“I hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand”
We believe all students have an entitlement to an outstanding education in the arts. Consequently these subjects require specialist teaching and definition as a subjects in their own right; therefore, all teachers are either subject specialists or have undergone additional training in the teaching of. The Arts require a clear sense of discipline and direction from both students and teachers combining subject specific theoretical knowledge with skills transferable to any higher educational institution or career. Outstanding Arts education empowers all concerned; we all learn by doing and experiencing for ourselves so the Arts curriculum at all key stages, allows students to explore and experience a range of mediums, topics and practitioners. All are encouraged to develop their individual skills and knowledge in a safe and productive environment.
As arts practitioners we are able to create the unexpected in our classrooms, taking students on a transformative journey in which they can create, perform and respond to a variety of stimuli from different genres, cultures and traditions. They are shown how the knowledge and skills addressed in arts lessons are relevant to life in our society, giving them new insights into the world and the means to communicate their ideas and responses to issues in effective and creative ways. Through this students become independent, critical thinkers. They develop skills enabling them to respond, reflect, develop and articulate their imagination, thoughts and feelings and those of others.
It is through this that we enable the leaders, artists and visionaries of the future.
We operate a 3 year KS3 and a 2 year KS4 and a 2 year KS5. Each Key stage works to the same philosophy and principles.
Our curriculum, in line with the Academy, is founded on these key principles:
· Entitlement – We believe that all children have the right to learn a powerful knowledge based curriculum balanced with skills and techniques specific to the Arts. We operate the United learning curriculum where it is available within KS3 and where it is not, the curriculum has been developed by subject specialists based on the requirements of KS5 and 4 courses in these areas.
· Mastery – We want all students to achieve a full understanding of the knowledge and skills specified in the Curriculum for each year, which they are able to apply both theoretically and in practice.
· Stability – We won’t constantly amend the Curriculum: while we should make occasional adjustments in the light of feedback and experience, we will aim for stability over many years, so that teachers can develop expertise, and we constantly build assessments and teaching materials to support the Curriculum.
· Concepts not context – The Arts Curriculum is intended as a concise specification of knowledge, content and skills to be taught and learned; it is for teachers to decide how to teach and bring it to life.
Creative and Expressive Arts comprises following subjects:
- · Art
- · Dance
- · Drama
- · Music
Subject specialism and creativity are at the heart of our curriculum and you will see differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in the different subjects. Theory is taught through practical application whenever and wherever possible. Students have the opportunity to develop the required skills in literacy through a mix of homework and classwork.
Further subject specialism is provided by United Learning’s subject advisors. These advisors are subject experts who help teachers link the subject discipline to our pupils’ daily experience in the classroom. Subject advisors meet regularly with the Faculty Leader and Subject Leaders and provide curriculum resources to support the implementation of the subject curriculum.
Key Stage 3 provides pupils with a foundation of skills and secure understanding of knowledge. In our lessons we expect to see all pupils grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for pupils who need it.
Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:
- Demonstration: Teacher presents new information in small steps (I)
- Guided practice with models, prompts and scaffolds (We)
- Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from the teacher (You)
At each point, teachers check understanding of all pupils by asking lots of questions and providing feedback. We use a framework of instructional coaching within the faculty to allow our teachers time and space to develop their practice.
The Rosenshine principles support the implementation of the curriuculum by ensuring that pupils regularly recall prior learning. You will often see this at the start of our lessons with our Academy “live in 5 strategy”. When prior learning is committed to long term memory it becomes fluent or ‘automatic’, freeing space in our working memory which can then be used for comprehension, application, and creativity.
In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch-up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support pupils who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.
Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum. Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense. We are passionate about ensuring this character education though our “Accrington Aspires” programme of extra-curricular activities which ensure we focus on developing the whole child; a programme which we are incredibly proud of and enjoy seeing students access and thrive in.
The Arts can and should encourage students to explore, develop and imagine meaning that the work they produce can often be original and beyond what even we have considered. Measuring and securing continuous improvement is and should be though, as rigorous in the Arts as in any other subject across the Curriculum. These are summative assessments which allow pupils to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and enable teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. These summative assessments are typically taken once or twice a year, allowing teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson.
We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing, offering students the opportunities to develop literacy that will ensure success in external exams. We provide students with key information that they are expected to learn and recall with fluency, enabling them to develop their understanding of key concepts outside of their lessons.
The culmination of our curriculum is that pupils leave our school with the confidence, creativity and intelligence to thrive. We know our pupils as individuals which enables us to provide curriculum guidance and careers guidance related to the Arts when appropriate. We expect all pupils to leave our school with the grades required to progress to their desired destination, and the character required to flourish once they get there.
By teaching our curriculum well, and delivering education with character, we bring out the best in everyone.
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..
To find out more about our curriculum please contact our Vice Principal in charge of Quality of Education Mrs Christine Williams on Christine.email@example.com or see our Curriculum policy.
Our guided choices booklets also give us more detail on the programme of Guided choices from KS3 into KS4.
In the past year we have:
- Sang National Anthems at an international rugby league match between England & New Zealand. In preparation for this, students attended a number of rehearsals and also performed and interviewed for BBC radio Lancashire. The performance at DW Stadium was also aired on BBC1.
- 12 dedicated students went to London to perform an African suite of music called Zimbe! on a West End stage with 1000 other United Learning students. This also involved a large number of rehearsals and an interview and performance for BBC Radio Lancashire. On the second day of this trip we made a visit to Warner Bros Studios to see the set and magic behind Harry Potter.
- Our students joined over 1000 students and staff across United Learning at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The students performed “Wassail! Carols of Comfort and Joy” – a brand new musical score composed by renowned composer Alexander L’Estrange.
- We are keen to get involved in local events. Recently we have performed for Accrington Mayor’s Charity Ball and jazz band are preparing for a performance at Hyndburn’s Jazz Festival at Clitheroe in May.
- Performances in school happen regularly. We work alongside dance and drama to put on fabulous shows every term including: The Christmas Cabaret, Performing Arts Academy Awards and Shine. We also perform frequently in different events; for example, students are often keen to do lunch time performances and assemblies.
If you have an interest in music, there are so many fantastic opportunities here at Accrington Academy!
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