Teaching and Learning
At Hamstead Hall Academy, we have a deep commitment to maximise our students’ potential. At the heart of this is a relentless focus on teaching and learning. We are all learners and as such, we encourage all children and adults to develop knowledge and expertise. It is our aim to ensure that all students enjoy their education, achieve through it and participate in a variety of stimulating learning activities and opportunities.
“To further develop a broad and balanced curriculum which supports and challenges
our students to enable them to succeed and reach their full potential. It aims to be
varied, innovative and exciting and fully prepare students for life in the 21st century.
It will engage our students through excellent teaching to raise standards and
The Curriculum for Key Stage 3
Students study all National Curriculum subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, Art, Computing, Drama, French, Geography, History, Physical Education, Music, Religious Education and Technology. Students are placed in sets based on ability in most subject areas but these are regularly reviewed to allow for movement between sets. In Year 7 students also follow the ‘ROCIT’ curriculum at different points within the year which encompasses curriculum areas such as Religious Education, Geography and History. This skills based learning is designed to emphasise the acquisition of generic skills through cross-curricular projects. Further information on subject content is available on the Academy website in the Curriculum information section.
The Curriculum for Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4 students study a common core of subjects including English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, Religious Education and Citizenship. Students are supported through information, advice and guidance to follow the Learning Pathway of their choice. This enables students to choose from a wide range of subjects the courses they wish to study alongside the core subjects. The curriculum is differentiated and tailored to meet the needs of individual students. It caters for all students covering both vocational and traditional GCSE subjects.
All subjects lead to GCSE or Vocational qualifications. A work related learning programme includes work experience and careers guidance for all students. For students that are not able to access GCSE courses we run a foundation learning programme that develops key skills such as literacy, numeracy, ICT, functional skills, Personal Social Development and Work Skills to prepare students for independent living. Students complete entry level qualifications in these subjects.
To ensure every child receives their entitlement of two hours of Physical Education every week at Key Stage 4, students are expected to stay at the Academy until 4.00 pm one evening per week. Students achieve very highly at Key Stage 4 with results that are well above the national averages. Our success is based on high quality teaching, excellent resources, a secure grounding in Key Stage 3 and high aspirations of the teachers, students and parents/carers.
Subjects taught at KS4
(All subjects listed are taken at GCSE unless otherwise stated)
Further information on subject content is available on the Academy website in the Curriculum information section under the “Year 9 Pathways’ Section.
Physical Education All students receive a minimum of two hours of Physical Education per week. The students follow a broad and balanced curriculum which involves the use of the sports hall, gymnasiums, fitness centre, astro-turf pitch and playing fields.
Religious Education Although Religious Education is an important part of the National Curriculum, parents/carers are entitled to withdraw their children on the ground of conscience after consultation with the Principal. Students who are withdrawn from Religious Education are given additional time for reading.
Students with SEN
Teaching Assistants provide support to SEN students across the curriculum and where possible, students with SEN are integrated into mainstream lessons with the support
of Teaching Assistants. Where appropriate SEN students are given additional time and
support with English and Maths and access to curriculum that has been designed to develop
life skills. Ofsted reported in 2016, “Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs
receive exceptionally high-quality support through the resource base. Pupils are provided
with a timetable tailored to their individual needs which provides the opportunity to improve
their basic skills and to gain a range of awards.” – Ofsted 2016
Reporting to Parents/Carers
Parents/carers receive information about the academic progress of their child every term. This data and progress information is used by staff to track the achievement of students throughout the year. There is one formal opportunity each year to discuss your child’s progress at Parents/Carers Evening. We also encourage regular communication between home and the Academy throughout the year.
The Curriculum for Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form)
At the end of Key Stage 4 the majority of our students stay on to continue their studies in our Aspirations Sixth Form Centre. We offer a wide range of courses that include traditional A Levels as well as Applied A Levels. We also deliver a level 2 Apprenticeship Progression programme that includes vocational, work based learning to complement the courses completed at Hamstead Hall. There are a wealth of extra-curricular activities including work or university placement opportunities through our strong links with businesses and universities that students are encouraged to take advantage of. In 2016, OFSTED stated,
“Sixth form learners benefit from a highly effective 16 to 19 study programme which includes a rich variety of activities to enrich their learning.”
We offer the sensitive support of an academy combined with the independence of a college. The induction programme will help to make Hamstead Hall a welcoming Sixth Form for the students and prepare them for life in the Sixth Form. The success of the Sixth Form Centre is due to the hard work and high aspirations of students and staff. There is a fully integrated information, advice and guidance process that supports students to achieve in their subjects, develop personally and make the right choices for life beyond the Sixth Form. All students will have a personal tutor throughout their time in the Sixth Form offering personalised support and guidance. The majority of our students have secured their desired university places including places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
It is our experience that students who are conscientious about homework achieve and make the most progress. It encourages the self-discipline essential for learning and extends the time available for study. Parents/carers are asked to check and sign their child’s planner to confirm homework is being completed. Not all homework is written; students are also expected to read and research topics, as well as prepare work for lessons. Students are provided with a homework timetable to help them and their parents/carers to manage their workload. Parents/carers can access homework via the Academy website and the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment).
Personal, Social and Health Education/Citizenship Students across the Academy receive 6 full days of PSHE each year. This is timetabled for one day each half term and students are taught in mixed ability groups in accordance with QCA recommendations. There are also additional Citizenship lessons at Key Stage Four. Although Citizenship themes are covered in the normal curriculum we encourage our students to see Citizenship as more than a subject to be studied. Our students have taken leading roles in organising charitable events and activities to support local, national and international initiatives. We have a whole school commitment to support a school we built in the Gambia that our students raise money for. They have visited Australia, India, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, Gambia and Ethiopia on Citizenship related projects and engage in regular work to support younger students at local primary and special schools.
Our Curriculum Information is available as a PDF below.