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Striving for




Curriculum Intent

Shirebrook Academy’s Curriculum Intent Statement 
Key Stages 3 and 4

At Shirebrook Academy, we believe that high-quality teaching that meets the needs of all of our learners is our key responsibility. 

At the centre of our core principles is the Shirebrook Academy Mission Statement:

“At Shirebrook Academy, we are committed to inspiring all members of our academy community to be the best that they can be.

We believe that having the highest ambitions and aspirations for our students will help them to reach their true potential, and we understand that this is achieved through a shared focus on excellent standards and expectations each and every day.

Our curriculum enables our learners to build their knowledge, understanding and skills over time and underpinning this is our dedication to high-quality learning and teaching.

We work together in a mutually inclusive environment that respects every individual and their contribution.  We know that we all have a responsibility to support each other and enable everyone to access their learning opportunities effectively and safely.

Working in partnership with our local and wider communities, we aim to empower our young people in successfully taking their place in society.  We appreciate that working together makes all the difference.”

Shirebrook Academy “A community of inspiration, excellence and opportunities for all to grow” 


Our curriculum is driven by our ethos and values and is underpinned by the needs of our community and the students that we serve.

The community ranks in the bottom 10% of the UK for deprivation according to the IDACI index. It is geographically isolated, and transport links to larger towns and cities are poor. 

The percentage of families with experience of higher education or with level 3 or higher qualifications is well below the national average. The proportion of disadvantaged students and those with Special Educational Needs is around double the national average.  

This context and our knowledge of the barriers faced by some children growing up in economically deprived areas have led us to develop a curriculum that seeks to enrich lives, build community and inspire all young people to take control of their lives and create opportunities for themselves to thrive and further their aspirations. 

Our curriculum is designed with the intention of empowering our students to see beyond the every day and to be able to make meaning from the world around them. It provides them with the opportunities to build knowledge, skills, techniques and cultural literacy that will enable them to make positive choices about their futures and the future of their community both on a local, national and global scale.

Our curriculum places great emphasis on knowledge and skills development. “Knowledge forms the foundation of all higher-order cognitive functions including critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making” Lemov (2020).   Knowing more is learning more and remembering more. Our ‘subject on a page’ documents and schemes of learning are designed to develop deep knowledge and understanding, enabling students to feel personally empowered; think and make decisions creatively, critically and analytically.  

Our curriculum is broad and balanced. With a focus on relevance and planned learning progression over the short, medium and longer term, it supports students in developing a variety of subject-specific and transferable skills that promote lifelong learning. 

We want all of our students to be avid, fluent and expert readers, able to use numbers and calculations to solve mathematical problems and to speak confidently, clearly and articulately when expressing their thoughts and ideas in a range of contexts and experiences.  Our curriculum promotes this, with the importance of literacy and numeracy skills embedded throughout. There is an emphasis on the significance of vocabulary and building an understanding of language and its importance in spoken and written format. 

Central to our values, is our drive to ensure that every child is a reader and that the teaching of reading skills is the responsibility of all Shirebrook Academy staff, in order to ensure students can access their learning in every lesson and context and so that they develop a love of reading and build their cultural capital.
Through the curriculum, our students develop their understanding of people and society, are taught how to appreciate cultural diversity and to understand the importance of equality and inclusion.
Creativity and expression is nurtured and developed, and students are supported in building their resilience as learners and as individuals.  Students are taught to learn from their mistakes and how to learn and study, thus developing as independent learners. 

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum covers all statutory subjects that form the National Curriculum, whilst at Key Stage 4 we ensure that students can access the core English Baccalaureate curriculum alongside other statutory and optional subjects.  This ensures that students are well prepared to progress to higher education, training, or employment, having acquired a broad and balanced range of qualifications and skills. 

Our curriculum includes the following:

Key Stage 3 – Years 7-9 Key Stage 4 – Years 10-11
Physical Education
Religious Education
Design Technology
Performing Arts - (Art, Drama and Music)

GCSE Subjects
English Literature
English Language
Science (Combined or triple single science)
Physical Education/Sport
Religious Education
A choice of TWO option subjects from the following:

Design Technology

Health and Social Care 


The Personal Development curriculum across Key Stages 3 and 4 ensures that important themes are explored by students in a variety of differing learning contexts, across subjects and through designated Personal Development learning time and tutor programmes. 

Themes include: physical health and wellbeing, respectful relationships, keeping safe online, what it means to be a British citizen and celebrating our local and national culture and heritage.  
All statutory frameworks have been adhered to when developing our revised framework, including: ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ and ‘Health Education’. We are confident that students will develop the knowledge and understanding required to enable them to make positive and informed personal decisions.  
Additionally, we have a structured careers guidance programme from Year 7 through to Year 11 as part of the drop-down Personal Development days and integrated into the Personal Development tutor time. Students experience careers talks, bespoke one-to-one support guidance and advice, college and higher education visits and work experience.

Our enrichment and extra-curricular programmes enable students to continue their learning beyond the classroom.  We have a wide variety of sports clubs; with health and fitness promoted across our academy. We value the importance of educational trips, visits and residential experiences and ensure that all year groups access opportunities that champion their learning and enrich their experiences.  

The content of our curriculum has been sequenced across all subject areas.  All disciplines have individual intent and implementation statements and frameworks that carefully consider substantive and disciplinary knowledge and skills within schema where the composite learning is broken down into component elements. 
The ‘Subject on a Page’ documents show the sequence in which content and skills are taught over time and how students are able to build upon prior learning and revisit it to reinforce memorisation and retention, whilst enabling students to transfer and apply their learning in differing contexts.  

In Dylan Wiliam’s foreword to the National Curriculum and the Teachers’ Standards in 2018, he states “The difference between a collection of topics to be studied and a well-designed curriculum is the same as between a pile of bricks and a house.  The elements are important; but how they are assembled is much more so”. 

We have assembled our curriculum in a coherent way in order to inspire, motivate and enthuse our learners. The needs of all learners are addressed within our curriculum model; students of all abilities are able to enjoy, progress and achieve success.  We want all of our students to feel happy, safe and excited by their learning whilst ensuring that they are fully prepared to realise their ambitions in the future.  

If you have any questions regarding our curriculum and what it means for your child’s learning at our academy, please do not hesitate to contact us either via email - or via telephone on 01623 742722.  

We value your feedback and the importance of working in partnership with you.