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Curriculum Mission Statement:

At Quarrydale Academy we are committed to helping students to be the best they can be and to achieve their potential.

We want students to ASPIRE to get the best outcomes they can, to be good community citizens and to set and achieve personal goals

We want our students to BELIEVE in themselves and have a can-do approach to learning. Have the ability and confidence to overcome barriers and be resilient and not afraid of failing.

We want our students to SUCCEED and achieve their goals both academically and personally to maximise their potential.

A main goal at Quarrydale is to develop the whole person, in the main our students enter the Academy with low literacy and numeracy skills, low reliance and the ambition to succeed and progress onto the next phase of their lives. Therefore, through our aim to provide a curriculum model that equips every student with key employability skills, attitudes and qualifications they require to achieve in all aspects of their learning journey or and life.

Key stage specific information

Curriculum purpose and intent

To achieve these aims our curriculum provides a rich balance of knowledge, skills and cultural capital to reflect the needs of students and the local community.  While academic study is at the core of our curriculum, it is enhanced and deepened by our exciting range of extra-curricular, enrichment and extension opportunities, which include a comprehensive range of sporting activities as well as clubs such as Cartoon Club, Technology Club, F1 Club, Brilliant Club and trips such as Auschwitz/India – Y12/Y13, Y9 Black Country Museum, Y8 Newark Civil War Centre. This extended curriculum provision allows all students to nurture their talents and interests and offers the opportunity to experience success and develop their self-confidence.

To assist students to ASPIERE, BELIEVE and SUCCEED we know that we have to work on developing their skills and attitudes. When they enter the school students often are unable to shape and express their views and opinions orally or in written form. The curriculum provides students the opportunity to develop these skills through a strong focus on speaking and listening in language lessons, through making presentations to the whole class, participating in assemblies, taking part in class discussion and in debating competitions. Opportunities for students to develop their literacy and writing exists in the majority of subjects, with every student expected to complete a piece of extended writing in most units of work.

To SUCCEED our students, have to become more resilient. The curriculum gives them opportunties to develop this attribute. Some subjects use classroom approaches such as the Learning Pit, others help students understand that overcoming obstacles is important in achieving a goal, for exam, in science students recognise that experiments don’t always work and that sometimes a process of trial and error needs to be followed; in PE students analyse why a technique hasn’t worked and incorporate a revised technique in practice, and in English students understand the need to review and redraft pieces of writing to improve the quality.

We also recognise that students face a significant test at the end of KS4. They are required to be able to access a huge amount of information and to have the resilience and stamina to sit around 20 exams. To ensure students are able to recall the subject content needed we work on developing their retrieval skills in lessons by first helping them move superficial learning to a deeper level and then by having opportunities to recall and use prior learning through starter activities, assessment tasks and through a dedicated ‘lesson 20’ approach. In helping students move learning to a deeper level teachers use their awareness of Bloom’s Taxonomy so that students are asked not just to recall facts but to analyse, evaluate and synthesise information. This approach develops as students’ progress through the school and a valuable skill set for later study and employment.

Serving a former coal mining community we recognise the need to develop the employability skills of our students. We want them to have access to the best opportunities locally, regionally and Nationally. We want students to ASPIRE to worthwhile careers and we do this by delivering a high quality careers education programme that features calendared engagement with employers and higher education providers. The school has a good relationship with Nottingham Trent University and their staff regularly visit the school to work with groups of students. In addition, there is a programme of university visits for students.

Equality of opportunity for all students is integral to our curriculum purpose. Those with lower prior attainment or special educational needs will receive bespoke, additional support through one to one tuition, small group intervention and through quality first teaching in mainstream classrooms. At KS4 our curriculum pathways will allow some students the opportunity to be supported to focus on a lower number of important qualifications that will a smoother post 16 transition into education, employment or training.

KS3 Curriculum

The academy has good relationships with its linked primary schools so that students can have a successful transition into secondary education that ensures they have the continuity in learning that allows them to continue to make progress with reduced repetition and extending learning at the forefront of our transition process and beyond.

The National Curriculum is delivered through individual subjects at KS3 with a focus on developing the key skills within each curriculum area helping students first understand and then apply the key concepts they will need in later years. Moral and Ethics sessions support the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students, which is enhanced by additional tutor time and school assemblies.

Students are taught in ability groups in the majority of subjects, ensuring that every child is both challenged and supported in their learning.

The curriculum is undergoing redevelopment as the school has reverted to a two-year KS4 and to deliver on the curriculum goals students will have the opportunity to engage in defined references to employability within lessons. These skills-based lessons will be devised by the school but involve external partners. In addition, work will help students to ASPIRE and BELIEVE by helping them develop greater motivation and goal setting skills. Year 9 will also feature a summer term programme for Y9 students to assess and promote students’ readiness or GCSE studies. 

At Key Stage 3, learners follow exciting, rigorous and challenging programmes of study in:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Languages (French)
  • Geography
  • History
  • Computing
  • Design Technology
  • Music & Drama
  • Art
  • Moral & Ethics
  • Physical Education


Students are taught in a range of ability and mixed ability groups in subjects, ensuring that every child is both challenged and supported in their learning. 


KS4 Curriculum

The KS4 curriculum has a strong academic core. Students are, where appropriate, encouraged to study subjects within the English Baccalaureate as we believe this provides a strong basis for future career choice and success. In addition, the statutory core features of Physical Education and Morals and Ethics are covered during purposeful timetabled lessons.


The pathway approach offers students the opportunity to study additional option subjects. The option subjects available include:

  • Geography, History, French, Business Studies, Computing, Construction, Health & Social Care, Sport, Art, Photography, Drama, Dance, Music, PE, Psychology, Media Studies, Astronomy, Food & Nutrition, Engineering and Design & Technology.

Level 2 courses are offered as either GCSE or BTEC qualifications.

Bespoke pathways are available for some students for whom the main curriculum is not suitable or accessible. For a small number of students the Link Centre offers a core curriculum plus bespoke programmes so that students can better manage their behaviour whilst still progressing in their learning

The Academy is aware that the needs of students change and continually adapts the curriculum to reflect interests and aspirations. The introduction of Spanish as a second language option and the addition of astronomy to the science curriculum are examples of this.

KS5 Curriculum

Post 16 education at Quarrydale Academy is an exciting and inspiring time for our students. We work to provide them with the foundations and opportunities to create a personalised pathway that will allow them to successfully access their chosen option of Higher Education, employment or apprenticeships in the next stage of their journey.

The Academy offers a wide range of A Level and BTEC Level Three courses that ensure we are able to provide a suitable programme of study for our students that will allow them to ACHIEVE their goals. Additionally, we offer a range of extra-curricular activities and events that support both the academic and social development of our students, ensuring they are provided with the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions about their Post 18 choices and are prepared for life beyond Quarrydale. We work in close collaboration with many universities, higher education institutions, employers and apprenticeship providers to enhance the academic and personal skills recognised as the foundations for the successes of our young people in wider society.

At Quarrydale Academy students are expected to develop and embrace a sense of responsibility for their own learning, developing a more independent study style and maintaining a strong work ethic to ensure the most positive outcomes. Students are also encouraged to be active members of the Post 16 community, accessing the opportunities that are afforded to them to ensure their holistic development and to provide the most rewarding Post 16 experience possible.

In return, students can expect high standards in terms of curriculum delivery and support from teachers and tutors and will be encouraged through each step of their Post 16 career. We pride ourselves on knowing our students well, and as a result, are able to provide advice and guidance that is tailored to their individual needs and aspirations, offering them the best chance of success.