Harris Academy Chobham
The overall aim of Harris Academy Chobham is, through education, to maximise the life chances of all of our students. We wish to raise aspiration and create opportunity.
The Academy curriculum is broad and ambitious, knowledge rich and inclusive. It provides students with high quality learning experiences and has been carefully planned for progression from EYFS to year 13. Our students come from a range of diverse backgrounds and this has been taken into consideration when planning our curriculum to build cultural capital. In conjunction with excellent teaching that impacts positively on learning and progress, our curriculum enables all students to respond to the opportunities and challenges of a rapidly changing world.
Our curriculum seeks to promote resilience and creativity in our students. It reflects the values of the school: inclusion, curiosity, honesty, empathy, excellence and respect.
We want our students to learn the essential ideas, facts, stories and concepts required to have a deep understanding of each subject and to develop the critical thinking and independent learning skills which can be transferred across subjects. We are focused on building rich webs of knowledge for each pupil.
The curriculum has been very carefully planned and sequenced. Departments have identified threshold concepts and important core components and considered how these are structured to ensure ambitious end points. Subject leaders have designed the curriculum carefully so that knowledge is built upon, and core concepts returned to.
Assessment is used carefully and appropriately so that misconceptions are identified and addressed and each subject has structures in place to ensure knowledge is securely learned, for example there is a specific and deliberate focus on retrieval practice. A core principle is that there is no denial of knowledge for any student and that ambition and challenge is reflected regardless of prior attainment.
We ensure excellent curriculum progression, with the majority of subjects on offer all the way from Y1 to Y13. Our EYFS curriculum is rooted in the EYFS framework but consideration has been taken into how the areas of the framework are preparing children for future study – for example, the understanding the world curriculum has been planned in conjunction with our history, geography and science leads.
High quality careers experiences, education, information, advice and guidance is built into each key stage to support students with their next steps in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks and the Baker Clause.
We have taken a research informed approach to curriculum design using the knowledge about cognitive science that has grown rapidly over the last few years
Learning/knowledge acquisition is sequenced purposefully so that similar concepts are interspersed with different pieces of knowledge, rather than being consecutive. At Chobham, we believe this is the best way for learning to be embedded into long term memory. This method also improves pupils’ abilities to apply many pieces of knowledge to one task, which pupils could otherwise find very difficult.
A second method we use to help pupils commit knowledge and skills to memory is the spacing effect. This refers to incorporating time delays between learning and practise, leading to better educational performance over time. This means that pupils learn something new, then have more opportunities to re-visit that learning and practise it throughout the year. Pupils therefore do not have opportunities to forget, but also allows for mastery.
All subjects in primary and secondary have discrete subject leaders. These colleagues lead on liaison and joint planning across the phases. They work together to make sure that the content of our curriculum meets both National Curriculum requirements and the needs and ambitions of our students.
In some primary subjects, the benefits of having secondary specialist colleagues on hand enables the provision of a richer and more expertly designed curriculum. This is an advantage of the all through model not to be underestimated.
There are curriculum areas (such as the humanities and arts subjects) where our primary teachers may not be subject specialists. A close working relationship with their secondary peers enables these teachers to ensure their curriculums are of a high quality and that they are as relevant as possible to the learning students will encounter in the secondary phase, giving our young people the best subject specific preparation we can.
Student literacy development is central to our curriculum design. Every member of staff is driven to promote social mobility and eradicate the cycle of disadvantage through the development of reading, writing and oracy skills. We believe these are fundamental in terms of ensuring that social and economic status does not determine students’ futures. We firmly believe that developing proficient communication capabilities will ensure that all of our students, regardless of starting point, are able to access and accurately perceive the world around them as well as flourish socially and academically. Explicit vocabulary teaching is built into all units of work and there is a clear focus on the development of disciplinary literacy across all subject areas.
Students who did not go to Chobham primary
Each year 90 of our 210 Year 7 entrants join us from the Chobham primary phase. The remainder come from a wide range of other local primaries. Within our all through provision, it is vital that we ensure these new students are quickly assimilated into the learning environment and behavioural ethos of the Academy. Prior to their arrival, we make contact with all of our prospective students’ primary schools to find out about the curriculum they have followed and their individual learning. On arrival, we make sure that all of our students are made welcome and fully inducted into the school’s systems. Academic departments ensure that high quality baseline testing gives us the best possible information on each student’s ability across the curriculum. We recognise the need to compensate for any identified gaps in learning or to support students who are clearly talented but may never have experienced a subject before (for example in foreign languages).