The principles of our curriculum may be found within our vision statement:
‘Within a friendly, caring and stimulating community, Five Ways will educate able young people from all backgrounds and prepare them for life.’
The breadth of our curriculum ensures that our students become effective learners. Learners who are capable of going on to the next stage of their education and achieve highly. Learners who go on to secure good jobs and make valuable contributions to them. Learners who are self-aware and self-motivated to grow as people, developing their creative and academic abilities. Learners who are leaders and decision makers.
We aim to cultivate in our students the virtues we believe are important life skills through our 'Five Ways Graduate' programme. We encourage both staff and students to take risks and try new strategies to develop learning, to problem solve and to inspire others. We have high expectations of staff and students alike; our students are encouraged to take responsibility, articulate views, ask questions and lead their peers; our staff provide the framework and challenge within which our students can grow. Each student is aspiring to be a Five Ways Graduate in all of their endeavours.
The Intention of our Curriculum
Our students are highly talented and benefit from a curriculum that is deep, far reaching and ambitious. For this reason, we don’t have A curriculum, but three:
The academic curriculum
Any work studied in lessons, HIPPO, and intervention sessions etc.
Our ‘super Curriculum’
Opportunities for regular academic enhancement to stretch our curriculum, including special events, projects, and extended study etc.
The ‘Extra Curriculum’
Activities that are beyond curriculum teaching, taking place regularly at lunchtime, after school and at weekends, to include DofE, Escape Outdoors, House activities, enriching workshops, trips, and competitive fixtures etc.
Each strand intertwines seamlessly into our curriculum and students engage fully in all aspects of school life. By designing the curriculum in this way, our students benefit from a rich knowledge and cultural capital to develop them into informed citizens. Our Co-curriculum and tutoring programme underpin their studies with the aim to create reflective, independent and assured learners.
The Academic Curriculum
Five Ways students are on a ‘learning journey’ in which the skills and mastery of their subjects and co-curriculum endeavours are built on from year to year. Each department clearly sequences topics and subject content in a coherent way to equip our students with the learning experiences that help them know more. In the classroom we develop a depth of understanding and recognition of the value of the subject, its interrelationship with other disciplines and its applicability to the world. In addition, students are encouraged and supported to become more reflective, confident and ‘self-regulating’ learners – skills that are vital to success beyond the classroom.
Our curriculum has been designed with a focus on mastering - not just learning – knowledge, which engages our able learners in an interactive, fun way. We ensure that the National Curriculum is taught in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Each subject discipline, selects material that covers the content of the National Curriculum and goes beyond this because of the calibre of our students who successfully grasp challenging material well.
Our students complete a three year ‘Key Stage 3’ and then a two year GCSE course, before the majority continue their studies at ‘A’ Level in our Sixth Form. Typically, our Year 9 students cover the National Curriculum content in all subjects by the end of the autumn term. From the Spring term, our students are introduced to some GCSE skills and content, while still broadening and deepening their knowledge and skills appropriate to their stage.
Blending Key Stage 3 Curriculum content with some GCSE skills, we sate the appetites of our able students. We are acutely aware that students all learn differently, and some need more time or re-teaching before they have mastered curriculum content. Therefore, class teachers adapt curriculum plans, content and reorder topics for those who need a different approach to secure their understanding. We also rely on our Student Services, a team of staff and external companies who provide tuition, Sixth Form mentoring and bespoke intervention to ensure all students finish each Key Stage with the apposite knowledge and skills to continue learning successfully in the future.
For details of the organisation of the Academic Curriculum, please see our curriculum policy here.
For details of course content please see the top right of this page; for our ‘Curriculum Overview’ for each key stage, including teaching hours, see here.
The ‘Super’ Curriculum
The Super Curriculum is aimed at taking students beyond the ‘confines’ of the Academic Curriculum. As the name suggests, it aims to stimulate curiosity and to inspire students as learners.
Over their time at the school, students are supported and encouraged to ‘go further’ in their studies and by doing so to qualify for different grades. For details of our ‘Super Curriculum’ please see here.
The ‘Extra’ Curriculum
Extra-Curricular activities form a huge part of life at Five Ways. Activities take place every day, all through the year. There are academic, sporting, artistic and dramatic opportunities for all abilities and aspirations. They take place at lunchtime and after school and allow students to develop their talents outside of the more ‘formal’ curriculum.
As well as the clubs and societies we have (everything from debating and cooking to Warhammer and lacrosse), we also have two components which give our students even more:
Outdoor Education – which provides students opportunities to learn how to climb, kayak, develop their ‘outdoors’ skills and so much more. We are the largest Duke of Edinburgh Centre in the Midlands with large numbers participating at all levels (see the ‘Co-curriculum section of the Website for more details).
Our House System, to which all students are allocated when they join the school, is a flourishing part of school life. Many of the Extra Curricular clubs and societies also have ‘House Competitions’ and every week there are House Events, everything from House Board Games to House Netball and House Pantomime to House Lip Sync Battles.
For details of our ‘Extra Curriculum’, please see here.
For details of our ‘House’ System, please see here.
The Implementation of our Curriculum
We teach students to understand their learning and its relationship to the real world. Teaching is delivered by subject specialists and students are taught how to memorise and recall key subject specific and broader contextual knowledge. Knowledge and concepts are interleaved, in that content is spaced and reviewed throughout the year to ensure mastery with subject leaders ‘mapping’ the skills and knowledge which students gain as they move through the course. Although each subject is taught in a bespoke way, there are common principles we teach in all subjects- explanation, modelling, scaffolding and practice are evident in every classroom. Whether it be the quality of the material we present, feedback, assessment and responsive teaching – all endeavours ensure our students make progress.
We are in the process of beginning the High Performance Learning World Class School Award which is a research-led framework to further enhance our teaching repertoire. We are continually in pursuit of excellence for all, which is the mission of our Foundation and Academy Trust.
We have been chosen to pilot the SSAT Embedding Formative Assessment Programme. The training of staff in learning communities, is a professional development programme to support teachers to continually review formative assessment practice in lessons and measure its impact on the quality of student learning. The approach blends well with our current practice of using regular formative assessments to focus on students’ retention of knowledge and act upon any gaps. Subject leaders monitor student progress with clearly defined end points, with appropriate interventions being implemented to support the student if required. Our structured assessment system provides formative feedback to both students and parents and is supported by a broad intervention programme.
However, we believe that the impact of our curriculum goes beyond academic outcomes. We do what we do because we value learning and so do our students!