The overarching aim of Harris Garrard Academy is to end cycles of poverty and disadvantage and improve the life chances for all students. By doing this, we improve the life of our local community.
This page contains an overview of our curriculum across all Key Stages. Details of the curriculum for each subject (for primary, secondary and sixth form) can be viewed on our Subjects pages. Our curriculum policy can be downloaded from the Teaching and Learning page.
“Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again”. Vincent Van Gogh
The purpose of our curriculum
We begin with the principle that all children are equal and have an equal entitlement to knowledge. The inventive design of our curriculum and its high-quality implementation are integral to our core values at the academy, every child, every day.
Knowledge in isolation from life experience has limited value and impact. Poorly-sequenced knowledge can cause uncertainty and confusion. We believe that knowledge must be embedded, developed and reinforced to ensure that our students use their knowledge to make informed lifelong decisions.
As they progress through the academy, students’ knowledge-application and wisdom grow exponentially, teaching them new independence, resilience and character at every stage of their development.
We encourage students and staff not to be afraid to make mistakes. Life is a journey and we learn new knowledge and new application techniques after every mistake we make.
We firmly believe that our curriculum not only develops life knowledge in all our students but teaches them how best to use this knowledge throughout their lives.
The purpose of this academy is entwined by the curriculum we provide. We do not believe in pre-determined curriculum pathways that can limit a student’s choice based on their ability, characteristics or background.
We passionately believe in giving students the information and knowledge to make informed decisions about their curriculum entitlement, supported through comprehensives careers guidance at pivotal times in a child’s life.
High quality teaching is the medium by which skills, core knowledge and applied knowledge can be dissipated through a well-sequenced curriculum model. The nature of the Harris Federation makes us collaborative, and this collaboration of subject specialists and researchers means our students benefit from the very highest quality in teaching and the most powerful knowledge. It also enables us to ensure that curriculum knowledge and understanding of our teaching and support staff is central to the personalised and continued professional development that all our staff receive to ensure it has impact in the classroom, for every child, every day.
Our curriculum, then, becomes a deliberate and explicit guarantor of equality as we work to close the limits to opportunity that exist in society. We ensure all our students have access to a broad and balanced body of knowledge regardless of demographics and starting points. We harness the expertise from within our Federation across primary and secondary phases to develop a challenging and rich ‘all-through’ curriculum model, whilst systematically sharing best practice across academies, phases and the wider Federation.
Challenging and stimulating
The high expectations we have of every single member of staff and the school community drive forward this mission to open opportunities for all young people in an area of deep disadvantage. The collaborative aims of the Federation and our academy mean we can draw on our understanding of the local context to create challenging and stimulating lessons and activities.
Each subject discipline has its own curriculum document which has been developed by the academic research communities we have built. The subject specialist consultants work in tandem with subject leaders in each academy for each phase. There are high expectations of subject knowledge from teachers so alongside these documents there is a commitment to providing regular high-quality subject-specific training for all teachers during the year. All our teachers are encouraged to be readers and researchers into their own subject discipline.
The aims and principles of our curriculum
Educational Success: Every Child, Every Day
To provide all students with opportunities to access and engage with the best that has been thought and said, but also to help students comprehend that while knowledge is powerful it is also insecure, contested and evolving. We encourage our students to see themselves as contributing to scholarship.
We secure concepts in English and Mathematics in early phases and this acts as a gateway to acquiring core knowledge in a rich range of subjects such that we develop students’ expertise within those individual subject disciplines.
An enriched vocabulary enables a better understanding of concepts and ideas and we facilitate access to knowledge beyond our students’ ordinary daily experiences. We do this by expanding their cultural capital and the breadth of their vocabulary. Children are exposed to a variety of texts both fiction and non-fiction, a wide range of creative arts and thoughtfully-planned learning outside the classroom.
We recognise that “the curriculum” is not just a timetable and that engagement in co-curricular opportunities is encouraged at every stage through everything from the Co-curricular after school programme, Army Cadets, The Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Character Programme, the Harris Experience, the Federation Sports Day and the events that give platforms for all the talents.
The Harris Garrard Academy drives forward curriculum pedagogy with a level of demand which develops:
- scholarly and physical and emotional stamina and rewards resilience and resourcefulness
- opportunities for deeper conceptual understanding through enquiry, discussion and debate of knowledge
- knowledge, experience and motivation to make informed choices when selecting subjects to study to a higher level.