Bristol Metropolitan Academy’s ethos values each student, regardless of background and faith. Within subject areas, assemblies and the Academy’s tutorial programme we celebrate our diversity and our students’ place in society.
High standards. High aspirations. High expectations.
The broad aim of our curriculum at Bristol Met is to provide all our learners with an engaging, challenging and dynamic learning experience. At the Met, every child has the opportunity to succeed through our commitment to provide personalised learning pathways and approaches for individual students, appropriate to their talents and abilities. This begins in Year 7 with our skills based approach and continues through personalised learning pathways from Year 8 to Year 13.
Our curriculum aims to meet the following criteria:
- to provide a diet which suits the generic and specific needs of the cohort at Bristol Met;
- to create a platform on which the aspirational targets for student performance can best be achieved;
- to position the Academy so that it can best meet national benchmarks and standards;
- to establish a broad curriculum offer, which is well-placed to adapt to any national, local or esoteric agenda;
- to formalise structures designed to support improved study skills, enrichment and independent learning;
- to ensure that the quality of teaching is on a journey of constant improvement.
The principles which underpin the curriculum at Bristol Met are:
- Ensuring the students attain well in English and maths by the end of Key Stage 4. Ultimately the Academy’s central aim is to support all students in making 4 or more levels of progress and achieving at least a C grade in GCSE;
- Personalisation of the provision for individual students, breaking free as much as possible from traditional barriers linked to age or logistical convenience;
- Intervention motivated specifically by the drive to raise attainment is fine-tuned and highly-bespoke;
- Personalisation motivated by the drive to raise achievement is progressively increased;
- There is fair access to relevant and engaging courses which equip students well both now and in the next stage of their development;
- The curriculum offer is attractive and improves the Academy profile, thus securing student numbers on roll;
- The Academy constantly strives to develop courses which will be attractive to Bristol Met students and also to students based at centres which are in partnership within the CLF;
- The curriculum offer reflects the background, interests and aspirations of the cohort and context of Bristol Met.
What does this look like in practice?
Key Stage 3
Students study the core subjects of English, maths and science.
Non-core subjects are taught under the umbrella of ‘Met Learning’. These are still taught by subject specialists and are linked through literacy themes and assessment. A weekly Met Literacy lesson systematically develops these literacy skills and is delivered by a literacy specialist.
The prior attainment and baseline data of students who have joined the Academy since 2011 indicate that, while the cohort includes many more able students than in the past, the reading, spelling, and numerical ages are well below national averages. An important shift is needed in the design of the curriculum in recognition that a significant proportion of the cohort need to have the chance to catch up:
- Literacy drives the KS3 curriculum and is the overarching pedagogy in all Met Learning subjects. Literacy skills are explicitly taught in Met Literacy lessons and practised in Met Learning lessons e.g. Term 1 Speaking and Listening, Term 2 Writing for different audiences.
- Literacy development/ intervention in KS3 will be timetabled for every student to allow better access / success in all areas of the curriculum.
- Subject specialists choose the curriculum content
- Independent study is promoted especially in Enrichment lessons and Intensive Weeks.
- Enrichment is timetabled as part of the Academy Day in Years 7, 8 and 9; this allows students to work in a different way – often more independently in a broader subject area that interests them. Timetabled enrichment also stimulates heightened interest in the rich and diverse after school programme.
- Intensive days allow students a variety of intensive learning opportunities beyond the curriculum. Often this involves working with outside professionals and themed days including PSHE. In KS4 it allows deeper learning in subjects.
Key Stage 4
The key stage 4 curriculum at BMA offers students the chance to make at least expected progress in all subjects and supports the most able in achieving the highest grades of A and A*. Students should have clear pathways of learning from key stage 4 to 5 and beyond, and they are supported in achieving the grades they need.
The curriculum focuses on quality of grades rather than quantity to ensure that every student has grades that reflect their best possible outcome while offering the chance for the most able to progress more rapidly or take on more challenging learning and accreditations. Students should complete their studies with the opportunity to progress to the best universities, further education or apprenticeships; the curriculum should equip them with the qualifications and skills to enter their chosen career path and ultimately improve their life chances.
- Guided Options are designed to accommodate inward mobility and EAL students;
- Guided Option choices maximise the best fit for each student and offer the best chance of success.
- Students start their option subjects in Year 9 giving subjects more time to embedded the learning and skills needed to achieve the best grades in their subject.
Key Stage 5 – Post 16
Intensive Days and Safety Days
Another unique feature of the BMA curriculum is the combination of a traditional ‘weekly’ timetable, where subjects are allocated a certain number of periods in a week, with an Intensive Block of learning. Intensive Blocks occur midway through each school term and enable students to undertake different learning experiences for two days. This exciting innovation has great potential for ‘deep learning’ and enables the Academy to further develop our aims of making the curriculum more flexible and personalised for our students.
The positive impact of intensive blocks of learning. Our success in raising attainment for Year 11 in previous years was due in part to the identification and delivery of new courses in short bursts of intensive time to identified and selected students. Students were motivated by:
- The continuous nature of the learning process (not organised in 50 minute-blocks)
- The matching of time to personal progress (once the tasks have been completed a student moves on to the next identified course)
This was the starting point for us to introduce whole school intensive blocks. The following gives a flavour of the type of activity each year group undertakes during Intensive Days:
- Year 11: Extra booster time for Option subjects and Science and have additional time for English and Maths.
- Year 9/10: Option boosters, PSHE, Employability Skills and Informtion Advise and Guidance.
- Year 7/8: Intensive Met Learning and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
The Academy is constantly looking at ways to develop our curriculum, be it through further personalisation of learning or additional qualifications and courses that will benefit our students. If you would like to know further information about our curriculum, please either see our Subjects area of the website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
More details can be found in the Curriculum Policy.
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