Across EOTAS, our curriculum is designed to support the school’s values: We hold an unswerving belief in the power of education to improve life chances. We incorporate this into everything we do. Through the academic offer and personal development curriculum, we aim to provide our students with better choices that lead to better lives.
Aspiration and Achievement
To ensure that all pupils are challenged to be the best they can be and achieve great things, making the most of every opportunity to reach their full potential.
Resilience and Responsibility
To ensure that our pupils will bounce back and adapt to change, be determined and take responsibility when something seems hard. Better to have tried and failed then never tried at all.
Courage and Confidence
To ensure that our pupils develop trust, encouraging them to accept help and be open to try new things. This will help them to grow in confidence and face their fears.
To achieve this, we:
- Use the National Curriculum as the source for a broad and balanced provision in KS3, which builds from the new learning taking place in KS2 and provides a springboard for specialisation at KS4 and beyond
- Provide extra time and support for numeracy and literacy, with a particular focus on reading
- Ensure that the most up-to-date technology is used effectively to support learning
- Embed our focus on pastoral and transition support and skills into everyday lessons, but also provide more extended activities in these areas on immersion days, trips and events
- Ensure pupils are aware of how the curriculum generates a variety of progression routes through KS4 and on to post-16 courses, apprenticeships, work or university
- Use the PIXL Edge tutor and PSHE programmes, assemblies and Careers activities to ensure pupils understand the importance of their personal, social and emotional health in supporting their progress
We absolutely believe that education extends beyond the immediate classroom and that a school is a richer place for the many enrichment activities it can offer, both to pupils and to the local community. Pupils will develop wider aspects of their personality and support their future interests through our offer. PIXL EDGE activities are developed through enrichment.
Literacy and Numeracy
Strong literacy and numeracy skills enable pupils to develop into proficient readers, communicators and problem solvers. Access to most parts of the secondary curriculum rely upon literacy and numeracy skills reaching a minimum level, and access to higher GCSE grades in virtually all subjects requires fluency. To help achieve this, a total of 35% of curriculum time in KS3 will be directly allocated to English, Reading and Mathematics. Further strategies will be in place for each area, as detailed below.
We are focused on developing the reading skills of our pupils. All pupils in KS3 read for 15 minutes each day in school. This is facilitated by a reading scheme. We complement the scheme with a range of our rewards, including a tutor group Literacy skills are promoted across the school. Key grammar and punctuation skills receive consistent attention in all subjects, so that pupils realise that reading and writing skills are fundamental to their progress. An agreed literacy feedback code is displayed in every classroom, ensuring greater consistency in feedback on written work. Regular whole school events, such as author visits, book clubs, reading and spelling competitions are also organised through the Swindon Literacy Challenge.
Progress in reading and communication is measured by regular reading and spelling age assessments, and one of our KPIs refers to the progress pupils make in their reading ages.
A proportion of pupils require further support with their literacy in order to close the gap between their reading and chronological ages. A range of strategies are in place to help this happen, personalised to individual pupils. These are overseen by the Heads of Centre and SENCo, and include:
- reading out loud to adults during the daily reading time
- use of recommended reading and spelling programmes, such as LEXIA
- cross-curricular support materials and strategies (e.g. different coloured/sized exercise books, use of overlays, enlarged copies etc.) for all teachers to use consistently to support reading, writing and communication
- where necessary for key pupils, drawing up an individual reading support plan which details one-to-one support and how it may be provided
- working with parents to encourage further reading to take place at home
The EOTAS STEM Lead ensures that a consistent approach to numeracy is developed across EOTAS. This includes:
- highlighting opportunities in all subjects for staff to promote the importance of number skills and problem-solving
- providing ‘standard’ methods for key numerical skills that all staff are able to reinforce; these include approaches to pencil-and-paper calculations, when to use a calculator, graph-drawing skills, presentation of statistical results, and using correct terminology
- organising entry to mathematics competitions such as Mathletics and celebrating success in these
- developing individual numeracy support plans for pupils who have a particular issue with number
- providing opportunities for parents to learn how best to support with numeracy skills outside of school
Across EOTAS, we believe that attainment of excellent qualifications is the key to getting pupils ‘to the door’ of an employer, apprenticeship or further education provider. But it is the skills and personal attributes young people bring with them that will get them ‘through the door’.
We are committed to explicit teaching across the curriculum of the key skills:
Working in partnership with ‘PIXL Edge’ all classrooms feature clear reference to key steps within each skills area. Schemes of learning in all subjects feature opportunities to explore and develop skills. From 2020-21, subject areas will take responsibility for developing at least two skills areas per subject, per year, designing programmes of study to teach both subject knowledge and understanding and to develop key enterprise skills.
Pupil progress against the LORIC Principles will be assessed and reported as part of the annual progress cycle and pupils are challenged to update their assessment tracker tools to identify where they are demonstrating excellence and where there is room for improvement of their LORIC skills.
Each year, pupils experience three ‘drop down’ days. Their normal timetable is suspended, and pupils work on developing specific knowledge and skills. These days give an opportunity to further develop LORIC skills through targeted work, often with the support of employers and outside agencies.
One member of the EOTAS SLT has responsibility for Careers and Enterprise as part of our commitment to meeting the ‘Gatsby’ Career benchmarks. Wherever appropriate, teachers are encouraged to flag ways in which the knowledge, skills and understanding gained in their subject areas is applicable to ‘real world’ examples.
ICT and Learning
We make the very most of the chance to enhance learning through the use of ICT resources. Our principle is that most pupils are used to using ICT and are motivated by doing so, and therefore it can enhance learning; however we see ICT as a complement to learning, rather than the driver of learning, and as such will expect our teachers to make judicious and effective use, and not just use it ‘because it is there’.
All schemes of learning reference useful ICT links which can then be easily accessed by pupils in whichever room they are learning, or indeed outside of standard classrooms where appropriate. Many subject areas make use of online learning tools and websites, such as, Doddle, MyMaths, TUTE and PIXL Build Up. EOTAS subscribes to these services, providing pupils with the opportunity to further explore outside of the classroom during self-study or at home.
In line with our behaviour expectations mobile phones are not to be used in lessons.
Provision for pupils with additional needs
It is a clear principle that each pupil is known well and treated as an individual in order to help them make best possible progress, whatever their need. All pupils are appropriately challenged, with support provided where needed, but with a clear end goal of being independent and ready for their next steps aged 16 or, more likely, 18.
Our SENCo leads in all these areas, supported by a team of Learning Mentors, each assigned to specific roles. A register of pupils with Additional Needs is maintained and information is disseminated to other teachers to ensure pupils’ needs are prominent in their planning.
Our SENCo ensures that the most recent SEND Code of Practice is followed closely. They also work with the SEN Assessment Team at Swindon Borough Council to ensure that all involved in supporting particular pupils are working together to improve their learning, especially that of pupils with EHCPs. EOTAS works alongside the team at SBC to ensure that pupils with EHCPs will have their needs met and their progress reviewed regularly.
We acknowledge the importance of transition arrangements for all pupils, but particularly for those with additional needs and have strong working arrangements with secondary headteachers. EOTAS pupils who have difficulty accessing the curriculum for any reason have appropriate support. Individual pupil passports and risk assessments are in place for all pupils. Our support is based on quality first teaching with pupils staying in lessons unless there is an overwhelming reason not to. Teachers differentiate resources to maximise the learning of all, using ICT as a resource where it is effective to do so. HLTA/TAs are used judiciously and encourage independence. One-to-one or small group support is arranged at appropriate times, such as the ELSA time, so that pupils fully engage with school life. Teacher or HLTA/TA support is available after school during twilight time for pupils who want to use that time to complete additional work or practise a particular skill.
Able, Gifted and Talented Pupils
EOTAS strives to ensure that our most capable pupils are given the chance to flourish and further develop their skills. Pupils are identified in one or more of four general areas, initially from their KS2 and CAT4, profile but also as they establish themselves within EOTAS:
- creative arts
Opportunities on offer for pupils who stand out in each of these fields are published to parents. This includes activities which take place during enrichment time, masterclasses, competitions (within and beyond school), artist in residence opportunities, and signposting to organisations which can further develop talent.
Pupils with English as an Additional Language
EOTAS welcomes pupils from all over the world, and we celebrate the diversity of language and culture that all of our pupils bring to the life of the school. Where pupils arrive with a limited knowledge of English, we will do everything possible to improve their language skills rapidly, whilst also encouraging them – where appropriate – to share their language with others. Strategies include:
- ensuring staff are fully aware of pupils for whom English is an additional language, and that they have the resources to support them, such as dictionaries (on-line or paper-based) and translations of technical vocabulary
- automatically placing pupils in higher ability groups, where language acquisition is likely to be best supported
- placing pupils in groups where others who speak the same language are present
- providing pupils with a student mentor whose job is to help them integrate into school life
- providing pupils with one-to-one or small group language support
- entering pupils for appropriate language-based qualifications early to boost their confidence
- using members of the local community to support pupils
- where appropriate, encouraging pupils to teach their peers a little of their language
Looked After Children
Pupils in care or recent care leavers receive particularly close attention within EOTAS to ensure that they make impressive progress. We acknowledge that pupils in this situation bring a range of very individual and often quite specific needs. However we also acknowledge the need for them to be seen as no different to any other pupil, and the quality of teaching they receive in the classroom and in enrichment opportunities reflect this. Where particular issues need to be supported and addressed, we engage fully with guardians, the Virtual School and other agencies to ensure these needs are met to allow the student to flourish.
Children in receipt of Pupil Premium funding
EOTAS pays particular attention to the progress and attainment of pupils in receipt of pupil premium funding. You can see a summary of our pupil premium spending each year, and its impact on learners, via our website.