The curriculum in Kilmarnock Academy is defined by the 7 key design features as described in National Guidance, and includes the totality of experiences which are planned for our students throughout their time in Kilmarnock Academy, including;
• The ethos and life of our school as a community
• Curriculum areas and subjects delivered across the school
• Interdisciplinary learning opportunities
• Opportunities for developing skills for learning, life and work
• A continuous focus on literacy, numeracy and health and well being
• Personal support and support in moving from school into positive sustained destinations
• Personalisation, choice and enhanced provision in both the Broad General and Senior phase
• Opportunities for, and celebration of, personal achievement
The purpose of the curriculum is to enable our students to develop the “four capacities”. We believe all students should be ambitious in their aspirations. In Kilmarnock Academy, we believe that learning should drive motivation, aspiration and attainment. The development and implementation of our curriculum for excellence will support deeper learning across all curricular areas, whereby all students will be engaged in learning activities which build independence, collaboration and the application of skills and knowledge learned.
Kilmarnock Academy is also committed to ensuring that all students are equipped with the necessary skills for life, learning and work and afforded regular opportunities to enhance and record skills acquired and wider achievement alongside developing more flexible learning pathways and career options.
In Kilmarnock Academy, our curriculum model is supported by a timetable which ensures progression for all students from the Broad General Education into the Senior Phase.
All students engage in all experiences up to level 3 whilst being permitted to specialise within curricular areas from the end of S1, before progressing onto the Senior Phase at the end of S3.
The Broad General Education
In Kilmarnock Academy, we believe that personalisation within and across curricular areas will ensure a positive dynamic for learning. Throughout S1 – S3 there are also a number of key opportunities for all students to engage in cross curricular and interdisciplinary learning including electives and whole or part day events such as Industrial Awareness Day and Finance Week.
In Kilmarnock Academy the following principles informed the planning of our Broad General Education S1 – S3;
• Transition from P7 into S1 will emphasise continuity and progression
• All students will engage in experiences and outcomes up to level 3 and beyond
• All students will be afforded a degree of personalisation and choice within and across curricular areas
• All Students will engage positively in building a profile of achievement and success
• Breadth and depth in the Broad General Education will ensure a strong foundation of learning and attainment in the Senior Phase.
In S1, S2 and S3 all students engage in all 8 curricular areas within which they are exposed to a wide range of subjects and skills. As students move on through the school, more elements of choice are introduced while ensuring that they have a broad, balanced yet challenging curriculum.
In S1, pupils follow a common curriculum, ensuring they experience a breadth of subjects focused on the experiences and outcomes up to and including third level.
By the end of S1, where most students will have achieved the outcomes of level 3, students are then permitted to specialise within curricular areas, ensuring a positive dynamic for learning in S2 and S3.This enables students to engage in deeper learning and build a portfolio of experiences for the senior phase.
In Kilmarnock Academy, we believe that many students will be secure at level 3 by the end of S1, and will have progressed into the fourth level in many aspects of their learning by the end of S3, which is seen as a further transition year onto the Senior Phase.
In creating the necessary building blocks for engagement in the Senior Phase, in Kilmarnock Academy we build a range of 4th level experiences into the Broad General Education, and indeed support the view that some evidence required for National 4/5 may be overtaken in S3.
Our curriculum throughout the Broad General Education is further enhanced by opportunities for our students to develop skills for learning, life and work, citizenship and Literacy across Learning.
The electives on offer to S2 and S3 provide our students with greater personalisation and choice as well as access to a wider range of Experiences and Outcomes. The range of electives on offer may include; Spanish, Computer Game Development, Health and Wellbeing, Financial competency, Drama, Healthy Eating, Debating, ECO Environment and outdoor education.
The Senior Phase
Our rationale for building our senior phase is predicated on ensuring we improve attainment and achievement for all of our students and equip them with the skills, qualifications and attitudes necessary to progress into positive and sustained post school destinations, and includes both study for formal qualifications and enhanced provision as described in appendix 2.
In S4, students will build directly on their achievements within the Broad, General Education, and study for National 3, National 4 and National 5 qualifications. S4 options are aligned with the Broad General Education as well as the S5/6 options to ensure progression for all. In Kilmarnock Academy, our S4 students can study up to 7 subjects in S4 (4 periods per week). Additionally there is scope for students to gain additional recognition for their learning and achievements in Religious, Moral, Philosophical Studies, Physical Education, Personal Development and Leadership. Our curriculum provides enough flexibility to allow students to access a Skills for Work or College course if these are considered more appropriate.
Towards the end of S3 and following discussion with Guidance Staff your child will select the 7 subjects they will study for their National Qualifications.
Before making a decision on course options, pupils are encouraged to discuss this with yourself and Head of House/Guidance Teacher. Opportunities are also given to parents to discuss this important matter with school staff at parents’ evenings. In Kilmarnock Academy we take this whole process very seriously. It is very important that students are coursed appropriately and we value parents support in this process.
Because of constraints in staffing and accommodation we may not always be able to meet every expectation in terms of course choice. However, partnership and discussion with parents helps to ensure that appropriate courses for all students are chosen taking account of pupil’s performance in 1st to 3rd year.
The school is committed to ensuring that all students leave Kilmarnock Academy having achieved their full potential in terms of qualification gains. For some pupils we aim to ensure that they leave with a basic minimum of 5 national qualification passes by the end of S4.
In S5/6 students will build directly on their prior achievements from S4 and the Broad General Education and study for Advanced Higher, Higher, National 5 and National 4 qualifications depending on their needs and ability. Our S5/6 students can study up to 5 subjects in each year (6 periods per week). The flexibility we offer is advantageous because it allows scope for movement back into the S4 structure for students wishing to return to a subject they may have dropped at an earlier stage. Equally, it will allow S4 students (e.g. gifted musicians) to fast track to Higher or Advanced Higher if appropriate. However, in principle, at Kilmarnock Academy we will not be timetabling all S4 -S6 together as a coherent group since we currently see no real desire for or value in this model of delivery in terms of meeting students’ needs and raising attainment across the school.
The following principles informed the planning of the Senior Phase:
• There is flexibility built into the structure to allow for meeting individual student needs and to ensure no options are closed off
• Learning in S4 delivers coherence and progression from the Broad General Education in S1-S3
• All curricular areas will deliver learning opportunities which can contribute towards a bank of evidence for National Qualifications
• All students will also be certificated in “Core” RME and, in due course in Personal Development (which will permeate the PSE curriculum in due course) and Core PE
• Choices offered in S4 are planned to be broad enough to keep options open for S5
• Opportunities for partnership delivery of some courses
In everything we do, our aim is to increase the capacity of our students to engage meaningfully in their learning and to prepare them for life after school. We will continue developing a wide range of courses and work closely with other secondary schools and colleges to ensure we deliver in meeting the needs of our students in an ever changing world.
An Inclusive Approach to Raising Attainment
In living our school values and delivering our curriculum for excellence, we continue to engage in regular dialogue with teachers, students and parents on approaches to raise attainment and promote inclusion. We set aspirational targets for all of our students and intervene early where there is a danger of under achievement.
As a school we promote, value and regularly celebrate success at every level including our ACE awards. We have developed and will continue to evolve a wide range of opportunities for personal achievement. We also work closely with partner agencies to provide coherent and meaningful programmes of support for those young people who, for whatever reason, find it difficult to engage in a mainstream setting.