At Phoenix Academy we believe that in order for our students to lead a happy and successful life they not only need strong academic results but also to have developed key ‘life skills’ that will help them get on in the workplace.
We define ‘life skills’ as confidence, articulacy, social skills and team work. The experiences that enable young people to develop these skills are the bread and butter of the private school system but are sorely lacking from many state schools. In order to address this imbalance and to ensure that our students can stand shoulder to shoulder with a student from a private school and compete on an equal footing we have designed a co-curricular programme.
Our co-curricular programme consists of 4 strands. These strands are:
- Adventure Learning – this is a graduated outdoor learning programme spanning Y7 through to Y12. This includes the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
- The Phoenix extended day – this is a compulsory after-school programme.
- Drop Down days – these are days where the normal timetable is suspended and students spend more time intensively studying a curriculum area or developing a particular life skill.
- Debating & Public speaking - This is a co-ordinated programme of debating and public-speaking for all year groups.
It is our ambition that these experiences are not just for the few but form part of the normal school experience for every single one of our students. In order that we can track participation and guarantee uptake we report the attendance figures and pupil breakdown for each strand termly to the Local Governing Body through the Executive Headteacher’s report.
It is our aim that by 2020 every single student at Phoenix experiences a minimum of 2 of the above 4 strands every academic year.
All students at Phoenix will participate in the Phoenix Adventure Learning Programme. This programme will be overseen by the Head of Adventure Learning.
This programme will consist of a series of graduated experiences from Year 7 through to Year 12. The aim of this curriculum is to enable students to experience difficulty, risk and hardship in a managed environment that helps them to learn more about themselves and how they can manage themselves and a team under pressure.
The aim of the programme is also to enable students to connect with the natural world and experience the wonder and power of nature in its raw form.
The Academy will invest in the Duke of Edinburgh Programme as part of this curriculum and all students will begin their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award in Year 9, and have the opportunity to progress to Silver Award in Year 10 and Gold in Year 12.
It is envisaged that by 2020 Phoenix Academy will be leading the way for adventure learning and that all students will have been through the programme.
Extended day - raising aspirations and developing passions
The Phoenix Academy extended day will engage pupils with school and provide them with experiences and opportunities over and above the taught curriculum.
The Phoenix Academy extended day is treated, in every respect, as a central and obligatory part of the week’s timetable for pupils. They are never considered an ‘add on’ to the rest of the timetable and students are not allowed to miss these sessions without advance written notification agreed by the SLT.
The extended day will initially involve Year 7 and Year 8 for 2018/19, and will grow to scale by 2020 so that it involves Y7-Y10. Y11 will use this time for exam preparation.
The extended day will focus on experiences that connect to the Academy vision. The extended day will also be a vehicle to enable the Academy to meet its ambition for all students to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh programme.
The set experiences will be as follows and will operate on a different day for each year group:
- Coding club
- D of E Volunteering
- Debating/ public speaking
- Musical instrument/ ensemble.
In addition to the extended day, pupils will be able to participate in lunch time sport every day.
Whilst there may be an element of choice in the above experiences, all students will take part in one compulsory hour of sport each week as part of the extended day.
Pupils who wish to attend an enrichment outside of school, such as participation in an advanced ballet class, or playing for a local sports league, may be given permission by the Headteacher to do so.
Drop Down Days (Intensives)
One day every half term will be designated as an “Intensive Day”, where in place of lessons on Core and Breadth subjects, pupils participate in activities that enable deeper learning than one-hour lessons enable. Enrichment Days include:
- Days with a Core or Breadth subject-specific focus
- Days with a cross-curricular focus to link two or more Core or Breadth subjects
- Off-site trips and visits
- Activities and / or speakers provided by external organisations that help the school to meet its wider SRE and PSHE obligations
- Project days focussing on skill development or one of the enrichment topics listed at paragraph 36.
Intensives at Key Stage 4 will be scheduled for option block work so that teachers can work with only those pupils who have chosen their subject on elements such as coursework, controlled assessment or extended revision.
Whilst the Academy recognises the importance of the extended day in helping secure the vision, pupils will miss their extended day activity if they are in the after-school detention.
Debating & public speaking
Phoenix Academy recognises the importance of debating and public speaking in helping our students to develop articulacy and to help develop self-confidence.
Phoenix Academy will run after-school debating and public speaking clubs that will operate across multiple year groups.
Phoenix Academy will enter debating and public speaking competitions in order that our students can experience competing on stage.