We currently allow our pupils to choose their options from a wide range of creative, vocational and academic subjects in Year 9, enabling them to personalise their learning and opt for subjects which engage and enthuse them. We take a great deal of care to ensure that at this time pupils receive additional careers and employment advice to aid them in the decision making process. Parents and carers are also invited in and we talk extensively with all involved to ensure the right options are chosen. This process has been hugely successful, resulting in improved student outcomes as well as helping to raise attendance, reduce low level disruption and fixed term exclusions. All students make an additional option choice in year 10, many choose a creative subject, providing an important outlet at a potentially stressful time in their academic career.
Enrichment periods built into the curriculum ensure that every student’s timetable is truly bespoke. The weekly RAG process highlights students who are struggling to make progress in a particular subject area, their intervention period will then reflect this in order to close any gaps. Historically this has been focused on maths and English as this where the greatest deficit appeared in the academy. However, following the extensive improvements made in these subject areas these intervention sessions are now utilised by all curriculum areas. These sessions particularly benefit disadvantaged students who are taught in small focused groups often with additional Trust director support. Students who are excelling in all subject areas now attend a personalised learning session designed to prepare them for life at university or in a professional career. We have employed an external ‘personal coach’ who is delivering a program aimed at raising aspirations, improving confidence, leadership skills, self-esteem and students’ ability to speak publically. More students will move into this group as the year progresses and gaps in their subject knowledge are filled. Feedback to-date has been exceptionally positive and the students involved have already appreciated the impact.
The benefit of this curriculum model is that it enables pupils to focus on fewer subjects at a time, developing resilience, ambition and supporting mental well-being. Pupils can access additional support where needed which is not available at home, and over the five years they can study a wide range of subjects, keeping their future career options open and supporting them into further employment, education or training.
The impact of this model on the most disadvantaged has been overwhelmingly positive, with disadvantaged pupils at Manor Croft making significantly more progress than non-disadvantaged children nationally in 2018. This has a lasting impact on these students and their ability to lift themselves out of the cycle of deprivation.