Curriculum & Assessment
There are three key principles underpinning the design of the Academy’s curriculum:
- All students have access to a broad, balanced and coherent curriculum that supports learning and delivers our vision.
- A strong core ensures that basic skills such as literacy and numeracy are embedded at an early stage so that students are able to access the wider curriculum.
- A range of learning pathways is on offer to support and challenge all students thus enabling them to open any door they wish to in the future.
The school’s curriculum encourages a thirst for knowledge and understanding and a love of learning. It covers a range of subjects and provides opportunities for academic, technical and sporting excellence. It contributes well to pupils’ academic achievement, their physical well-being and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. It promotes good behaviour and a good understanding of safety matters. Alongside the taught curriculum, extra-curricular activities, pastoral support, assemblies and themed events deliver SMSC. These support the delivery of the Academy values, as well as promoting awareness of self and others and to promote British values of respect, tolerance, equality and fairness.
All relevant information on Teaching and Learning at Capital can be found in The Capital Classroom Google Site, available to all staff at Capital City Academy.
Please click on the expandable sections below for further information.
Detailed information about each subject can be found by clicking on the individual subject pages in the left hand menu.
Key Stage 3
In their first two years of school students study a curriculum based on the core subjects of English, maths and science, supplemented by an in depth study of the humanities and languages taught by specialist teachers. Alongside this core, students develop their creative and sporting potential through the teaching of PE and a range of visual and performing arts. Students that join the academy below level 4 in English or maths participate in a programme designed to ensure they reach age related expectations as soon as possible.
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4, students can choose from a wide range of academic options, tailored to provide the broadest range of opportunities at age 16. Students are offered a range of academic subjects, including all EBacc* subjects, as well as a focussed vocational offer. This allows each student to follow a pathway suited to their needs, interests and level of attainment. Great care is taken in helping students and parents to make appropriate option choices in Year 8.
* The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a suite of subjects: English language/ literature, mathematics and science plus a modern foreign language and humanity (history or geography).
In Capital 6, students can choose from a range of study programmes. Prior to starting post-16 courses, a rigorous application and admissions process guides students onto the most appropriate pathway. Study programmes are designed to ensure progression routes to high-quality higher education, training or employment upon leaving school. As well as providing a diverse range of academic A level subjects, there is vocational offer consisting of substantial vocational qualifications. Any student yet to achieve a Level 2 pass in GCSE English and maths attends classes to re-sit these qualifications at the earliest opportunity. For students who are not yet ready for level 3, a one-year step pathway allows students to gain appropriate level 2 qualifications, alongside a structured programme of work experience. To support the taught curriculum, study programmes also contain non-qualification activities designed to prepare students for the next stage of their education. These include supervised independent study, a tailored UCAS and careers programme, and range of extra-curricular activities. Within this, the Academy provides impartial careers education, information, advice and guidance.
Curriculum and Assessment Maps
To ensure knowledge and skills are developed quickly, each subject area has produced a curriculum and assessment map designed to show how learning builds over the course of a term, a year and a key stage. All curriculum and assessment maps are available by clicking the Subject Titles below. These form the basis of schemes of work and rigorous, synoptic assessments that allow for a detailed evaluation of student progress at a number of points in the academic year.
The purpose of assessment at Capital is described as follows:
‘Assessment will provide up-to-date, accurate and objective information about students’ achievement to themselves, their parents and staff.
Through informing next steps, the process of assessment will help to accelerate progress and improve classroom practice.’
Formative assessment is used to inform teaching and learning. The Academy is committed to ensuring that formative feedback is acted upon in order to support students’ learning. The Academy is also mindful of teacher workload and strives to use systems of formative assessment that do not require any unnecessary reporting or tracking. Examples of formative assessment include:
- Using probing lesson questions.
- Questioning techniques to check or stretch understanding.
- Low stakes testing to check knowledge acquisition.
- Using mini white boards.
- Using visualizers to share student work or model answers.
- Scanning the work of students while they are in the lesson to check for understanding and act upon information gathered.
- Marking student work as dependent on essential or departmental policy.
Targets are set for students according to the following principles:
- Targets for students will be aspirational, and allow them to exceed national expectations from their starting points.
- Targets will be shared and the target setting process will be simple to understand for staff, students and parents.
- Alongside current achievement data, targets will allow a thorough and focussed review of progress at regular intervals. This will support teaching and intervention.
As a result of changes to the accountability framework for secondary schools, we have developed our target setting mechanism in line with the Progress 8 measure. Targets set for Year 7-11 students are aimed at students achieving in the top 20% compared to other students nationally with the same starting point from the end of key stage 2. These are raised where prior attainment is depressed and for disadvantaged students.
Students entering the Academy with no prior data often make accelerated rates of progress. New arrivals will be assessed in English and Mathematics as part of their Academy induction. Targets for these students will be reviewed on a regular basis according to the rate of progress made and Academy expectations.
In the sixth-form, national subject-specific data is used to set appropriate targets for A Level and BTEC National qualifications, based on each student's average points score at GCSE.
At three points in each year, students in every year will sit exam-style assessments to judge how well they are progressing towards their target in each subject. These assessments have been written by departments to match the revised schemes of learning and the national curriculum. They are designed to match the national arrangements at key stage 4 and thus prepare them for the rigour of new GCSEs. Each assessment point is synoptic (ie assessing curriculum from the whole academic year to date). Exam conditions also replicate the external arrangements. Following these periods of assessment, time is given to departments to effectively moderate assessments in all year groups so that work of the same quality is reported in the same way.
It is important that students are fully prepared for their assessments and for public exams. Below you can find further information on the requirements of exams, which we replicate in all of our internal assessments, as well as information on how students can be supported.
At each of the three assessment points, parents will receive information about the achievement of their child in each subject area. Based on the most recent assessment, each student will be given a grade using the 9-1 number scale used for GCSE grading. This grade will show the level of performance in this assessment. Departments use success criteria, internal moderation and distribution of grades to set appropriate thresholds for assessments.
Students in Capital 6 will be given a grade from A*-E using the scale used for A-level grading. For students in Capital 6 who are studying Applied General or Technical qualifications a portfolio grade will also be given alongside the relevant assessment grade. This indicates the current grade of their total portfolio.
For Y11 Assessment Point 2 and Y13 students there will also be reported a predicted grade. This indicates the most likely outcome for the student with the current ‘Attitude to Learning’ prevailing.
As well as reporting attainment in this way, we will also colour code each grade to show how well each child is progressing towards their target. From this, parents will know how well their child is performing compared to other children in England with a similar starting point.
Once per year in each year group, Parents' Evenings allow face-to-face discussions between subject teachers and parents (in the presence of students), based on student progress. Twice a year (once for examination years), parents meet their child's Learning Adviser to hold an academic review of their child's progress across their different subjects. Key actions and targets from these meetings are agreed, recorded and shared with subject teachers.
An example report can be found here:
Student Progress Cycle
After each assessment point, data is processed quickly in order to allow an efficient and effective analysis of progress towards an agreed set of key performance indicators. Data is automatically generated into standard templates by the Academy’s Data Manager – we use the SIMS and SISRA Analytics assessment packages to support with this. Following this, leaders of all levels in the Academy meet to discuss the progress of students.
In departments, these conversations take the form of structured ‘Student Progress Meetings’ (SPMs) between curriculum area leaders and teaching staff. SPMs focus on the progress of individual students. Key actions from these meetings are recorded, and the information used to define the specific strategies that must be adopted to raise the achievement of those students who are working below their targets.
A summary flow-diagram of the assessment processes used at Capital are shown in the diagram below.
Feedback in the Capital Classroom
What are the Capital expectations for Feedback?
Teachers will provide formative feedback in lessons as Capital recognises this is one of the most effective strategies to maximise students' progress. According to the latest research, there are a variety of ways in which feedback can be given including written and verbal feedback from the teacher, peers or the students themselves.
In line with our Capital Classroom Principles, formative assessment and feedback are an expectation in all lessons across the Academy.
Feedback will always be given for GEM Tasks. A GEM task is a piece of work where a student is able to show their progress at a specific moment in the Scheme of Learning sequence.
Curriculum Areas will define the frequency of marking GEM Tasks in their subjects. This will be proportionate to the curriculum time allocated to the subject and on where these tasks suit best to maximise students' learning in their subject.
What does effective feedback look like?
Comments (not marks or grades, which are reserved for Summative Assessment Points) will be provided and should always be:
- focused on the learning not the student
- about the learning that should be going on, not only the presentation
- clear about what the student has achieved and what still needs further work to improve
- phrased so that the student can understand how s/he should respond
- phrased as targets or linked to targets already shared with the student.
- Any written feedback will require a student to respond and demonstrate understanding on how to improve.
- Students' spelling, punctuation and grammar should be corrected using the Capital Literacy codes.
- Students must use green pen to check their work before it is submitted.
What should happen after Feedback on a GEM is given?
- Work should be returned promptly to students.
- Students should be given time in lessons to respond to teacher feedback. This could include doing corrections and / or redrafting parts of work. Teachers are not expected to provide written feedback on any DIRT tasks (triple marking).
How will this be monitored?
- Work scrutiny in departments and by Curriculum Area Leaders and CLT
- During Learning Walks