At Ashlawn School we seek to establish through evidence the most effective methods to teach and to learn.
Underpinning our approaches are some agreed principles:
1. Remembering is vital to successful learning.
2. The curriculum should be chunked into important building blocks of 'core knowledge' to help learners become independent, creative and fluent in their understanding. Teaching starts with prior learning and this causes learning to happen over time.
3. As an organisation committed to excellence everywhere we will continue to gather evidence and develop our views on what works to serve the moral imperative of transforming lives through learning and leadership.
Ashlawn School Curriculum
The curriculum at Ashlawn fulfils the values and vision of the school by providing a range of opportunities for students to learn, achieve and realise their full potential. Ashlawn School offers its young people a broad and balanced academic curriculum and this prepares students for the challenges, opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life through experiences which are rigorous and are rooted in intellectual challenge and pace. The curriculum has been designed to provide continuity and progression between and within key stages by a sharp focus on transition, and the transfer and development of knowledge and skills to be applied and creatively extended in both familiar and different contexts. This rigorous and academic curriculum promotes progress, success and achievement as well as developing students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural appreciation which leads to engaging students in a commitment to lifelong learning.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7 & 8)
All students study the sciences, English, maths, at least one language, geography, history, PE, PSHE, art, drama, music and computing. All Key Stage 3 students follow a DT curriculum which offers a ‘taste’ of the range of DT subjects available in Key Stage 4.
Two slightly different curricula are available at Ashlawn School with one for students who join us through selection whilst the other curriculum is available to students who have not chosen the selective route. All students follow the curriculum above whilst selective students have the opportunity to study two languages, additional qualifications in mathematics and the separate sciences. There are opportunities for over 30 students in each year group in Key Stage 3 to join the selective route if this curriculum is appropriate for them.
We believe that literacy and reading are essential for students to fully access the curriculum and to achieve at the highest level. In Year 7 and 8 students (except those in the selective groups) will develop their reading skills by a timetabled weekly reading programme designed to extend and enhance their vocabulary and knowledge of reading. Students entering Ashlawn with low prior attainment are offered an intensive programme of literacy and/or numeracy support in sessions which are tailored to their individual needs.
Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 & 11)
All students follow a curriculum programme which includes between 9 and 10 GCSEs (including the same compulsory core subjects). The final number of GCSEs depends on the exact combination of options chosen. As an academic curriculum the majority of students will study the Ebacc subjects (English, maths, science, a foreign language, and a humanity subject) plus a number of high value option subjects. It is possible for students to study more than one foreign language and more than one humanity subject.
The option blocks are organised after the students in Year 8 have indicated their preferences for GCSE subjects and are designed, within timetabling and staffing constraints, to fit the optimum number of student choices for subject combinations.
Mathematics, English and science are taught in sets according to ability and, where timetabling makes this possible, modern languages and humanities may be set. The modern foreign language chosen has been studied in Year 8 (unless a student is bilingual), although the opportunity for able linguists to start a new language is available if there is sufficient interest. Foreign language assistants are timetabled to help provide practice in oral and listening skills for groups of GCSE students.
Where possible, students are encouraged to study the separate sciences. Students who are studying the separate sciences will take one of their GCSE option subjects at the end of Year 10. This will increase the number of timetabled separate science lessons in Year 11.
In addition to the examination courses the curriculum includes PE and a programme of personal, social and health education.
Key Stage 5 (Years 12, 13 & 14)
The current pattern of post-16 is based on linear A levels or Level 3 equivalents. Students typically study 3 subjects over the two years.
All Year 12 and 13 students without a GCSE Level 4 for maths and English are compelled to attend lessons for GCSE maths and English until a level 4 is achieved.
The option blocks are organised after Year 11 students have indicated their preferences for A Level subjects and these blocks designed, within timetabling and staffing constraints, to fit the optimum number of student choices for subject combinations.
Specialist support within the curriculum
Ashlawn values all students equally and is proud of its commitment to an inclusive mainstream education. Partner teachers, specialist staff and Teaching Assistants from the Learning Development Department (SEN) work with subject teachers in lessons across the curriculum, age and ability range. Some students may be withdrawn from lessons for individual and small group teaching and learning, if this is considered to be the most effective way to meet their individual needs. A wide range of support is offered within the department itself including spelling groups, handwriting club and additional reading. All students have access to homework and coursework support which is available during lunchtime and after school. This range of support means that we expect our students to perform not only to expectations from their primary school predictions but also to comfortably exceed expectations as many of our students do year after year.
Ashlawn School offers students a full range of enrichment opportunities and experiences including competitive sport, sports-coaching, oratory, leadership, as well as cultural development and academic support and enhancement.
For students wishing to extend their learning in subject areas not offered as part of the school’s main curriculum there are opportunities to study twilight Level 2 and 3 qualifications in areas such as photography and the performing arts.
Sports are well catered for with competitive sport and fixtures offered at all levels in addition to sports clubs. This is supplemented by bi-annual sports tours (typically to America) and annual skiing trips on the continent.
An annual ‘immersion’ residential to France and Germany are offered for students who wish to deepen their practice of a foreign language and this is supplemented by close links with our partner school in France.
We understand that students learn differently in different contexts; we therefore encourage all students in Year 8 to experience a 3 day residential developing skills of survival, bush-craft and independence. Similarly, students in the sixth form are also encouraged to undertake work experience, voluntary work or community work throughout their course of study.
Students at Key Stage 3 undertake a range of careers opportunities which are delivered through the Careers Enrichment Day in the Summer Term, during parent consultation afternoons, tutor time, school assemblies and in the run-up to Year 8 Options. Following an extensive programme of information, advice and guidance students will choose their GCSE option subjects in the Spring Term of Year 8.
During the Summer Term of Year 10 all students participate in a work experience placement. This will be informed by individual careers advice and guidance and a series of opportunities to learn directly from employers about work, employment and the skills and qualities that are valued in the workplace which occur periodically across the key stage during parent consultation afternoons, through the PSHE curriculum, in form and school assemblies.
Students are supported in their choices for post-16 study/apprenticeships through the school’s pastoral programme, induction experiences, independent information, advice and guidance interviews and a rigorous application process to study at Ashlawn Sixth Form.