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Curriculum Statement

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Curriculum Statement

At Spires Academy we deliver a curriculum that ensures all our learners have the opportunity and ability to go on and lead extraordinary lives.

 Our whole school intent has been created using the E21C Curriculum Principles.  These principles have been distilled into four words that summarise concisely exactly what we are trying to achieve here at Spires Academy. These principles are securely grounded in research, and are as follows:



Every child is supported to access a full curriculum


Powerful knowledge us explicitly highlighted through Knowledge Organisers


Five year plans are carefully spiralled using spaced learning


Schemata (Big Ideas) are used to link new content to previous learning


Our Big Ideas fit into our curriculum principle coherent, ensuring our curriculums are built on coherent schema running across the 5 years.  Schemas (sometimes referred to as mental models, scripts, or frames) are structures that organise knowledge in the mind. When learning, the mind connects new information with pre-existing knowledge, skills, and concepts thereby developing existing schemas.  

Our curriculums, develop and refine learners’ prior conceptions as opposed to teaching something entirely new. Approaches that compare, organise, and map concepts try to make schemas clear and visible and are thought to support learners to organise and extend their ideas. The flexible nature of schemas does mean that specific teaching and learning strategies foster a more desirable order to a learner’s pre-existing and developing knowledge.

Our approach to working with schemas focuses on pupils organising and elaborating on their ideas to develop more complex mental structures.  We do this through the development of our subject specific Big Ideas that run through the 5 year curriculum.  The relevant Big Idea is referenced at the start of each lesson through the curriculum slide, to orientate the learners within the curriculum.

In all of our 5 year curriculum plans you can see the Big Ideas outlined, mapped and developed over time.


We have three core values that underpin everything we do, including our curriculum. These are Respect, Resilience and Responsibility.

Respect:               We show respect and expect it in return

Responsibility:    We take responsibility for our learning and our actions

Resilience:           We use our resilience when faced with challenges



  • Curriculum and assessment systems are designed to be effective for all learners
  • High quality support in place for all learners to access a full, broad and balanced curriculum
  • Diversity is celebrated and all non-inclusive, discriminatory and inequitable practices are challenged


  • Some knowledge is of greater importance and use
  • The most important knowledge for each unit has been carefully considered
  • This most important content is intentionally shared repeatedly with pupils
  • Assessments are created to track students’ progress through this powerful knowledge
  • Responsive teaching results in teachers identifying and repairing gaps in this powerful knowledge


  • Curriculum content is mapped to ensure that pupils meet new content when they are ready for it
  • Curriculum plans ensure that linked content is revisited at regular intervals
  • This provides opportunities to check prior learning
  • Students remember more content because of this spaced practice


  • Big Ideas are used to create threads throughout the curriculum (schema)
  • Big Ideas organise knowledge in the minds of students
  • New information is connected to prior learning more easily
  • Pupils can better understand why they are learning new content



As an inclusive school, KS3 are taught in mixed ability groups. Research shows that by teaching students in mixed ability groups, all students will have the ability and opportunity to succeed, irrespective of their ability or background.


All our students are entitled to a broad curriculum over 3 years of Key Stage 3. Students study English, Maths, Science, MFL (French), History, Geography, IT, Music, Drama, Art, DT, Food, PE and Ethics and Philosophy.


In Year 9, students choose their GCSE options before commencing a 2 year programme of study in Year 10.  Not only does this give students the opportunity to study subjects they have enjoyed and excelled in through their broad and balanced KS3 curriculum, but it also crucially gives them more time to develop the depth and knowledge needed to succeed in challenging GCSE qualifications.


In Years 10 and 11, our students commence their GCSE or vocational courses.  Students study 9 GCSEs in total.  All students study the statutory requirements of GCSE English Literature, GCSE English Language, GCSE Maths and GCSE Science.  Students are then able to select 4 subjects from our broad offer.  It is expected that a high proportion of our students will study the full EBacc qualification of English, Maths, Science, Geography or History and MFL which is open to all.

Core Subject EBacc Options

English Language

English Literature


Double Award Science






Food Technology

Design Technology




Performing Arts

Sports Science

Health and Social Care


 To enable our students to become confident individuals who lead safe and healthy lives we will:

  • Provide a planned life skills course to develop understanding of:
    • Careers & finance
    • My health and my life
    • My mind
    • Oracy
    • Sex and relationships, esafety and leadership
  • Assist in developing secure values and established spiritual and ethical beliefs
  • Provide the knowledge about the impact of diet and exercise on physical and mental health so that they can make positive choices in their daily lives
  • Build mental and emotional well-being by developing confidence, resilience and empathy
  • Ensure they know how to find information and support to keep them safe and well
  • Promote positive relationships based on trust and mutual respect