have adapted well to the many changes that have occurred in recent years.
Since becoming a school specialising in the Performing Arts, they experience a wide range of Dance, Music and Drama. This enhances student learning and improves their self esteem and confidence.
The curriculum can be looked at in two parts, although it is of course in reality one unit. Years 7 to 9 correspond with the National Curriculum Key Stage 3, and Years 10 and 11 correspond with Key Stage 4. GCSE or Vocational Studies are the culmination of Key Stage 4.
The principles of the curriculum are that it should be broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated. It should also reflect the school’s specialist status in performing arts. The principles relate to the development of skills, knowledge, concepts, values and attitudes. It is the school’s intention to develop the education of its students in the widest possible sense, whilst taking into account the different levels of progress students make in respect of their age, ability and aptitude. The school is committed to the idea that learning should be enjoyable and part of a life long process.
The National Curriculum
The National Curriculum stipulates a broad range of subjects that are now a legal requirement for all children up to the age of 16. During the past three years, the school has made many modifications to the curriculum to accommodate these changes.
Key Stage 3 Organisation
Our aim is to achieve a smooth transition from Primary to Secondary School and much emphasis is placed upon knowing about our new students before they join us. Each child is allocated to a tutor group, with the group’s tutor having responsibility for the guidance and welfare of the children in that group. Ideally, the tutor would remain with that tutor group for a number of years. Tutor groups are mixed and all ability. Teaching groups are arranged on the basis of ability in that subject. They are not rigid, and students are moved between groups according to their progress which is constantly under review.
Subjects studied by all students in Years 7,8 and 9 (Key Stage 3) are:
Modern Foreign Languages (French and German)
Life Learning (PSHE, Citizenship, RE)
Key Stage 4 Organisation
In Years 10 and 11 students are grouped in mixed ability tutor groups for administrative purposes but are taught mainly in option groups.
Subject studied by all students in Years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4) are:
Life Learning (PSHE, Citizenship, RE, Careers Education & Guidance, Enterprise activities) this is taught by tutors in an extended registration in the morning and through specially dedicated ‘focus days’ often involving outside agencies and partners.
In addition, all students are encouraged to undertake at least one performing arts subject (drama, music, dance, performing arts) to reflect the specialist nature of the school and can select from a number of other GCSE and GNVQ qualifications including:
A further opportunity is provided to follow a work-related curriculum. This is available to some students where appropriate, leading to National Vocational Qualifications. These courses are on offer at both the local College of Further Education and in the workplace.
Homework is regarded as an essential part of the curriculum and all students are expected to carry out homework assignments. The nature, length and complexity of tasks will vary according to the age and ability of the student.
Homework is seen as a particular example of the school and parents co-operating to provide the very best for each student. We hope that parents will become involved with their child’s homework, perhaps by checking work, advising on how to solve difficulties or helping with research. Each student is issued at the start of the year with a personal planner which he/she is expected to use. We encourage parents to check this planner on a daily basis as it provides a means of identifying issues at an early stage. Good study habits are a vital part of success in both SATs and GCSE examinations.
The school has developed a system of monitoring the progress of students throughout their school life. Each student’s progress is fully assessed throughout the year in terms of internal assessments and formal examinations. Progress Reports are issued to parents for their information and comments, and a full Academic Report is issued annually.
Parents are invited to the school to discuss their child’s progress with the staff at intervals during the year. A calendar of dates is issued to each student at the beginning of the year, which will include information to parents of all the dates when reports detailing the progress of their child can be expected.
Special Educational Needs
The school recognises that many students have educational ‘need’ at some stage of their schooling. It may be the requirement of support with a learning difficulty, or advice on organising their work to fit homework in with their domestic or social life, whilst for others, there will be a need to extend their horizons because they have specific abilities.
Students with special academic needs are given support in the classroom, so enhancing their understanding of classwork and stimulating progress in basic subject skills. Extra support is given, particularly in English and Mathematics and, where necessary, children are given help with reading, writing and basic arithmetic. Help is also given to those children of high ability to encourage them to reach their full potential. Progress is monitored closely by the Coordinator for Special Needs.
The school has an excellent reputation for special needs; the staff readily identify potential difficulties, diagnose problems and suggest strategies for help. Practical help and advice is always available from experienced and caring staff. The staff and students at The Avon Valley School work with one another. Students who have a statement of special needs have 1-1 support through the academic monitoring scheme. Students meet weekly with their mentor to discuss academic progress, homework, coursework and the organisation of work and meeting deadlines.
The newly constructed buildings will have built-in facilities allowing disabled students, staff, parents and visitors alike, easier access onto the school site.
Gifted and Talented Programme
We take the development of individual gifts and talents very seriously at Avon Valley . All students are encouraged to strive for excellence in every aspect of their work, but we also support any areas of particular strength. Our Gifted and Talented Programme enables students to participate in a range of workshops, masterclasses, extra tuition and mentoring for their particular gift or talent. We also support students through the process of applying to the Warwick University Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth.
Careers Education and Guidance
The Careers department is responsible for ensuring the provision of opportunities for young people to acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to enable them to manage their career or ‘path through life’.
This involves providing students with access to high quality and up to date careers information through the school’s careers library. In addition, the school has a partnership agreement with Connexions, which provides a careers adviser who regularly visits the school for a variety of purposes. This includes the provision of one-to-one guidance interviews to all Key Stage 4 students regarding Post-16 options, which parents are invited to attend, and teaching Year 9 students as they transfer from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4, in preparation for GCSE study.
All students from Year 9 onwards receive careers guidance during their Life Learning lessons and in Year 10 are placed in local industry for two weeks’ work experience
Citizenship gives students the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in society at local, national and international levels. It helps them to become informed, thoughtful and responsible citizens who are aware of their duties and rights. It promotes their spiritual, moral, social and cultural developments making them more self confident and responsible both in and beyond the classroom.