Teaching & Learning

Curriculum

Our students experience a mixed offer of academic, sporting, personal development, creative and vocational learning, including work experience.  This is provided through a highly personalised timetable with days provided both within school and experience in the work place and vocational learning centres. Every student is provided with the opportunity to achieve the best they can; with everyone aiming to achieve recognised qualifications, including GCSEs in all aspects of the curriculum.

Mentoring at The Albany

Mentoring plays a pivotal role in the development of the academic and social and emotional skills at The Albany.  The mentor team take the lead on all matters concerning the student, including attendance, monitoring of academic progress, student well-being and liaison with parents and carers.  At the Albany, our mentors build strong relationships with their tutees through regular 1:1 mentoring concerning academic progress and reviewing and setting personal targets regarding attendance and social and emotional development.

PSHE

PSHRSE Policy Draft for Consultation Jan 2022

Through our varied PSHE curriculum, we aim to reinforce the social, moral, spiritual and cultural ethos which the school seeks to promote through all its activities and relationships. We cover a variety of subject and topic areas including sex and relationships education, drug education, diversity and equality, financial capability, healthy living and social issues, including active citizenship in the community. Through these topics we look to develop student’s knowledge and understanding of the wider world, enhance their thinking skills and improve their communication and decision making skills, in order for them to arrive at reasoned opinions and balanced judgements as young adults.

To enrich student learning and enable them to transfer their knowledge to their everyday lives, we invite specialists from a range of agencies to provide input into relevant units of work. Our school nurse team run a weekly Health Drop In, where students can access individual support on all health matters, including sexual health. This service includes students accessing the ‘C card’ programme for free contraception and also Chlamydia and pregnancy testing.  We have a trained Smoking Cessation Support worker on site, who offers both medical and practical support to students and their families, to cut back and cease smoking.  At The Albany we work closely with all professionals who can offer wider support to our students to help them access and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.  We work alongside professionals from social care, mental health service and the Matthew Project and Turning Point to ensure our students receive the support they need.

Within PSHE we provide information, advice and guidance to support students to consider all options available to them Post-16.  We work closely with Transition Coaches, local Post-16 providers and Trainee and Apprenticeship programmes to encourage students to understand the breadth of choices available to them.  Our broad vocational programme during Years 10 and 11 also provides students with the opportunities to try varied vocational learning and work experience in order to help them understand where their interests and skills are best suited.  Our Vocational Progression Leader works full-time in school and provides additional support to the PSHE curriculum and 1:1 independent information, advice and guidance supporting our students in identifying appropriate Post-16 provision during Year 11 and works with them beyond The Albany to ensure they can engage successfully in their Post-16 learning, be it through college or apprenticeships.

British Values

The Albany aims to prepare pupils positively for life in modern Britain and promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith through its PSHE, Humanities and Personal Development Curriculum.

KS3 Offer

Students in years 7 and 8 experience a full timetable of core and additional subjects at The Albany.  Subjects offered to these students include English, Maths, Science, Humanities, Art, Sport (including Mixed Martial Arts), Challenge Learning, Cookery and Life Skills.  In addition to the above subjects, Year 9 students develop examination skills in Functional Skills in Maths, English and Science prior to accessing the GCSE curriculum in these subjects. 

Flexible, holistic teaching and learning is provided both in and out of school. This encourages students to be comfortable and motivated during their time at the school whilst the students begin to work towards qualifications including GCSEs in Key Stage 4.

ENGLISH@KEY STAGE 3  Fluency in English Language is an essential foundation for success cross-curricular. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum.

Curriculum Intent  To instil core skills of reading and writing, spoken language and vocabulary development in a creative, relevant and inspiring way; complimenting previous knowledge and understanding of KS2 and mirroring attributes needed to succeed at KS4.

MATHS@KEY STAGE 3  Curriculum Intent  To build a problem solving skill set whilst embedding core skills of number in real world contexts

SCIENCE @KEY STAGE 3  Curriculum Intent  Our Year 7, 8 and 9 students are working towards developing their investigative, thinking, problem solving and communication skills and embedding these skills within the practical curriculum to equip them with the skills needed to navigate the world and community we live in.

HUMANITIES@ KEY STAGES 3 & 4  Curriculum Intent  Our Humanities curriculum focuses on developing the skills of Investigating – Thinking – Using & Applying and Communicating through an engaging themed approach to History, Geography and RE/Ethics. It is closely aligned to our English curriculum as part of our cross curricular approach to developing students’ language skills.

HISTORY  Curriculum Intent  Our content will aim to create independent learners, critical thinkers and decision makers – all personal assets that can make students stand out as they progress to further education and/or the workplace.  

Topics and Themes  We have selected a variety of fascinating topics for our learners to investigate, keeping them interested and motivated. These are topics that allow us to build a good foundation of knowledge, allowing us to deep-dive our analytical thinking.  These topics will teach our students key areas in British and world history. From the Romans to the Crusades building knowledge about the past, helping to understand why the world is as it is today.

GEOGRAPHY  Curriculum Intent  We aim to develop environmentally aware and curious students able to see their physical place in the world. From basic map reading skills to the study of diverse biomes of the world our focus is to engage their curiosity and develop their thinking.

RE/ETHICS  Curriculum Intent  Closely aligned to the PSHE and Personal development curriculum; Ethics and RE aim to develop students awareness of the diverse society they live in. They will study other cultures and develop their communication skills debating topics of moral and ethical importanc.

Years 10 & 11 KS4 Core Offer

English:

At The Albany students follow a variety of English courses appropriate to their level.  All students study Functional Skills at an appropriate level (Entry Level through to Level 2), with most students also working towards an iGCSE in English.  This allows us to focus on maximising the literacy skills of our students, often through ‘real world’ examples and ensures that no students leave The Albany without the literacy skills they need. Most students will achieve Functional Skills qualifications and an iGCSE in the process, ensuring students are proficient in reading comprehension and have the range of writing skills they will need as an adult, whilst also enabling them to access a wider range of Post-16 provision.

Where students are identified as needing additional support to acquire these skills we build additional literacy into their lessons and can build their confidence through Entry Level activities (pre GCSE) which provide them with evidence of the progress they are making.

Functional Skills English can be taken at any of 3 points in the year.  It is therefore possible for students to build up a range of qualifications in English, including Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2 Functional Skills, and finally achieve a GCSE in English in the final term of Year 11.

Curriculum Intent  To ensure all pupils expand further their knowledge and understanding of reading and writing, spoken language and vocabulary development to the highest possible quality; equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word. This will then maximise potential at iGCSE level as well as developing skills of language which are essential to participating fully as a member of society.

Functional Skills  We follow a curriculum in Functional Skills English based around Edexcel Functional Skills syllabus including a focus on literacy skills in a variety of workplace situations.  This includes speaking and listening activities preparing for an interview, letter and email writing asking for advice and about complaints, a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar and we cover a broad variety of reading skills.

GCSE  We follow the Cambridge iGCSE syllabus with the majority of students.  This syllabus content includes developing skills in writing to express thoughts and opinions, writing for effect and being able to extract and summarise information from texts. We study a variety of topics within building these skills to support students to engage in all aspects of developing their literacy.

English Literature:

We offer GCSE English Literature as an option for some of our students.  We follow the AQA syllabus and are currently studying Romeo and Juliet, Animal Farm, Pride and Prejudice and a selection of poetry on power and conflict.  Through this course students are supported to develop their analytical skills and develop their understanding and practice of formulating their ideas in to an essay.

Maths:

This year we will be using a more problem-solving approach towards the learning of mathematics. Therefore, students will become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics. This will include a varied and frequent use of practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that students develop a more conceptual understanding with the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.

By following lines of enquiry students will form estimating relationships and be able to generalise and develop justification within their arguments whilst using mathematical language, with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps. If you would like to know the area of study, then please ask your child or contact the school.

Functional Skills  We offer students a variety of courses appropriate to their level.  All students study Functional Skills at an appropriate level (Entry Level through to Level 2), with most students also working towards a GCSE.  All course material will help students to develop the skills to apply the subject to real world problems.

We follow a curriculum in Functional Skills based around the Edexcel Functional Skills syllabus including a focus on numeracy skills in a variety of workplace situations.

GCSE  We follow the Edexcel GCSE syllabus with the majority of students.  This is a two- year course with three exams held at the end of Year 11.  Students are either enrolled in the Foundation or Higher Level dependant on their capabilities.  The course focus is based on applying mathematical techniques to real work problems and involves problem solving.

Science:

Students are assessed on entry to The Albany which enables the teaching to be targeted to their needs. All current Year 10 and 11 students follow the Edexcel Entry Level Certificate and Additional ELC schemes covering all three disciplines – Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Most students then complete iGCSE Combined Science in order to achieve a double Science GCSE award.

Students working towards their GCSE are encouraged to work independently, as groups or in pairs so that they benefit from different working environments, especially during practical lessons. Different teaching methods and approaches are used depending on the individual students’ learning needs.

Art:

Through our varied Art curriculum, we aim to reinforce the social, moral, spiritual and cultural ethos the school seeks to promote through all its activities.  We cover a variety of subjects and topic areas including photography, printing, drawing, world art, graffiti and sewing.

Through these topics we look to develop students’ techniques and skills, communication and evaluation skills in order for them to arrive at reasoned opinions and balanced judgements as young adults.

Challenge Learning:

Challenge Learning is a fortnightly opportunity for students to experience adventurous learning in the outdoors. We have a comprehensive program of activities from horse riding, mountain biking, high ropes adventure courses, caving and water sports.

Challenge Learning creates opportunities for students’ to develop self-esteem, increase responsibility, cooperate with and respect the needs of others and enhance practical problem solving, social skills and team work. For many of our students we need to build their self-esteem as a learner to enable them to engage proactively with the academic opportunities we offer.

We encourage students to build their independence as learners and take ownership of the progress they make. The opportunities are endless and pupils’ ideas and imagination for new projects are listened to and implemented where possible. For many of our students, they move from comfort to panic in their learning very quickly, and this can impact their behaviour. By helping them to develop a comfortable learning zone we enable our students to see themselves as capable learners

Sport:

All students engage in sport each week. There are a range of opportunities within the sporting curriculum, including team games and mixed martial arts.  We enjoy sport as an integral part of our curriculum both to build fitness and a healthy attitude to life and to encourage social interaction. This year we are also working with Bury Rugby Club to develop our students’ fitness, leadership and coaching skills.

Vocational:

Our aim is that every student engages in at least one vocational course during Key Stage 4.  We offer a breadth of opportunities, including animal care, carpentry, catering, conservation, construction, environment and forestry skills, farm skills, hair and beauty, leisure and tourism, mechanics and media.  We work with a range of providers to deliver these courses and provide appropriate qualifications including West Suffolk College, Prospect Farm, Greenlight Trust and Push Forward and are always seeking ways of expanding this offer. 

Work and Life Skills:

Students complete a range of activities aimed at building their skills for work and life.  These include working on a variety of activities around areas such as personal safety, healthy lifestyles, personal finance and being a critical consumer.  

Work Experience:

For most of our year 11 students and some year 10, work experience forms a part of their weekly timetable.  Students have the opportunity to experience a range of work environments, and in some cases this can lead to opportunities for apprenticeships, part time jobs and longer term offers.