Curriculum & Subjects

Curriculum Intent

View individual subject curriculum information

At Beacon Academy, whether a student, a member of staff, or a trustee, we will all seek to inspire and believe in one another to achieve our ambitions and succeed in life.

We are ambitious for excellence in all we do and our vision, which although established and sustained, is to provide the best possible education for all our students and to remain an exceptional educational establishment locally, nationally, and globally. We are never complacent.

Our curriculum is rightly ambitious. It is as broad as it is balanced. It has a strong academic core which includes vocational and technical ambitions and wide-ranging choices in key stages four and five. Our curriculum maximises educational opportunities and prepares our students to be socially and economically successful. It is expertly planned and implemented.

Our teachers are subject experts who persistently advance their knowledge. They debate its content and pedagogy to ensure that our students are taught the very best, and in doing so, they aim for our students to love their subject. Increasingly and intentionally, our teachers make links with other subjects to draw on students’ prior knowledge and enable them to understand new content.

Our students, including the most disadvantaged, together with those with SEND, will develop a deep knowledge of the most significant ideas. As a result of this, they will be curious and eager to know more and able to engage in debate about the most pertinent issues locally, nationally and globally. Our students will develop keen interests, a lifelong passion for learning and an impressive, coherent and cumulative understanding of the world.

End Points

At the end of each academic year, Key Stage 3 students have knowledge of all the curriculum elements detailed in the overviews below. In Key Stages 4 and 5 students will have learnt the knowledge detailed in specifications for the subjects they are studying. In addition, they will have learnt our Personal Development Curriculum.

Key Stage 3: Years 7, 8 & 9 Curriculum

Students are divided into two bands and there are approximately 125 students in each.

All students study English, Maths, Science, Geography, History, Computing, Technology, Music, Art, Drama, Dance, PD (Personal Development), Philosophy, Religion and Ethics. Students also study either French or German.

All students have regular PE lessons developing their skills in a number of sports.

Across all year groups in KS3, the Academy uses sets to appropriately allocate students within groups where they learn amongst peers with similar progress and attainment in English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Foreign Languages, Humanities and PE. Beacon Academy is currently undertaking a full review of its Key Stage 3 curriculum, which means some Year 9 curriculum information is currently unavailable and will be updated on our website in due course.

Key Stage 4: Years 10 & 11 Curriculum

In year 9 students make their option choices. During years 10 and 11 all students continue with a core set of subjects: English Literature and English Language, Maths, Science (the majority of students study a combined Science course leading to two GCSEs, the highest attaining scientists will study a separate Science course leading to three GCSEs) and PE (students study either GCSE PE or Sports Studies or Performance Skills). Students also choose History or Geography GCSE and then two GCSEs from French, German, Philosophy (Religion and Ethics), Dance, Drama, Product Design, Computer Science, Music, Art & Design, Art Graphics, Engineering or Health and Social Care.

At KS4 English, Mathematics and Science are taught in sets. The majority of option subjects are not taught in sets.

The curriculum plan shows the number of lessons per subject.

Revising for KS4 examinations, see subject revision guides.

Key Stage 5: Years 12 & 13 Curriculum

Students following a level 3 course normally select the equivalent of three subjects. This can be made up of three A Level subjects, vocational subjects or a combination of vocational awards and A Levels. In some cases students may be advised to study four subjects .

Level 3 courses offered from September 2019 are: Applied Science, Art and Design, Art Graphics, Art Photography, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Criminology, Dance, Digital Media, Drama and Theatre Studies, English Literature, French, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Geography, Geology, German, Government and Politics, Health and Social Care, History, Music, Philosophy and Ethics, Physics, Product Design, Psychology, Sociology and Sport.

GCSE retakes in English and Maths are also available for those students who are yet to achieve a grade 4.

Every subject has 5 hours teaching each week. On rare occasions, for smaller classes, we may only allocate 4 hours. Please see our curriculum plan for further information.

The curriculum at Key Stage 5 is intended to give the opportunity to specialise in specific subjects, or to follow new subjects, to give students more responsibility for the direction of their own learning and to prepare students for success in Higher Education and beyond. For more information about the courses available at sixth form please click here.

  • Art and Design (Photography / Graphics) and Design Technology

    We believe at Beacon Academy that Art is a subject that can help us to understand and give meaning to the world in which we live. Art affects everyone’s lives and as such has great value.

    We encourage our students to aspire to standards of excellence intellectually, practically, and aesthetically through a range of learning experiences. The curriculum we provide is rich in knowledge. Through our curriculum, we aim to provide students with an exciting and challenging experience. We encourage our students to combine practical skills with creative thinking, developing highly valuable and transferrable skills for future careers and life.

    Through our art curriculum, students are taught not only how to use formal elements within their practical artwork but to understand that they are used as powerful communication tools to create a variety of effects.

    Students learn a variety of media, techniques and processes during their studies. In Year 7 students explore Line, Tone, Texture, Form, Colour, Pattern, Shape. They also explore a range of artists such as Van Gough and Hundertwasser. Year 8 students develop their skills and understanding with growing complexity and sophistication, they investigate and explore the theme Cultural Diversity and respond to a range of artists including Rex Ray, Jill Ricci and African art. Year 9 explore a themed title Upside Down and Inside Out where students research a range of artists including Damien Hirst, Sarah Morris and Yayoi Kusama. They develop their skills and techniques by responding to these artists’ works of Art. This then enables students at Key Stage3 to make informed choices and work with increasing independence and confidence into Key Stages 4 and 5 option choices.

    We actively promote:

    · successful independent learners who enjoy learning, understand how to make progress and achieve to their full potential.

    · confident self-managers and team-workers, who are willing to take risks and keep an open-mind about new ideas and techniques from artists.

    · responsible citizens aware of the role they play in society and the importance of art in contributing to society.

    · confident individuals who are able to respond creatively to the work of artists/craftspeople.

    Art and Design KS3

    Art and Design and Photography KS4

    Art Design Photography Graphics KS5

    Design and Technology KS3

    Design and Technology KS4

    Design and Technology KS5

  • Computing and Computer Science

    The Computing Curriculum at Beacon Academy has a number of different aims. It should, for example, equip students with the digital skills and knowledge needed to be confident and proficient users of technology. Students are taught the principles of information and computation and how digital systems work. The course is also designed to provide a foundation for those opting to study Computer Science at GCSE and beyond. Students will be encouraged to develop their digital literacy in order to use information technology and to express themselves and develop their ideas through it. They also learn to be discerning in how they use technology and develop their understanding of the wider ethical issues of computer use. Throughout their Computing studies, students will develop their problem solving and programming skills, to create their own programs, systems and a range of content.

    Computing KS3

    Computer Science KS4

    Computer Science KS5

  • Criminology

    The aim of the curriculum in Criminology at Beacon Academy is to produce young people who have the knowledge and skills to understand the complex and often challenging world of our Criminal Justice System. This understanding intrinsically embeds the ability to make informed judgements about reasons behind the different types of crime that are committed and what strategies are effective in preventing future crimes and thus preventing more lives being ruined. Students are taught to have an appreciation of a variety of real life case studies and they are constantly challenged to discuss and critically evaluate the reasons behind many decisions that are made relating to the Criminal Justice System – this may relate to the aims of punishment or whether a new law should be passed following a campaign by members of the public. We actively encourage our students to see criminology as reflecting events that happen within their own communities and so is inherently relatable to their own lives. Students look at crime from a variety of angles and while developing an understanding of the factual content of the course, the curriculum also aids their skills by encouraging healthy debate about many topics eg should we have the death penalty, thus helping to students to respect the views of others. The curriculum is delivered both inside and outside the classroom- visits have been organised to London conferences and to a local Magistrates Court, to enhance the students’ understanding and appreciation of the subject.

    Criminology teachers come from a variety of disciplines - Psychology, Sociology, the humanities- but from whatever background, teachers are focussed on developing the skills of their students through the curriculum, to become more resilient, independent learners who can succeed in the subject and potentially continue to study criminology at higher education level.

    Criminology KS5

  • Engineering

    The Engineering curriculum gives students a focussed understanding of the ‘world of engineering’, its importance in society and the role that engineer’s play within it. Practical units and theoretical learning equip students with the relevant knowledge to be confident in practical environments. Our students will learn about professional engineering’, allowing them to make informed future choices. Through passion and knowledge Engineering inspires students to be creative, to be able to work both independently and as a team. Like all great engineers, they become problem solvers who experience success through challenge. Engineering aims to empower students to take ownership in their learning by celebrating success and the journey taken to reach it.

    Engineering KS4

  • English

    At Beacon Academy, the English Department are relentless in our focus on surrounding our students with high quality literary texts during their time with us. Everything we do is focused on creating voracious and inquisitive readers by giving our students confidence and the capacity to start their lifelong journeys amongst the branching paths of our global literary heritage. Our teachers are determined advocates for the central position of literature at the heart of a life well lived, and we ensure that this powerful view of the world is something that all our students understand and embrace.

    During Key Stage 3, we organise our years of study into broad thematic collections so that our students can begin to glimpse the interconnectedness of literature and to feel themselves a part of a vast community of writers and readers. In year 7, students study texts connected to childhood, in year 8 there is a common theme of conflict, while in year 9, all texts have a common focus on relationships.

    From year 10 onwards, our students approach their GCSE English Literature texts in chronological order, beginning with Shakespeare’s Macbeth from the early seventeenth century and ending with a recent poem by Simon Armitage, the United Kingdom’s current Poet Laureate. We find that this approach empowers our students to understand the development of literature over time and helps them to envisage themselves as heirs of this great heritage.

    Whilst study in the classroom forms the core of our offer here at Beacon English department, we offer an ambitious programme of wider reading and study to allow all our students to further explore the areas of interest we discuss in class. For all our teachers, a passion for literature is something that extends far beyond the door of the classroom – we believe this should be true for all our students too.

    English KS3

    English Language KS4

    English Literature KS4

    English LIterature KS5

  • Food Technology / Food Preparation and Nutrition

  • French

    Students will acquire a systematic knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, structure and phonetics in order to develop skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing required for communication. The creative MFL curriculum is sequenced so that new knowledge is founded upon old knowledge building over time. Powerful knowledge takes all students beyond their own experience. Memorisation and the mastery of grammar enable all students to access powerful knowledge. Students will be able to compare the new language with their mother tongue and students will understand the most significant parts of the target language’s culture, history and literature.

    French KS3

    French KS4

    French KS5

  • Geography and Geology

    We aim to create the very best geographers. We challenge students to think, act and speak like those working in the field would. We do this through high quality teaching which ensures students understand geographical principles and can apply them in a variety of familiar and unfamiliar contexts form around the world. We teach content in its totality and constantly vary topics between human and physical geography to provide a varied and balanced appreciation of the ideas, skills and topics in this discipline.

    Our curriculum goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, for whilst we want students to achieve the very best examination results possible, being an expert geographer goes beyond what is examinable. In Key Stage 4, students participate in fieldwork in Eastbourne and Birling Gap to apply the skills and knowledge beyond the classroom. Sixth form geographers undertake a residential Dorset fieldtrip to gain the confidence to undertake their own individual investigation entirely on a topic of their choice. Our curriculum provides opportunities for collaborative working as well as independent learning. Students are explicitly taught the skill, knowledge and the vocabulary needed to effectively explain and understand geographical issues in the past, present and future.

    We have a knowledge rich curriculum. We believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills; both are entwined. As a department we define the powerful knowledge our students need and help them recall it by using knowledge organisers and by regular assessment for learning. In particular, we use diagnostic quizzes and plenary tasks. We build the cultural capital of our students by helping them to understand the contemporary world around them. Students learn about how political decisions can cause change in the world around them. They learn about the powerful economic forces that are bringing about changes that will affect their future. Students learn about how countries are at different stages of development and how the lives of people living there are very vary enormously. We also focus on understanding environmental issues, which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on our young people’s lives. As a powerful bridging subject, Geography has strong cross curricular links to many of the subjects students will study in school.

    Geography KS3

    Geography KS4

    Geography KS5

    Geology KS5

  • German

    Students will acquire a systematic knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, structure and phonetics in order to develop skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing required for communication. The creative MFL curriculum is sequenced so that new knowledge is founded upon old knowledge building over time. Powerful knowledge takes all students beyond their own experience. Memorisation and the mastery of grammar enable all students to access powerful knowledge. Students will be able to compare the new language with their mother tongue and students will understand the most significant parts of the target language’s culture, history and literature.

    German KS3

    German KS4

    German KS5

  • Health and Social Care

    The curriculum intent is currently being updated and will be available to view soon.

    Health and Social Care KS4

    Health and Social Care KS5

  • History

    The Beacon History department is ambitious for excellence in all we do. We are never complacent and continuously debate the rationale for our curriculum. The inclusion and omission of topics from a history curriculum is indicative of our department’s priorities for what students need to know about the world. This requires careful consideration.

    As such, our curriculum is diverse and ambitious. It is broad, spanning from the Romans in Year 7 to decolonisation and the Cold War in year 9. It also seeks to balance the diverse nature of human achievement and devastation. Whilst having a broadly Anglo-centric focus the aim of the Key Stage 3 curriculum is to make students more critically aware of the political, social, and religious changes that have happened over the past thousand years. The recent reforms to the curriculum have added a string of political history from government in the Saxon era to the creation of the role of the first Prime Minister during the Georgian period. There have also been additions to increase the diversity of the course in terms of race and gender. History is uniquely placed in answering students’ questions about the world. It is important that we teach students about strong, ground-breaking figures and the impact that just one person can have on a nation. The recurrent themes throughout the history curriculum revolve around the power of the monarchy and parliament through time; the role of religion in society; growth and decline of empire; how political ideology can cause conflict and how people have fought for their rights throughout history. Our history curriculum is designed to teach students how to have healthy debates about important issues and respect each other’s points of view.

    Our teachers within the department are subject experts who persistently advance their knowledge. Our teachers should see themselves as working historians, consistently researching, and learning more about the topics we teach. It is important that students see this quality in their teachers and that this is discussed with students. They debate the relevance of the curriculum and make changes where necessary to ensure that the content remains relevant and reflective of the community and country in which we teach. The role of the teacher is to facilitate students being able to place new content into the course, making links across time and subjects to create a broad understanding of the world around them.

    Our students, including the most disadvantaged, together with those with SEND, will develop a deep knowledge of the broad and diverse curriculum on offer. As a result of this, they will be eager to learn more, and able to debate different historical questions whilst still respecting the views and beliefs of those around them. The aim of the department is to ensure history students develop a love of learning that carries them through their live

    History KS3

    History KS4

    History KS5

  • Mathematics

    Our Maths curriculum enables students to confidently think and reason mathematically in order to solve a wide range of problems. Students will realise that Mathematics is essential in everyday life and critical to Science, Technology and Engineering, and necessary for financial literacy. Students should be able to successfully apply mathematical knowledge and skills in practical and real-world situations. We also endeavour to create a sense of enjoyment for the subject and to feel the satisfaction of doing maths for the sole purpose of doing maths; thereby encouraging students to continue studying mathematics at A-Level and beyond.

    Maths KS3

    Maths (Foundation and Higher) KS4

    Mathematics KS5

  • Performing Arts (Music, Dance and Drama)

    Students in Dance will develop a deep knowledge of the importance of dance through an understanding of its historical and cultural significance. Students will learn creative and transferable skills needed to develop the confidence needed to perform, choreograph and critically appreciate the work of professional dance practitioners and their own

    Students in Drama will develop a deep knowledge of the key practitioners and of the historical, political, and sociological context necessary to foster a love of drama and theatre. This will instil within students the confidence to take part in and understand the importance of performance whether it is acting or design. Drama at Beacon considers the history of theatre to be of great importance. We proudly study a range of plays dating back to Ancient Greece right through to modern disciplines of style and structure. Students will approach the world of drama as performer, director, and designer in a rigorous practical, hands-on way, which is carefully scaffolded to embed and deepen their theoretical and contextual understanding of the ways in which drama works.

    Our Music curriculum instils in students a lifelong love, appreciation and understanding of music, with the view that everyone can be a musician. Music inspires and defines individuals, communities and whole nations; it is vital that our students understand its power and ability to shape and effect the worlds both within and without us. Music at Beacon considers half a millennium of musical innovation, disruption, and exquisite refinement; we proudly listen to a wealth of different genres and seek to understand both the music and the context in which it was written. Students will approach the musical world and canon in a rigorously practical, hands-on way, which is carefully scaffolded to embed and deepen their theoretical and contextual understanding of the ways in which music works.

    Performing Arts KS3

    Dance KS4

    Drama KS4

    Music KS4

    Performing Arts KS4

    Drama KS5

    Music KS5

  • Personal Development

    Through the study of Personal Development, we are ambitious that our students will develop skills and an understanding of the world that will enable them to remain healthy, safe and prepared for life and work in modern Britain. We aim for students to learn about a wide range of topics through their PSCHE lessons and bespoke tutor and assembly programme that is designed to directly meet the needs of our students.

    As a result of our broad and balanced curriculum, students will develop a wide range of enriching skills including resilience, self-esteem, empathy and respect. Learning will cover all areas of the Personal Development curriculum, including health and wellbeing, relationships and sex, and living in the wider world (including economic wellbeing and aspects of careers education). Our curriculum maximises educational opportunities and prepares our students to be socially and economically successful.

    Our students, including the most disadvantaged, together with those with SEND, will develop a deep knowledge of the most significant ideas. As a result of this, they will be curious and eager to know more and able to engage in debate about the most pertinent issues locally, nationally and globally. Our students will develop keen interests, a lifelong passion for learning and an impressive, coherent and cumulative understanding of the world.

    PD KS3

    At KS4, student’s understanding of how to keep themselves and others safe in the 21st Century is continued through the study of Relationships and Sex Education. This is delivered through a combination of drop down mornings, assemblies and tutor time resources and focuses on the following topics: body image and self-identity, healthy relationships, readiness for intimacy, , how to check for testicular and breast cancer, contraception and what to do if this fails.

    Alongside the study of RSE, students also have the opportunity to learn more about the world around them on a local, national and global scale; develop an awareness of finances (including mortgages and loans), how to remain safe (including DATE) and further develop SMSC and an understanding for the Modern British Values

    Information on our Personal Development curriculum at Key Stage 5 is being updated and will be available soon.

  • Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

    Our curriculum aims to engage our students with some of the most influential ideas in the history of the world. We will examine a wide range of thinkers and schools of thought from the Athenian Academy to the contemporary university. Our students will explore the foundational beliefs of the world’s largest religions, focusing on the historical development of people’s beliefs and the critical theology that exists alongside orthodox views. Students will also engage in current ethical issues in the modern world, as we link our content with local, national, and international current affairs. Our aim, as a department, is to equip our students with the contextual knowledge to ask deep questions and to give them the theoretical framework for form their own answers to the most persistent, complex, and important question about life.

    Philosophy Religion Ethics KS3

    Religious Studies KS4

    Religious Studies KS5

  • Physical Education and Sport Science

    It is the aim of the Physical Education “PE” Department to deliver a broad and inclusive sporting curriculum that will empower our students with the knowledge and physical wellbeing to become well rounded, confident and resilient members of society. It is our intent that the young people under our care strive to be the best they can be in sport and physical activity and in addition, we aspire to pass on the psychological, cultural and physiological benefits of a lifelong engagement in sport and physical activity.

    PE KS3

    Physical Education KS4

    Sport Science KS4

    Sport and Physical Activity KS5

  • Politics

    Sixth form students of this course at Beacon will learn about the ideas processes and institutions of politics in the UK and in the US. The changing nature of national and international politics motivates students to keep up to date with current affairs, as debate around these topics forms an important part of the course. This flexibility in the curriculum allows students to see political theory in action. Aspects of current events are chosen as evidence and examples to illustrate analytical points based on their relevance and ability to motivate and intrigue Beacon students. The curriculum has been designed to allow students to understand the ways in which people can contribute to and participate in politics to influence decisions and become active citizens. Beacon Politics students evaluate the strengths and limitations of national and international democracy through structural cultural and rational comparative theory sections of the course. These comparisons improve students’ engagement in the wider political world and empower them to improve the existing system. The study of different political ideologies underpins the curriculum and gives additional context and a more complex understanding of current affairs and political history. The optional political thought unit on different branches of feminism provides valuable additional perspectives, explaining how different thinkers understand the nature of the state, society human nature and the economy. In summary, the Beacon Politics A Level curriculum is intended to develop a fascination with the changing nature of contemporary politics and the relationships between political ideas institutions and processes.

    Politics KS5

  • Psychology

    The principle aim of the Psychology curriculum at Beacon is to produce young people who have a passion for understanding of the causes of human behaviour in all its rich diversity and the impact of this on themselves and wider society. Although we are dedicated to supporting our students to achieve the best exam results possible, the curriculum extends far beyond this. Students will develop skill of thinking critically and analytically about familiar and unfamiliar situations. For example, their study of memory will help them know more about issues around cognitive decline and dementia. Lessons are rooted in the scientific approach, where students are encouraged to reach logical conclusions which are founded on scientific evidence. They will explore topics relating to gender bias. For example, how sexism is often promoted within the research process, and cultural bias, gaining an understanding of how ethnocentrism can create barriers to developing a true understanding of behaviour.

    There is a central focus of applying of psychology in the real world, for example, in 2020, discussing the implications of understanding human reactions to the coronavirus pandemic. Topics within the A Level curriculum have been chosen to match the interests and skill base of our students-for example, in Paper 3 the topic of Forensic Psychology was chosen a few years ago to replace ‘Aggression’, as many students have a deep fascination with understanding the causes of crime in our society. Biological topics, for example explanations for Schizophrenia, another optional topic, sit well with students who also study A level biology.

    Our teachers are highly qualified subject experts with knowledge of schema, cognitive load and pedagogical research who persistently strive to advance their knowledge. They debate its content and pedagogy to ensure that our students are taught the very best, and in doing so, they aim for our students to love their subject. Increasingly and intentionally, our teachers make links with other subjects to draw on students’ prior knowledge and enable them to understand new content. Psychology teachers actively engage with staff from other departments where cross curricular links can strength understanding. For example, with Biology, when studying the structure and function of the brain and the CNS, with Sport when looking at theories of learning and with maths when teaching inferential statistics.

    Our students often select both GCSE and A Level Psychology because this is delivered to them as a new, exciting area of study that has immediate relevance to their everyday lives. Students are taught to have a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods and gain competence and confidence in maths and problem solving. Students will develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society. We welcome SEND students and we consistently have students with SEND who obtain good outcomes.

    As a result of this, Psychology students will be curious and eager to know more and able to engage in debate about the most pertinent issues locally, nationally and globally. Our students will develop keen interests, a lifelong passion for learning and an impressive, coherent and cumulative understanding of the world.

    Psychology KS4

    Psychology KS5

  • Science

    In Science, our curriculum equips all our students whatever their background, aspirations and starting points with the scientific knowledge, understanding and skills to appreciate the value of science and its developmental role in an increasingly scientific and technological world. Furthermore, we also awaken interest and a healthy curiosity about our universe and to promote respect for it, with the intent of generating engagement and inquisitiveness. Ultimately, we strive to enthuse the next generation with the world and wonder of science, inspiring many to pursue the study of science beyond GCSE level. Our aim is that by preparing all students, by giving them the tools to understand and the confidence needed to make informed opinions and decisions on scientific advances today, in their adult lives they can participate as responsible citizens, shaping our future society.

    Science KS3

    Combined Science KS4

    Biology KS4

    Chemistry KS4

    Physics KS4

    Combined Science Practical Guide KS4

    Triple Science required practical summary KS4

    Biology KS5

    Chemistry KS5

    Physics KS5

    Applied Science KS5

  • Sociology

    Students will be motivated and inspired to learn about a variety of sociological perspectives, and will apply these to their knowledge of social, political, and legal changes and their implication on society in local and global contexts. This ensures that students are questioning the world around them, while developing tolerance and respect for others.

    Students will work to have a full knowledge and understanding of local and global processes, places and peoples. This ensures a well-rounded citizen, with appreciation of the dynamic human and natural environments they are a part of and promotes respect for their place in the world.

    Sociology KS4

    Sociology KS5

Curriculum Policy

If you have any questions or would like further information about our curriculum, please contact Ms James, Assistant Headteacher - Curriculum and Assessment