Our Curriculum

Curriculum Vision, Aims and Principles: The Berwick Way

Curriculum Vision

It is our belief that every young person has the right to a stimulating and enriching education.   Our intent is to equip all students to be good citizens who are able to contribute positively to their local and wider communities.  We are highly ambitious for the young people of Berwick Academy, in their academic, technical and vocational studies.  Equally, we expect high levels of commitment from our students: The Berwick Way educates students in the importance of being On Time, On Side and On Task.  Our philosophy and aims reflect our core values of Friendship, Learning and Respect.

Curriculum Aims:

  1. To equip students with powerful knowledge that will be transformational for them in further education and employment.
  2. To imbue every student with a belief in the transformational power of knowledge for them personally, regardless of background, starting point or future goals.
  3. To give students the cultural capital and critical literacy to participate successfully in, and to shape, society in the future.
  4. To give every young person a sound social, moral and cultural foundation through our values of Friendship, Learning and Respect.

We will implement our curriculum vision and aims using the following principles:

Knowledge Acquisition and Application

We believe that knowledge is empowering and can be transformational for our young people, in education and in life.  Our knowledge-rich curriculum reflects our conviction that every student has the right to access engaging and challenging subject content, regardless of background or starting point.  We give students a strong foundation of knowledge to help them thrive in their chosen pathway and increase their cultural capital.  The design of our curriculum has its basis in the science of learning; in every subject, learning is sequenced to allow students to acquire knowledge incrementally, and to revisit content regularly to make sure that knowledge sticks.  We plan learning so that students have frequent opportunities to apply knowledge in different contexts, developing depth of understanding and independence.  We recognise that this curriculum, and our responsibility to our students, extends beyond the classroom and each subject provides opportunities for enrichment and extension.

Reading and Disciplinary Literacy

Reading and disciplinary literacy are central to our curriculum.  There is a proven correlation between literacy and educational outcomes, career and earnings potential, and health and wellbeing.  We have a duty to help students achieve the highest possible literacy levels.  At Berwick, every teacher is a teacher of reading, vocabulary, oracy and writing and we have adopted our ‘Read, Think, Write’ approach, to give students the strategies they need to break down and engage effectively with challenging texts.  Disciplinary literacy is an integral part of learning in each subject; teachers use vocabulary instruction to help students to increase their bank of complex and technical words, and support the effective application of key vocabulary in discussion and writing.  Through this, we aim to give all students the tools to unlock complex, academic texts, to engage in nuanced and critical discussion, and to express ideas effectively in extended writing.

Teacher as the Expert

We recognise the teacher as the expert in their classroom.  Curriculum leaders and teachers work together within faculties and across the school in order to transmit and embed the knowledge and values of our community.   In addition to subject content, all teachers will support students in the development of intellectual curiosity, independence and resilience.  Excellent curriculum design is a process of ongoing development and our curriculum will continue to be refined and adapted to meet the needs of our students.  The impact of our curriculum is regularly evaluated through cycles of quality assurance, review and development activity.   We take an evidence-based approach to all curriculum strategy.

The Role of the Learner

The curriculum exists in service of the student, but we recognise the responsibilities of learners too.  All students are educated in ‘The Berwick Way’, which is to work hard with humility, diligence and attention to detail.  We proactively teach students what this means through our tailored personal, social, health and relationships education curriculum, and support them in developing these behaviours, which we recognise can take time.  We expect our students to demonstrate personal responsibility as a stakeholder in their education and a member of our learning community.


Our School Day, Lessons and Timetable

The Academy operates a 2 week timetable with 30 lessons per week (6 x 50 minute lessons per day).  All the core and foundation subjects that form the National Curriculum are taught in Year 9.

During Year 9 a booklet is published with details of all the courses that will be available in Key Stage Four (Years 10 and 11).

Time Allocation Year 9Hours
Design and Technology1
Physical E2

Year 9 students choose their GCSE options at the beginning of the calendar year. An options booklet and open evening is provided to help them make their choice. Due to the constraints of the timetable and the need to demonstrate a balanced and appropriate curriculum at Key Stage Four, students may be required to choose between options which both fall in the same options block. The school has designed these blocks to ensure that, whatever a child’s options choices, they are not prevented from following an A Level course of study as a result of a failure to select the appropriate course of study at GCSE.

In addition to the core subjects shown above, students are provided with lessons to support their spiritual, physical and personal development. The remainder of a student’s timetable is taken up by four options choices. The majority of our students enter the Sixth Form after Year 11. We have an open entry policy and all students are advised about the most appropriate courses to study.


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