Our curriculum provision is central to us achieving success and is underpinned by our vision.
At The Highcrest Academy we are fully comprehensive in every sense of its meaning, with our admissions policy ensuring we have an ‘all ability’ intake. We are unique in welcoming a balanced range of students from ‘all abilities’, which is representative of our community, and have a setting and support systems that challenge all of our students to do well and be well.
Our aim is to provide an acutely, personalised and inclusive curriculum, that challenges students of all abilities and creates independent and autonomous learners who are physically, digitally and academically literate.
We pride ourselves in offering progression to both academic and vocational routes, truly serving the varied needs of our students, whilst maintaining our outstanding support to narrow the gap for those who may find some areas of school challenging. Indeed, there are a vast range of intervention programmes that take place across all year groups, ensuring that every student is able to experience and celebrate success.
In recognition of our work within this area, in November 2022 we were reaccredited with the prestigious Flagship Inclusion Quality Mark for the ninth consecutive year. This award is only achieved if all pupils of all abilities are stretched to perform to their maximum. Furthermore, in June 2022 we were awarded the NACE Challenge Award for our commitment to challenging our most able learners.
At The Highcrest Academy we aim to provide all of our students with exciting opportunities which build confidence, develop a range of skills and promote academic excellence and a love of learning. We offer a broad range of courses at all levels, preparing students for further education and future careers. We also value learning beyond that which is recognised within the National Curriculum and seek to provide a broad, balanced rich and deep curriculum, which offers our students the opportunity for enrichment and deeper learning. We are relentless in developing confident young people with enquiring minds and a range of attributes that prepare them to be thoughtful, confident and responsible citizens that make a valuable contribution to society.
Our intent is to develop a curriculum that:
- Has a culture of high achievement for all
- Takes into account individual needs and learning styles
- Ensures deep learning and understanding of curriculum subject knowledge
- Allows all learners to develop skills of research, independence, creativity, enquiry and reflection that are underpinned by our School Virtues.
- Ensures there are rich and memorable learning experiences for all students
- Ensures all learners can progress and excel regardless of their background and prior attainment
- Continually teaches and reinforces Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education and prepares our young people for life in modern Britain
- Ensures our students have an appreciation of diversity; celebrating what we have in common and promoting respect for the different protected characteristics as defined in law.
- Is developed in consultation with, and embodies the aspirations and expectations of all stakeholders
- Gives our students access to a range of opportunities and support that facilitates their development towards becoming responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society
- Enables our students to make practical and effective use of our virtues, helping them to refine and develop their character.
The Implementation of our Curriculum
Please note: we are currently undertaking a full analysis of our curriculum, that will include seeking the views of all key stakeholders, to determine whether or not we should move to a three-year KS3 curriculum.
If you would like to express any views on this matter, please email Mr N Stocking, Vice Principal at email@example.com
There is flexibility in our provision that will help challenge and support every student.
At Highcrest there is a strong focus on the core subjects; English, Maths and Science which we believe are the pillars that support understanding, skills and success elsewhere in the curriculum.
Languages and Humanities are also an important part of the curriculum, with the majority of students studying both French and Spanish in Year 7 and 8. Some students will also be introduced to additional languages as part of a wider personalised curriculum, while a small number of identified students will be removed from languages to study our key skills and ASDAN programs.
Our students also have the opportunity to study a range of creative and practical subjects throughout Key Stage 3. We offer experiences in four technologies: Resistant Materials; Graphics; Food and Fashion, as well as Art; Music and Drama. We also offer Religious Education, IT, Physical Education and a personal development Life Lessons.
As a consequence of this wide range of subjects, our students are able to make genuine choices as they enter Year 9, for their GCSE programmes of study. We use Year 9 as a bridge year, to help us develop core GCSE knowledge, skills and understanding, which is then further refined to GCSE content during Years 10 and 11.
At Key Stage 4, whilst we encourage students to study GCSE option routes within the EBACC suite of subjects, the choice of creative subjects remains suitably wide and continues to thrive. Students can make genuine choices as they enter Year 9, for their GCSE programmes of study. We offer: Art, Business, Business and Economics, Computer Science, Construction, Creative Technology, Child Development, French, Drama, Engineering, Food and Cookery, Food Technology, Geography, Graphics, Health and Fitness, History, ICT, E Sports, Music, PE, Photography, Psychology, RE, Resistant Materials, Spanish, Sociology and Textiles. These are reviewed and updated every year. Further information can be found in our options booklet here.
In our growing Sixth Form, the Academy offers a wide range of A Level courses and Level 3 (A Level equivalent) BTEC courses. We also offer Level 2 BTEC courses and GCSE retakes. Full details of our offer at KS5 can be found within our Sixth Form booklet here.
The curriculum in each subject is set out on the 5-year curriculum maps that can be accessed and viewed on the subject links here.
The Impact of our Curriculum
We aim to achieve success through:
- Our 21st century curriculum that is regularly adapted to reflect the aspirations of our students
- Our personalised approaches to teaching and learning
- Our innovative approach to our own continuous professional development
- Our wider curriculum, including our careers and enterprise provision, that prepares our students for life in modern Britain and our global society
- Our care, support and commitment that we show to students to ensure they are digitally safe and equipped to succeed in the modern world
- Our contribution to the development of learning beyond our own school
- Our ethical values and working practice
- Our parental support.
The impact of the school’s curriculum is measured through several means:
- Outcomes for students what’s the three key stage
- Progress and attainment data for current year groups
- Destination’s data
- Attendance data
- Behaviour logs
- Engagement in enrichment activities
- Student voice
- Progress towards the Gatsby benchmarks
Curriculum Extension and Alternative Provision
Individual timetables are sometimes created.
As an outward facing Academy, we continue to explore and work alongside many different agencies and alternative provision providers, to enhance the opportunities for our students. During the academic year 2023/2024, these include Aylesbury Motor Project, Tool Shed and the Wycombe Skills Centre.
In addition, we continue to develop internal alternative provision that gives our students the opportunity to study vocational practical subjects within our school curriculum. These include Construction, E Sports, Hair & Beauty, Therapeutical Horticulture and our very own Forest School provision.
The Academy also excels at ‘Young Enterprise’ and groups have reached national and European finals in several events over recent years. Indeed, we won the Young Enterprise Europe’s Entrepreneurial School Award in 2019. We also operate an extensive mentoring and activity programme with the multi-national Johnson & Johnson Group.
In addition to the above, many clubs and activities run every week including sports teams, Drama productions, Music tuition and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Our Spiritual, Moral, Social And Cultural Curriculum
We aim for all of our students to be safe, happy, healthy and confident adults and to appreciate the spiritual and moral aspects of life including an appreciation of the values of democracy, the rule of law, respect and equality for all - whatever their background or beliefs.
This is achieved through an innovative, engaging and purposeful whole school personal development, ‘Life Lesson’ programme, which combines elements of PSHE, Citizenship and Careers, as well as our religious education programs of study. This program is enhanced by guest speakers and a wide range of extra-curricular events, including sporting activities, entrepreneurship programmes, digital after-school activities as well as opportunities for public speaking and debating.
Our ‘Virtues’ help our students to refine and develop their character, whilst ensuring they are physically and mentally healthy, and are fully equipped to become successful members of our community and indeed society. Furthermore, our virtues elp us build bridges to overcome any potential barriers the students may face, and we utilise every suitable opportunity to explore and reinforce them during pastoral time, lesson time and assemblies.
If you would like more information regarding our curriculum please contact Mr N Stocking, Vice Principal at firstname.lastname@example.org