The Altius Trust believes that in order to deliver our vision of a fantastic future for all our students it is important that they achieve the best academic results possible.
Examinations are changing in England, with more challenging new GCSEs that rely heavily on student’s knowledge base. We have designed our curriculum for Years 7 and 8 to ensure it prepares students thoroughly for the new assessment regime at Key Stage 4.
In Years 7 and 8 our curriculum is structured around a series of challenges:
Know It: learn information, a technique or some key facts.
Mini Tests: demonstrate this knowledge by applying it so that the teacher can see learning is secure.
Big Tests: be able to demonstrate a mastery of knowledge and application of it in a test environment.
We expect our students to perform competitively against their peers nationally and ensure that our processes both challenge high ability students, but also support students who find learning more difficult.
Our curriculum is organised into different ability pathways and, although largely traditional, we constantly ensure it is preparing students for a Fantastic Future. Some examples include:
- Our language portfolio now includes Mandarin
- Fashion has been added to our creative block
- An award-winning mentoring programme is offered from Year 7 onwards
- Option subjects are chosen in Year 8 in preparation for transition to upper school and a tougher exam regime
The Upper School
Most of our students follow the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) suite of qualifications. This means they will study:
- Science (Double or Triple “Single Science” depending on attainment)
- History or Geography
- A Modern Foreign Language (we offer Mandarin in partnership with Manchester Grammar School)
- Computer Science (Optional)
Alongside the EBacc we offer a wide range of GCSE subjects and students are able to follow their strengths, passions and ambitions to select subjects which they will revel in and excel at.
Our mentoring and pastoral curriculum is driven to support students to fulfil their ambitions for the next phase of their studies, whether A Levels or vocational pathways.
We set across the whole year group in English, Maths and Science and then in half-year bands in other subjects. Setting in option subjects depends on the number of students choosing to take a subject at GCSE.
Higher Ability Students
Our higher ability students are challenged by the curriculum and our lively, engaging teaching, but also by the business mentoring programme that we run. This ensures that their CVs will be overflowing with demonstrations of leadership, project management and team performance when they finally leave us.
We want our students to develop the resilience to cope with the challenges of further and higher education, and the rapid pace of change within the global economy.
Special Educational Needs and Disabled (SEND) Students
Our driving principle for our SEND students is “quality first teaching”: excellent classroom teaching supporting learning so that progress is secure. Our “Passport Pathway” offers vulnerable learners with a range of needs a safe and supported curriculum in which to develop confidence and make strong academic progress. Other students may receive in-class support or smaller class sizes depending on the nature of the student’s need.
Our buildings are accessible for students who are physically impaired. We also have a centre in our schools dedicated to offering students support with emotional and mental health needs – as a light touch triage base or as a longer-term mentoring process.
To complement academic achievement we provide an amazing Fantastic Futures Curriculum to all our students.
We work incredibly hard to attract the best teachers and our teacher training provision is graded “outstanding” by Manchester University. We believe that our teachers’ expertise needs to inspire our students by allowing them to shape and craft exciting learning experiences.
Our teaching model emphasises excellent classroom dynamics between staff and students: we enjoy teaching them! They make us laugh, they ask questions which challenge us and we want them to take learning risks so they understand how a concept actually works. Exams are a serious business, learning is an emotional journey – students who enjoy learning perform far better than those who are uninspired.