Teaching and Learning
As a cooperative academy, we place a high degree of importance on working together as a community and preparing students for the “real world” of future job markets and opportunities. The needs to be both resilient and flexible are built into our curriculum from the off, with Real Projects challenging students to think creatively in solving real-world tasks.
Through i-Future, our students are taught how to become active, questioning citizens of the world as well as becoming independent learners.
In other ways, however, we are more traditional, offering a broad and balanced curriculum of the key subjects that every employer wishes to see – English and maths form the backbone of our curriculum offer, while students can select a bespoke pathway for themselves across a three-year Key Stage Four, to meet their own ambitions. We offer the English Baccalaureate but do not compel students to opt for it; we believe strongly in the value of subjects such as Art, Music, Drama and PE, along with vocational choices that might suit individual students.
Assessment for Learning
Study is only really successful if one raises their head from the controls to survey the direction one is going in, checking the mirrors too so that one can be sure one is travelling the right path. Lessons feature regular reviews of progress and the intent to see an outstanding level of learning. Regular revisiting of information via assessment points, from informal in-class tests to the full suites of mock examinations sat by each year group, help staff to diagnose individual and group needs and to therefore plan for even better outcomes. The focus on revising for exams at Passmores is clear from Year 7 as we know that education is a team affair, with students needing to play their part in their own success.
In seeking to be effective and innovative as a school, we encourage staff to likewise select their own professional development from a menu containing research opportunities or focused work groups. This allows us to keep up to date and to distribute our expertise around all staff, to best support students.
A Mixed Approach
Students are given individual targets for each of their subjects and are taught in mixed ability classes in almost all cases. This has been proven to be the most effective strategy for most students to learn in and ensures that students all become used to working and positively
engaging with a variety of different people. Where setting is shown to have a strong correlation with success, i.e. in GCSE Mathematics, then this is the method we use.
Innovation is a guiding principle of our teaching and learning strategies and we like to blend tried and tested learning approaches with new technology and methods of learning. Our school places considerable emphasis on making a successful transition between primary and secondary school education and our curriculum in the lower school is wide and deep and aimed at encouraging a hunger for knowledge.
We embrace technology throughout the school and have numerous facilities for students to use, from dedicated computer suites to i-pad sets. There has been extensive investment in the technology of the school so that the curriculum is truly enriched and complemented by the latest electronic innovations. Students are welcome to bring their own device to school and these may be used in lessons with the teacher’s consent.
Show My Homework (the school's homework environment) is used, to make clear the work needed by students on a daily basis. Various other support and revision websites are subscribed to, helping to embed that revision and study bug early on. In Key Stage Three reading is monitored through Accelerated Reader and parents can follow their child’s growth in this core skill through the software.
Key Stage 3: Years 7 and 8
At Passmores, Key Stage Three provides the perfect platform on which to achieve later success. We aim to ensure students are given the quality of teaching and learning required to make an informed choice about the career and direction in which they are heading in Key Stage Four and so concentrate upon a broad and balanced approach to all subjects. This is in addition to our firm belief on the importance of creativity, real-world applications for work and literacy as a key designator of future success.
Keys Stage 4: Years 9, 10 and 11
In Key Stage Four, the students are permitted to pursue the English Baccalaureate if that is the appropriate direction for them. At this point, the subject choice widens to include other qualifications that will help build a portfolio of skills and knowledge that would help any student looking to go into further education or the world of work. A huge range of courses are on offer so
that every student is able to tailor their own curriculum to suit their needs and interests – a glance at the timetables of any two students may reveal significant differences in qualifications undertaken, assessments to be met and even venues of study.
We do not seek early entry to terminal examinations, except in very rare circumstances where students may benefit from such a division of their workload.