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Curriculum Vision, Ethos and Intent

NUSA is a comprehensive academy serving the Bilborough and Broxtowe areas of Nottingham City. Our school ethos is ‘Work Hard Be Kind’ and we are proud of our inclusivity, diversity and the aspirations we have for our young people. Our ethos is the foundation of our curriculum.

Staff and pupils at NUSA are expected to “Work Hard” and “Be Kind”. This short statement goes to the heart of what we are trying to teach children through the curriculum, and through their wider school experiences. Our ethos demonstrates our intent to develop young people who have the strength of character and the resilience required to succeed and thrive in society.

At NUSA we are a member of the Nova Education Trust (NET). Our curriculum is designed in accordance with the NET’s Curriculum Policy which is based on the following aims, to:

  • Have learners at its heart, putting their interests above those of the institution.
  • Have a curriculum that is fit for purpose, offering differentiation and personalisation.
  • Be a centre of excellence in learning and teaching.
  • Prepare all learners for a successful adult and working life in a 21st century global society.
  • First achieve and then exceed national standards in achievement, attainment and progression.
  • Be committed to excellence and continuous improvement.
  • Value vocational and academic routes.
  • Nurture the talents of all and celebrate success.
  • Work to ease transition into any phase of education.
  • Involve the community.
  • Involve parents/carers.
  • Be in a learning environment that is above all else inspiring.

NUSA has a pupil admission number of 150 pupils in each of the Years 7 to 11. We split these 5 school years into a two year Key Stage 3, and a three year Key Stage 4. In KS3 and KS4, NUSA students experience a broad, balanced and aspirational curriculum. We balance the national aspiration for students to follow the Ebacc curriculum with the needs of our students to ensure all students are challenged and supported to follow aspirational pathways. Our destination data demonstrating the year on year improvement in the number of NUSA students going to and through A-Level courses at college shows the impact of this strategy. The increasing number of pupils choosing to stay at NUSA for their post-16 education in Key Stage 5 also demonstrates our intent that all students are committed to learning to 19 and beyond.

Work Hard

At NUSA we endeavour to teach pupils the value of investing in their own future by ‘working hard’ in every lesson, every day. Pupils are set personalised and challenging academic targets in every subject which allow staff to recognise and celebrate the progress made by hard-working pupils, regardless of their comparative attainment. Targets are set using ‘Fischer Family Trust Aspire’ estimates that consider a pupil’s prior attainment, gender and month of birth. These targets support our aspiration that all NUSA pupils will do at least as well as their peers nationally. Teachers are expected to help pupils work towards these targets by planning and teaching lessons that cater for all pupils, and by marking pupils’ work regularly and providing feedback that helps them to improve.

Pupils receive a report every term with grades and scores for attitude to learning and homework. Attainment grades and Attitude to Learning scores are coded either red, amber or green, depending on whether teachers judge a pupil to be "on track" to meet their target. Personalised targets allow all pupils to strive for a "green" report, regardless of their innate abilities and talents.

Working hard enables pupils to fulfil their potential, and hence fosters self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. It connects pupils with their own personal and academic development, and teaches them that everyone can achieve if they are prepared to apply themselves. Through this process of application and achievement, pupils also learn the importance of respecting the rights of other pupils to learn in a calm, focused and supportive atmosphere.

Be Kind

The importance of "being kind" to others is a fundamental human value that all children should be taught. At NUSA it starts in and around the classroom, with school rules that are based upon protecting pupils’ well-being, and their rights to learn.

Pupils are encouraged to adhere to a simple set of expectations that are linked to a framework of rewards and sanctions. Adherence to this framework helps pupils to develop their ability to distinguish between "right" and "wrong". This is an important part of the way in which we prepare our pupils for life as young adults in society.

On occasions when a pupil’s behaviour fails to meet our NUSA expectations, staff endeavour to explain the relevance and importance of our academy rules, and apply sanctions in a consistent and fair manner. It is important that our pupils learn to understand the impact of negative behaviour on their own progress and that of others, and hence accept the responsibility of their role as an integral part of any learning environment.

Personal Development and SMSC in our curriculum

All schools are charged with developing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues and themes. Subject leaders complete an SMSC audit of their taught curriculum, and identify opportunities for teachers to engage pupils in wider debate. Our staff are expected to promote a sense of social conscience, empathy and appreciation of the diverse nature of modern Britain.

Our Personal Development curriculum is covered through a range of sessions including: Development lessons; theme days; assemblies; charity events; tutor set activities and the work of our student council. These activities provide pupils with opportunities to learn about their rights and responsibilities in society, based upon the ethos of "Work hard, be kind".

Our students are encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance. Students have a weekly assembly on these themes.

Curriculum Implementation

Our curriculum is delivered through our taught lessons, tutor time, homework, assemblies, extra-curricular activities and our wider school life. School Leaders and Curriculum Middle Leaders place an emphasis on high quality planning, which drives high standards of teaching and learning. We aim to inspire students to learn in all aspects of our curriculum.

It is expected that Curriculum Middle Leaders plan and lead their subject curriculum in line with the vision and ethos of the school. They are responsible for:

  • Ensuring long term planning is in place for all courses. Such Subject Curriculum Overviews will contain curriculum detail on: context, expectations, key skills, the learning journey, threshold concepts and opportunities for recall, retrieval practice and interleaving skills.
  • Curriculum plans make explicit links to improving pupils’ cultural capital.
  • Where applicable HoD will be expected to follow learning pathways set out by the Progress Boards.
  • Curriculum Units of Work encourage progression at least in line with national standards.
  • Appropriate awarding bodies and courses are selected so that they best meet the learning needs of our learners.
  • Where necessary an appropriate combination of qualifications or alternative qualifications can be offered which best suit the needs of learners.
  • Assessment is appropriate to the course and the learners following particular courses.
  • Learner performance data is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that any necessary changes in terms of curriculum delivery are planned and carried out in a timely fashion.

Subject curriculum intent statements

July 2020


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