Product Design, Art, Drama, Textiles, PE, Photography, Food Technology & Film Studies.

Vocational subjects:
BTEC Media, Sport, Dance, Health & Social Care and Child Care.

Number of hours taught in a 2 week timetable:

SubjectYear 9Year 10Year 11
Physical Education (PE)443/4
Option Subjects5-655

Accrington Academy specialises in the delivery of Level 3 qualifications, both A Level and BTEC Nationals. Students can choose to study these separately or combined.

We are proud of our Sixth Form, both in terms of its academic achievement and of the contribution our students make to the Academy and to the wider community.  We have a dedicated team of tutors and administration staff who provide guidance and pastoral support to all students.  Students enjoy their own Sixth Form Centre, which has a dedicated dining facility and quiet areas/learning for individual study, mentoring or collaborative work.  Our school Careers Officer is also based in the Sixth Form Centre on certain days and personal appointments can be made.

The numerous opportunities for students to become involved in activities outside the classroom include charity fundraising, sports, the School Council, working with local primary school children, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Sixth Form classes are generally smaller in number than main school classes (ranging from 5 to 25 students).  Students study three A Level qualifications over the two years. Those students taking the vocational route study the BTEC Nationals.

Each A Level subject in Years 1 and 2 is taught over ten hours every two weeks.  Outside of lessons, students are given freedom and responsibility to manage their own time.

Throughout Years 1 and 2 students meet regularly with their tutor to receive mentoring and support, including career guidance, UCAS applications, personal, social and health issues, and support with enrichment activities.

A Level subjects:
English Literature & Language, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, French, Spanish, Fashion & Textiles, Art, Theatre Studies, Dance, Geography, History, Media, ICT, Music, Ethics, Business Studies, Sociology, Psychology and Law.

Vocational subjects:
Sport, Media, Beauty, Health & Social Care and Child Care.

For more information regarding Sixth Form courses visit our Sixth Form pages.

Number of hours taught in a 2 week timetable:

SubjectYear 1Year 2
A Levels1010
Vocational (excluding placements)2222
English & Mathematics re sits44