Lincoln Castle Academy Curriculum
Although the old National Curriculum was disapplied from 1 September 2013, the Academy is continuing to deliver the vast majority of this content for the 2018/19 academic year having developed an ‘LCA curriculum’ which is designed to meet the needs of our pupils and enrich and enthuse them. Our curriculum offer is both broad and balanced and the curriculum entitlement is the same for all students.
Details about the subjects studied in each year and in each Key Stage can be found by following the links in the curriculum area of the LCA website under ‘information’.
In years 7 and 8 pupils are usually placed into one of two halves of the year group, A or B. This is an even split between the two halves of the year in terms of gender and ability. Within the core subjects of Maths, English and Science students are set. In most other subjects, students are taught within mixed ability classes. Towards the end of Year 8, students pick their options for KS4 study.
We have a three year Key Stage 4 to allow our students to immerse themselves in their studies and achieve the highest possible success. This model allows our students more time to cover the new GCSE syllabus content, and prepares them for exams and controlled assessments.
Year 9 study a curriculum consisting of three core learning modules: Core 1 - The Basics; Core 2 - Enterprise; Core 3 - Character and then are able to pick from a range of additional GCSE and applied learning subjects up to a maximum of four choices. A great emphasis is placed on guiding students to make the correct option subject decisions including access to the EBAC range of subjects for all and careers advice enhances this guidance.
In the sixth form there are two pathways a pupil could follow: the Sixth Form Foundation Pathway or the Advanced Pathway. Pupils that achieve grades 5/6 or above in GCSEs and meet all the other entry criteria are guided onto the Advanced Pathway which contains traditional A-Level courses and BTEC Level 3 courses. Clear guidance is given on a one-to-one basis during and after GCSE results day to ensure that the subjects chosen and assessment methods employed within that course are appropriate for the student.
Pupils who do not achieve grade 4 or above in their GCSEs or Merits in their vocational qualifications are guided onto the Sixth Form Foundation Pathway where they can take a year to improve their competencies in analytical and evaluative skills, complete a curriculum designed to gain qualifications as well as inspire students and study level 2 English and mathematics if necessary. Successful completion of this year would enable these pupils to access the Level 3 courses in Year 13.
Assessment Recording and Reporting
Every subject is required to do regular assessments, and these are recorded centrally on the School’s ‘Go for Schools’ system. The link to access the information is then sent to parents (up to four times per year) so that you can see the progress your child is making academically and behaviourally.
The online assessment information report also includes progress in relation to end of key stage MEGs which are colour coded for ease of analysis and attendance data.
There are two Parents’ Evenings; one at the start of the Autumn term to meet the tutor and discuss how the term has begun and one towards the end of the academic year with the subject staff who teach your child to discuss subject progress.
A summative report is written once per year by the tutor to share holistic progress with you across all facets of school life.
Supporting students in their choices and for their future careers is something we value highly at our school. We are committed to delivering a programme of study that helps to prepare students for the world of work. In Year 7 students are encouraged to develop a wide range of transferable skills through our PSME programme. This delivery continues throughout years 8-11 and is fine tuned to be delivered at the appropriate time with appropriate content. Students are all able to create an online account to map their skills against various careers and study options using ‘START’ careers software. This helps guide your child towards clear, comprehensive and impartial information that is always relevant to them. We ensure that impartial advice is delivered through the PSME programme, ASPIRE days, careers interviews with tutors, the senior team and with an external careers officer.
Every Monday - Thursday from 3.00 - 4.00 you will find teachers and students in classrooms, the Resource Centre, in The Hub or on the school playing fields involved in their chosen activity. Everything from sport to music, chess, art and photography to revision for an exam. A list of the many and varied clubs is available on the website, and your child has access to over 40 clubs and sporting activities throughout the week. The programme is also displayed around the academy.
GCSE Reforms – a guide
The Government has introduced the new GCSEs with the aim of increasing both their rigour and revising the content. These reforms are now fully in place.
Some of the key changes are as follows:
- All course assessment will now be at the end of the Y11. There will be no more modular examinations and there will be restrictions on which exams students can take early.
- Exams will form 100% of the assessment in most subjects. Coursework and controlled assessments will cease in most subjects.
- There will be a new grading scale which uses numbers instead of letters. The scale will be from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest.
- They are designed to be more challenging and demanding. This will be evident in the increased content, the length and number of examinations and the style of questions.
It is therefore vital that we work in partnership to ensure that when asked to revise and prepare for these assessments as part of their homework, students do so diligently. In order to help students develop the habit of working at home please check Show My Homework regularly and ensure the work set is completed to a good standard.
Student attainment grades will be shown as GCSE grades on assessments sent home from the beginning of their time at the academy enabling a clear progression through to GCSE to be seen.
The numbers that students receive as a final GCSE grade are equivalent to the GCSE grades being used currently. These can be seen in the table:
We know that changes to exams can be very complicated for all concerned. There are many places that you can get further information from. We have listed these below:
- Teachers/tutors at the Academy can explain all changes
- The exams regulator, Ofqual. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofqual
- All the different exam board websites such as AQA, EDEXCEL, OCR etc.
- The Department for Education https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-the-facts-gcse-and-a-level-reform