Curriculum Intent Statement: 2023-2024

Our Academy motto ​ is ‘Be inspired and achieve together’.  Our vision is for students and staff at our Academy to be inspired by what they and others do at Arnold Hill and for everyone to achieve the very highest standards.  We strive to build student character to improve and maximise the life chances of students.  We are determined that all students are well prepared to succeed and prosper as they move through our academy and into further education, employment or training. This in turn, supports positive wellbeing and equips students with the skills and knowledge they need.

Our academy expectation is for all students to consistently experience exceptional curriculum provision inclusive of inspiring teaching and a wide variety of learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom.  The academy promotes consistent, high-quality inclusive teaching which challenges and develops all students whatever their prior attainment. There is additional focus on priority groups of students which includes; Disadvantaged, SEN, Higher Prior Attainers and Boys. We want all staff, parents, and students to share the same high expectations for student behaviour and achievement.  We expect all students to be set ambitious goals and receive the right support and intervention to become resilient individuals who will achieve their maximum potential and be fully prepared for life beyond Arnold Hill Spencer Academy.

The values and beliefs forming the ethos at Arnold Hill Spencer Academy are based on the principle of respect, which is a fundamental British Value.  We expect all stakeholders to demonstrate respect for others, for learning, for themselves and for the academy.  The curriculum recognises and values the diversity of the UK and our community. All subject areas as well as the extra-curricular and Personal Development curriculum promote equality for everyone through the study, discussion, and exploration of a range of controversial and sensitive issues. The curriculum is fully inclusive and does not discriminate in relation to gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, socio-economic background, disability, religious or political beliefs, family circumstance or sexual orientation.

Our vision can only be realised through creating the conditions in which learning, creativity and innovation can flourish:

An outstanding ‘Quality of Education’ requires a secure, supportive and structured environment, which has a positive impact on conduct and attitudes to learning amongst the whole Academy community.  This is an essential foundation for students’ academic attainment and progress, and their wider development as young people. Everyone in our community has the right to feel respected, valued and safe and we have a duty to promote, nurture and protect good citizens for our local and wider community.

We believe that high quality teaching and relationships are based on respect, this underpins positive attitudes to learning in the classrooms and our wider surroundings. We are committed to getting to know our students and developing the highest quality interpersonal relationships. We are also committed to managing student conduct in an emotionally literate way and seeking, where possible, to provide students with opportunities to get things right and make amends.

Our positive approach is also fundamentally important in developing a sense of positive identity with our Academy and the wider community; a sense of belonging and a real sense of ‘being proud to belong’.

We actively promote equality for all through our knowledge rich curriculum focus and ethos which is underpinned by Fundamental British Values and Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development.

Our curriculum is designed to meet the students’ needs and aspirations regardless of performance table measures. We have developed a knowledge rich curriculum across the key stages. Our ‘Bridge’ curriculum in Year 9 ensures a secure transition between Key Stage 3 and 4.

The Academy curriculum intent below, takes into consideration the impacts of the pandemic on learning and learners. As part of the Reconnect Curriculum, planning accounts for any gaps in knowledge and skills on an individual and cohort basis.

From Key Stage 2 into Key Stage 3: Year 7, 8 and 9:


Our Key Stage 3 curriculum is developed in close collaboration with the Arnold Hill Family of Schools in the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum phase. Curriculum planning and implementation links together Key Stage 2 and 3 ensuring  that all knowledge is built on and there is a cohesive transition for all students joining Arnold Hill Spencer Academy.

Our Key Stage 3 knowledge rich curriculum has been developed to promote a range of skills. Our school-wide teaching approach focuses on team curriculum planning with an emphasis on:

  • High quality lessons which plan for the needs of all.
  • Knowledge acquisition, retention and retrieval.
  • Challenge for all.
  • Vocabulary building, oracy and reading.
  • Developing subject knowledge and skills on a three-year journey and curriculum time is allocated on this basis. This ensures the National Curriculum is covered and means some subjects are interleaved on rotation in Design and Technology in Year 7-9 and the Arts in Year 9.

In turn this fosters a learning environment which is innovative and engaging. An enriched vocabulary enables a better understanding of concepts and ideas. Deliberate practice of oracy skills enables students to communicate clearly and articulately which in turn raises life chances.

Subjects studied in Year 7, 8 and 9 include: English, Maths, Science, V.O.I.C.E (Values, Oracy, Identity, Citizenship, Expression), IT & Computing, Design & Technology, Cooking and Nutrition, Spanish, French, Humanities, Art, Music, Drama, and P.E. 

Our V.O.I.C.E enables students to learn, understand and develop fundamental oracy skills for life whilst building cultural capital. British Values themes underpin the content through which these skills are advanced. VOICE is planned and delivered by the Humanities faculty at year 7 with the oracy framework also embedded in the year 8 MFL cultural capital curriculum; this is to strengthen cross-faculty links and ingrain explicit oracy learning and teaching through our KS3 curriculum. The faculty of Design and Technology cover the National Curriculum over a three year journey. The subjects of cooking and nutrition and textiles are taught for an hour a week for three half terms each in year 7 and 8. Product Design is taught for an hour a week in year 7 & 8.  In year 9, Cooking and Nutrition is taught for one hour a week and Design and Technology (Product Design and Textiles) is taught for one hour a week. In the Arts, Drama, Music and Art are taught for one hour a week in year 7 and 8. In Year 9, each subject is interleaved and taught for four half terms each. Students are therefore at different points throughout the year. Interleaving requires students to access previous knowledge to make links between different topics, enhancing memory recall as a result.

Aspirational Groupings in Year 7, 8 and 9:

We foster a culture of aspiration for all our school community. At the point of transition to secondary school, students come from a range of backgrounds and starting points and develop at different rates. A range of information is used to appropriately group students. This includes Reading Age, SATs data, and Teacher Assessment.  Groupings are reviewed on a termly cycle to ensure that everyone has appropriate stretch and challenge in all their lessons as well as promoting high expectations for all.

In order to support exceptional curriculum provision for all, we operate the following grouping profiles:

  • Maths, Science and IT and Computing: Mixed banding where students are grouped within a range of attainments within each class, for example Higher Attaining and Middle Attaining mixed together. 
  • Modern Foreign Languages (MFL): We recognise students will have had a range of different provision in MFL at primary school. All students study either Spanish and French, making their choices during Transition at the end of Year 6. Students are grouped in mixed attainment groupings. 
  • PE: Based on aptitude for physical activities and sport.
  • All other areas of the curriculum: Mixed attainment where students are grouped within a wide range of prior attainment and supported by high-quality stretch and challenge for all.

Key Stage 3: Year 9: The ‘Bridge’ curriculum:

From February half-term in Year 9, our ‘Bridge’ curriculum in Year 9 provides a transition between Key Stage 3 and 4 where students build a secure knowledge rich platform based on the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum from which they proceed to develop a deeper and enhanced understanding through Years 10 and 11.

Subject Year 7: number of hours per week Year 8: number of hours per week Year 9: number of hours per week
Maths 4 4 4
English 4 4 4
Science 3 3 4
Humanities (History, Geography, Beliefs, Philosophy and Ethics) 3 3 3
MFL 2 3* 3
Design and Technology 2 2 2
Arts (Art, Drama, Music) 3 3 2
PE 2 2 2
IT and Computing 1 1 1
VOICE 1 *Delivered through MFL


Year 10 and 11: Key Stage 4

We have a variety of pathways on offer at Key Stage 4 and invest heavily in preparing students for their option choices. We believe the EBacc (a combination of Maths, Science, English, Humanities, MFL and Computer Science) promotes aspiration and therefore all students with a Target Grade of 4 or above in our core subjects, and a 5 in MfL, will be  encouraged to study the EBacc. Where a student will be better served by following a non-EBacc pathway we will ensure they have appropriate options available to study and prepare them for the next phase in their education and enhance their employability.

Aspirational Groupings in Year 10 and 11:

Maths, Science, Humanities and MFL: students are grouped in attainment bands.

English: Mixed attainment with one setted group per year half in Year 11, supported by high-quality stretch and challenge for all.

MFL,  Humanities and Options Subjects: students are taught in mixed ability groups.

Subject 2023-2024: Year 10 2023-2024: Year 11
Maths 4 5
English 5 5
Science 5 5
Option A 3 3
Option B 3 3
Option C 3 3
Core PE 2 1


Courses Offered:

Spanish History Product Design Engineering Drama
French Geography Textiles GCSE PE Art
Business Studies BPE Food Dance Music
Computing BTEC Creative Media Child Development BTEC Health and Social


Year 12 and 13: Key Stage 5:

Provision at Key Stage 5 is broad and comprehensive. We are highly ambitious for all our students. A Levels and BTECs are offered across the curriculum. High quality exceptional curriculum provision and the culture of aspiration fostered through external opportunities with universities and employers ensures that the majority of students go on to higher education and training. The curriculum has been designed carefully to meet the needs and aspirations of students. The curriculum builds on KS3 and KS4 Pathways with Students studying a wide range of subjects that lead to relevant academic and vocational qualifications. 

Any curriculum changes are informed and supported by a rigorous application and Interview process into the Sixth Form. There is an Annual Review of the Curriculum and Prospectus offer based around the needs of students on entry and this is enhanced by bespoke programmes to support high aspirations for the most able and disadvantaged pupils.

Option A Option B Option C Option D Option E
Chemistry BTEC Health & Social Double Award Biology Biology Business Studies
Psychology English Literature BTEC Sport & Exercise Science Double Award BTEC Health & Social Double Award Sociology
Sociology History Business Studies Chemistry Further Maths
Philosophy Physical Education English Language BTEC Sport & Exercise Science Double Award Art
Spanish Physics Maths Economics French
Computing Psychology Government & Politics Geography History
Food Science & Nutrition BTEC Creative Media Single Award A Level Music Maths Psychology
A Level Drama A Level Fashion & Textiles BTEC Music Psychology A Level Product Design
English Literature


Extra-Curricular and Building Cultural Capital:

The taught curriculum at Arnold Hill ensures exceptional curriculum provision through a breadth of enrichment opportunities. The taught curriculum is complemented by a wide range of enrichment extra-curricular clubs and activities. This includes opportunities in the Arts, sports and physical activities, Combined Cadet Force and Duke of Edinburgh Awards Programme. The academy is very proud to launch its enrichment programme during the Guidance sessions whereby all students from year 7-10 will be guided to engage with a range of opportunities.

Within all curriculum areas, there is a high expectation of promoting opportunities for building cultural capital. This is through the increased provision and participation of trips, visits and outside providers as well as enhancing lessons though cultural awareness thus creating an exceptional curriculum experience for all.

Special Educational Needs:

SEND at Arnold Hill Spencer academy is the inclusive, accessible provision which supports children with special educational needs and disability to thrive.

As a fully inclusive school, Arnold Hill Spencer Academy is committed to identifying and providing for the needs of all students. Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are best supported through quality first teaching. Every teacher is a teacher of every child or young person including those with SEND; and all staff are trained in and adhere to our model of good practice. Our training is reviewed and revisited on an annual basis for teachers and support staff.

Students are recognised as individuals, with abilities and development needs which will vary across the curriculum. Class teachers and support staff are able to identify individual development requirements, and to provide lessons and activities which ensure progress at all levels of ability.

Our provision is bespoke and working with teachers ensure all pupils have a route to a wide and balanced curriculum that considers learning habits and cognitive load. 

Access Arrangements

All pupils in KS4 and KS5 are screened using software which identifies if pupils require any access arrangements of their GCSEs or A Levels exams. This is in line with JCQ requirements and training is provided annually. We are also BPS (British Psychological Society)

Assessment and Additional Support:

Formal assessments of learning are conducted according to our Assessment, Recording and Reporting schedule for all year groups. All assessments are Key Stage appropriate and assess the relevant knowledge and skills for the year group. Progress and engagement updates are then shared with parents and students each term. In addition, teachers use a range of formative assessments to measure students’ learning during lessons,  informally and frequently.

The implementation of this policy is monitored through whole school, departmental and pastoral self-review.

All students have opportunities to extend their skills and talents, which includes the provision of additional classes and extension opportunities for more able and talented students, as well as intervention and support provision as required.

To find out what your child will learn in each of their subjects, please click the button below…

Curriculum Maps