The quality of relationships between students and staff within an Academy is critical to
student motivation and progress in learning.
Yet . . . .
the absence of an Academy-wide shared vision for learning leads to a lack of buy-in
from both students and staff that lowers motivation and causes behavioural issues.
in a context where each student is taught by 14 different teachers in a week for
relatively short periods of time, it is hardly surprising that quality relationships are a
the Teach First study of 1000 new teachers highlights that teachers organised in
vertical department structures feel drowned by the numbers of students they have to
relate to each week.
academies often find it hard to achieve a sense of belonging for all students and a
commitment to the academy community and to learning.
The E2 Solution
Imagine we start by designing the Academy around the needs of the students rather than
the needs of the adults.
This can be achieved by:
being intentional in the Academy’s planning and practices to ensure student learning
experiences are differentiated and personalised so as to meet the challenge of ‘making
every child matter’.
structuring the Academy around a series of human scale learning communities, making
a big organisation feel small and personal to students, within which teams of staff have
responsibility for cohorts of students over two to three years.
providing a ‘learning coach’ for every student who acts as the account manager for that
student’s learning.
agreeing a set of values that are nurtured and modelled through every set of
relationships within the Academy community.
creating a culture of high aspirations through data-led mentoring and the involvement
of inspirational role models.
building the responsibilities of the students for their learning, their support of each other
and their contribution to the wider community.
involving students in the running of the Academy and developing their leadership
systematically building a partnership with parents over time to enhance their support for
student progress.
broadening student horizons, perspective, understanding and appreciation by building
bridges with communities locally, nationally and globally.
engendering an appreciation of beauty, creativity and spirituality – the dimension
beyond the materialistic and the utilitarian.
designing systems to support professionals across services and agencies to build
alliances which find solutions for vulnerable students, resulting in better outcomes.
The engagement of students in their learning and an understanding of how students learn
best is critical to student progress, achievement and passion for learning.
Yet . . . .
current curriculum organisation and delivery turns many students off.
our recent approach to the curriculum has been too obsessed with content and
coverage to the detriment of engagement and the development of knowledge,
understanding and skills for learning.
the curriculum has become too fragmented and we have lost a focus on the ‘big
picture’ of the subject disciplines with the result that students find it hard to make
relevant connections, understand the key concepts of the disciplines and make sense
of the world around them.
the student often has a series of disconnected, episodic, itinerant experiences where
pace, groupings and pedagogy are ill-suited to their learning needs.
there is a naïve assumption that students will acquire incidentally critical learning and
social skills that are key to their success, without being specifically taught them.
The E2 Solution
Imagine we organise curriculum delivery, time and content:
around what we know about how students learn and what we want students to learn so
that they become confident individuals, successful learners with intellectual curiosity,
and responsible citizens.
where key ideas and skills are joined up and reinforced across the curriculum and
where students have opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in relevant and
challenging contexts.
where learning experiences are personalised and students have opportunities to
develop their passions and interests.
This can be achieved by:
Structuring the day around the ‘Four Modes of Learning’
o ‘instructional’ to ensure competency in the basic skills
o ‘conceptual’ to develop knowledge and understanding of the subject disciplines
o ‘collaborative’ to enable students in groups to use and apply their learning to
authentic tasks
o ‘personal’ to provide time for students to reflect on their learning, develop their
interests and passions and identify challenging targets
Constructing a curriculum journey designed to build foundation knowledge and skills in
Key Stage 3 that enable students to make discerning choices and achieve relevant
accreditation in Key Stage 4, and become more self-directed learners in Key Stage 5,
prepared for higher education and with a commitment to lifelong learning.
The Academy Solution
A framework that maps the learning, personal and social skills we want our students to
have, with student friendly progression statements that enable progress to be planned
for and tracked across all key stages, supported by curriculum units and on-line tools,
culminating in the accreditation of student leadership.
A curriculum plan explaining the learning journey.
A theme-based, connected curriculum across the core subjects for a two year Key
Stage 3 that is rigorously planned to ensure subject progression and the development
of overarching concepts.
A daily ‘Student Enrichment Programme’ for all ages, responsive to and shaping
students’ passions and interests.
A Year 9 programme designed to equip students to make informed choices about their
future pathways and longer term aspirations.
Instructional programmes for literacy, numeracy and world language.
Bank of student friendly level descriptors for the National Curriculum core subjects to
support good assessment practice and provide a shared language for learning between
teachers, students and parents.
A structure of Achievement and Faculty teams that meet regularly, monitor student
progress, plan interventions and share best practice.