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The Curriculum - Key Stage 3


At KS3, students study the well-established Literacy for Life programme developed at Shireland Collegiate Academy over the past 9 years. Students who have been through this KS3 programme have consistently topped the authorities value added charts with a Progress 8 of 0.45 in 2016-17.


In 2013/14, Ofsted published its paper “Key Stage 3: the wasted years?” detailing that in traditional KS3 curricula students were low priority, challenge low and transition poorly managed leading to an attainment dip. These challenges are met through the L4L curriculum detailed below.


The key pillars of this methodology are:


Students in this methodology have 17 hours with the same teacher in Year 7, 13 hours in Year 8 and 8 hours in the first half of Year 9. Instantly, students and families have a single point of contact within the Academy who has a focus on the academic and pastoral wellbeing of the students in their class. This allows the same level of intense focus and intervention on students in KS3 as KS4. Students are taught in a Year 7 and Year 8 base which again eases the transition process.


What is a Theme?

This curriculum integrates subjects as shown below into themes.


A theme is a topic usually around six week long which the students use as a hook to base their learning on. The underpinning philosophy is that students learn better in context than in isolation


Themes in totality cover all of the areas of the national curriculum, but not every theme contains a full balance of every subject. Some might be more Geography based, while another may contain more Drama. By writing the curriculum in this way it allows for stronger experiences and more extended blocks of time to produce high quality outcomes. This provides an opportunity for in depth learning but with the full curriculum balance across the year.


Themes have within them certain key characteristics. A large piece of extended writing, time set aside for developing reading, and a number of competencies that the students will develop.



A student can perform a piece of diary writing in a great fire of London based theme or an instructional manual in a theme based on robotics.


Music, Languages, Physical Education, Dance and Design Technology are taught outside of the integrated curriculum though will occasionally have a presence in themes.


L4L teachers work as teams, blending their subject specialisms and joint planning and training each other. They have more of a pastoral link to students than traditional teachers and this model allows them to truly understand the needs of the students in their care.


At KS3, students are set targets based on their scaled scores at KS2. They are then set goals to exceed these targets as time goes by. To do this, at KS3 students seek to master a series of competencies to improve themselves academically and as learners.






Competencies are broken into ten areas. These comprise six areas of academic progress and four further areas which deal with the development of the students’ personal characteristics.



These competencies go to the heart of the curriculum. Students use them to develop the key skills they need to be successful; they use them to see the full continuum of their learning and to identify their strengths and weaknesses.


Year 7 Themes

September - Citizen Me

October - Silent Movies

November - Plants and Journeys

December - Pantomime

January - Fairy Tales

February - Growing

March - Going Green

April - I Robot

May - In Days of Old

June - Water

July - What If


Year 8 Themes

September - Myths and Legends; Tragedy

October - Journey to the centre of the Earth

November - Pudding Lane; India

December - Off with your head

January - Migration; Da Vinci

February - What If

March - Please Sir; Freedom

April - Freedom

May - Grand Designs

June - The Blitz; Coast

July - 1970's


Year 9 Themes

September - Whose Earth is it anyway?

October - Whose Earth is it anyway?

November - Over the top

December - It's a kind of magic

January - Made in China

February - Made in China

March - Careers - U-Explore

April - Careers - U-Explore

May - The Big Apple

June - The Big Apple

July - The Big Apple