Our aim at the academy is to ensure all pupils embed and retain key knowledge needed for each subject at every key stage. Each lesson is structured to sequence and re-visit information and check pupil understanding through frequent testing. This regular review of pupil knowledge allows pupils to learn and remember key pieces of information and is vital in preparing pupils for the next stage of their learning. It also allows pupils to track their progress and find out what they need to do to improve. Indeed regular, low stakes, testing ensures that pupils embed knowledge into their long term memory. Also pupils are assessed by a combination of peer, self and teacher assessments. Summative assessment will take place, linked to the Learning Journey specific to the knowledge and skills needed in each subject. Following assessments, teachers will support pupils to identify gaps in learning and show them how to fill these gaps through class intervention.
Although we do not share every test with parents/carers, we ask staff to summarise pupil progress and report this to parents on three occasions throughout the year. Each report will give information about a pupils’ current grade/step/pathway to show achievement/progress in lessons; information about a pupil’s attitude to learning, behaviour and homework will also be included. Teachers will also write a comment to support progress on most reports. We also use Parent Evenings to further discuss all aspects of pupil progress (linked to pastoral care and academic needs) and welcome parents and carers to contact school at any time if they wish to discuss any aspect of their child’s education or welfare.
As an Academy, we place greater emphasis on pupils’ final grade, while ensuring they are on track throughout the year. The reports are our main way of communicating with parents about the progress that their child is making. When reports are issued it is also an opportunity for parents to talk with their child about the progress he/she is making in lessons. If the report raises issues, parents should contact the Year Leader in the first instance.
Our KS3 curriculum is designed to enable pupils to achieve a deep understanding of a range of skills and knowledge from a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, encompassing those set out in the National Curriculum. The planning of the curriculum enables pupils to know how the learning is connected to long term objectives, other subjects and the wider curriculum. Pupils learn essential knowledge built around a ‘learning journey’ and ‘Big Ideas’ to ensure they have a deep understanding across a range of subjects. The ‘Learning Journey’ shows pupils the skills and knowledge needed to progress in each subject through a series of ‘can do’ statements. This will allow pupils to see what they need to be able to ‘do’ to move on to the next step. This encourages pupils to focus on deeper learning to ensure real understanding of key concepts. Each Big Idea topic accompanies a planned learning journey with clear statements setting out what pupils need to know, understand and do to be successful.
The National curriculum content is carefully tracked to ensure that pupils have covered all areas of non-statutory KS4 subjects by the end of Year 9.There are also many opportunities built into lessons to secure the need to recall and retrieve previous learning so that knowledge is fully embedded. Indeed teachers continue to develop pedagogy, particularly related to metacognition, so that pupils can remember and recall information from a deep understanding of their learning. The learning in KS3 provides a platform for pupils to be able to access the next stage in their learning journey, as well as learning for their future and becoming positive citizens within their community.
Pupils have the opportunity to study a range of creative and performance related subjects, enabling us to identify any gifted and talented pupils, whilst also allowing pupils to discover and embrace what can become lifelong personal interests and talents.
In Year 8, pupils choose 4 subjects to study in depth in Year 9. This is a deliberate action to engage pupils and enable pupils to really enjoy their subject and learn the depth of their subject over a three year course. The curriculum model allows pupils to choose 4 subjects in addition to the core Maths, English, Science, PE, computing and Life & Society lessons. These gateway courses are not externally examined but lay the foundations for KS4. In year 9, pupils are able to move between subjects within option blocks thereby ensuring that they are satisfied with their option choices at the start of KS4.
In addition, pupils in Year 9 study a range of subjects aimed to build upon the knowledge gained throughout Year 8 and enhance the content of the National Curriculum. This bespoke curriculum offer builds cultural capital through the study of language, the arts, design and humanities. The curriculum time in Year 9 is carefully planned so that it is highly ambitious, ensuring pupils learn the best of what has been thought and said so that they can compete against the best locally, nationally and globally.
Formative Assessment is intended to inform day to day teaching and learning. It consists of a range of interactions with pupils that provides immediate and ongoing feedback and immediate interventions during lessons to enable pupils to make progress. Formative assessment allows the teacher to evaluate and adapt their teaching to meet the needs of pupils allowing them to learn more effectively therefore positively impacting their learning to deepen the understanding. In addition, it allows pupils to evaluate their own work (or that of others) and consider how to improve.
Summative Assessment then allows the teachers to analyse whether the intended curriculum has been taught effectively and enables the reviewing of their curriculum to ensure that pupils are able to know, remember and do more as a result of it.
Each subject area has developed a learning journey which will allow our pupils to develop the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful learner. The learning journey is shared with pupils at the start of the topic so that they are aware of how their learning will develop over each half term, alongside how they will be assessed.
For pupils to do well in a subject, it is essential that they have a good understanding of the basics. For this reason, in some subjects, it is not simply more knowledge that is needed to achieve to a high standard. In some areas, pupils will be expected to ‘master’ the basics and will then be assessed depending upon their ability to apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired in a different context.
From September 2021 we are making some changes to the way that we assess and report pupil achievement in Year 7 and Year 8. Pupils will be placed into a pathway based on their KS2 data and through core subject baseline assessments, completed during September. We do not want to assign KS4 target grades to pupils as we do not want to limit their aspirations.
Based on their identified start points, pupils will be placed into one of four pathways:
These pathways are not fixed and where pupils are working consistently above, their pathway will be changed. No pupil can be moved down.
The skills and knowledge needed to succeed in each pathway is shared with pupils through the usual series of can do statements. These are linked to Achievement Bands on the Learning Journeys used in class.This will allow pupils to see what they need to be able to achieve to progress.
High aspirations and a drive for success are something that we encourage at Castleford Academy and as a result, the achievement band will be regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure each pupil achieves their full potential.
All pupils will be set a minimum target that we expect them to achieve based on their KS2 SATs. Pupils are also set an aspirational target that they are expected to strive towards. The targets are designed to challenge each pupil to reach their full potential and to acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding to achieve the very best grade they can at GCSE. It is possible that some pupils will achieve beyond their expected grade. These high aspirations and drive for success are something that we encourage and as a result, the targets will be regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure each pupil achieves their full potential.
All GCSEs are now graded on a scale of 1-9. Grade 9 is the highest grade and grade 1 is the lowest. At present the BTEC courses are graded using Pass, Merit and Distinction , but this may change in the future.
Grades 4 and 5 are a grade C. A grade 4 is a standard pass and a grade 5 is a good pass.
|New GCSE Grades||Legacy GCSE Grades|
The options process provides pupils with the opportunity to build on their strengths, equip them with the necessary skills and experiences to further their career aspirations and prepare them for future career development and the world of work. Options are structured in such a way to allow pupils a free choice, but pupils are guided to subjects that build on their strengths and talents as well as prepare them for any future career aspirations. This is through our Personal Development curriculum and the options process. Indeed all pupils have equal access to subjects and pupils are offered a range of both GCSE and vocational options. This is designed to offer stretch and challenge, equity of delivery and to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that provides the flexibility needed to maximise outcomes, keep post 16 choices wide and improve life chances for all pupils.
All pupils will study English Language, English Literature, maths, science (either triple science or combined science, PE* and PSHE/RE*. (*=none examined)
The majority of pupils must choose one subject from a choice of triple science, history, geography, computer science or MFL. Pupils are encouraged to choose the English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications (by choosing history or geography and a modern foreign language). Pupils then choose a further 3 qualifications from a suite of GCSE and BTEC vocational options.
In Year 10 and Y11 pupils are assessed through a range of strategies including:
Similar to Y7-9, pupils will be provided with structured success criteria to enable them to understand what they know and can do, alongside the next steps to ensure better understanding and progression. Assessment will guide pupils to undertake tasks that will focus on their areas of need, so personalising their learning and supporting progress.
Our main way of communicating with you is through reports which are sent home. These reports will give you a brief overview of how your child is working and progressing in the range of subjects taught. This is a ‘snapshot’ based on the evidence available at the time of writing the report. Should you have any questions or concerns after reading the report, it is vital that you contact the specific department Subject Leader or speak to your child’s Year Leader. Indeed by working together we can support your child to feel happy, secure and able to achieve.
Attitude to Learning, Behaviour and Homework Judgements:
Attitude to learning, behaviour and homework grades are linked to the following comments:
|D||Sometimes working below expectations|
|E||Often fails to meet expectations|
Attitude to learning is based on the effort that a child puts into classwork. This takes into account their effort across all activities in class – oral work, practical tasks, written work, independent work and how they work with others.
Behaviour is linked to all aspects of how a child: interacts with others; does what they are asked to do and how the choices that they make enable all members of our community to be happy, feel safe and able to achieve.
Homework encompasses the quality of homework that has been completed, alongside the amount of homework done on time.
Staff use E-praise to reward pupils. In addition, pupils who achieve B or better in both Attitude to Learning and Behaviour will receive a certificate – ‘Head Teacher’s Award’ – and also three E-praise points. Indeed we are proud of pupils who do their best to work with us and recognise their continued efforts.
Progress is reported based on a range of opportunities for pupils to show their knowledge, skills, what they can remember and what they can do. Classwork, oral work, homework, bookwork and assessments are used to assess progress. Judgements are aligned to the scheme of learning taught, prior learning and the knowledge and skills needed at each stage of a pupil’s learning.
© Castleford Academy Trust 2022