09 Jun HT Blog 34 – Curriculum
Last week, our KS3 students in Years 7 & 8 embarked upon seven-week forays into additional learning experiences as part of Daubeney Academy’s commitment to ensuring an appropriate and engaging breadth of curriculum for all of our young people. Although not all of our students got their first choice from the range of options that they wanted to select on the forms that they had to had in before half-term (we can’t have 65 students in our Sports Leadership class!), everyone was placed in a group that will not only enhance their overall educational experiences but also, potentially, open their minds to subjects whose value they might not have previously appreciated. In Year 7, our students will be studying either Sports Leadership, Graphics, Music (in addition to their already timetabled Music lessons), German or Performing Arts (again, an additional version of something that is already covered) and in Year 8 they will have one from Sports Leadership, Ethics, Music (as above!), German and Performing Arts (also as above!) In the Sports Leadership lessons, students will be introduced to the themes of leadership and how this translates to the sporting environment, developing these emerging skills in small group sessions; in Graphics, students will be looking at food packaging and designing their own variations of wrappers and labels; in Music, students will be given opportunities to develop playing and performance skills on a variety of available instruments, including guitar, piano, keyboard, percussion, voice or bass guitar; in Ethics, students will be investigating the role of media in its various forms in contemporary society, questioning its purpose, responsibility and impact; in German, students will be learning about school subjects and by the end of the seven week course they will all be able to converse confidently about their likes and dislikes at school; and in Performing Arts, students will use the story of Alice in Wonderland as an introduction to physical theatre, reading scripts and utilising techniques such as freeze framing as well as developing an understanding of stage management. Even for a secondary school that is so much smaller than many others, I believe that our curriculum offer provides our students with experiences that they would struggle to find elsewhere, and I know that our young people are receiving an educational diet that will help to prepare them for later in their lives, whatever it is they choose to do. Next year, our commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum will continue, with Arabic coming on board as an additional MFL option subject offered to students in Years 7, 8 & 9.
A school’s curriculum is so much more than just what is written on a student’s timetable, of course – in many ways, it could and should be seen as the entirety of a student’s lived experience whilst at a school. At Daubeney, I am proud of how much time, effort and thought our subject leaders have put into the development of their curricula, with sequences of learning developed so that what our students cover links with prior learning and looks ahead to what follows at both KS5 and beyond. In addition, our curriculum is intentionally enhanced with a variety of LOTC opportunities, such as last week’s CMAT-wide meeting with TV-chef Prue Leith, our forthcoming summer term History trips to The Black Country Living Museum & Holdenby House and our annual Brecon Beacons expedition, which takes place this year in September. All of the curriculum experiences that our students have, whether in or out of the classroom, contribute to their ongoing overall development as the young people who will one day become leaders of our local community, and for this to happen as effectively as possible it is vital that we continue to offer opportunities to cover subjects that they haven’t had before and to encounter people and places that would not ordinarily be part of their everyday lives. The size of a school should have no bearing whatsoever on the quality of the education that is offered to its students, and with absolute confidence I can state that Daubeney Academy is doing its very best to ensure that the community that it is proud to serve is receiving a curriculum offer that even many of the larger schools in our local area would struggle to match.