Teaching & Learning
At Phoenix we place our disciplinary curriculum at the heart of school life. We know that the implementation of a disciplinary curriculum requires a new definition of teacher effectiveness and new metrics to discuss and improve teacher practice. We can only have a curriculum-led model of school improvement if we have a heavily codified approach to teacher practice. This is central to our model, as it ensures that we have a shared view and language of teacher practice, and that all systems flow from this. The way we train, observe, support and promote teachers is all based on these core beliefs.
We also know that in a disciplinary model we require teachers that are subject experts and can explain difficult content and ideas to their students. We know that before a student achieves a high level of expertise – namely studying at undergraduate level – the best way for them to understand new and difficult ideas and concepts is to have them explained to them.
At Phoenix Academy we have the following definition of expert practice and accept that all staff are on a continuum from novice to expert. It is the organisation’s responsibility to ensure all our teachers move along this continuum every year. Our mantra is a simple one: “Every teacher better every year.” For us, better simply means:
- Being a subject expert – having a deep knowledge of the subject’s rules and structures, and a scholarly approach to deepening and broadening subject knowledge. Knowing how an expert within your subject domain explains their position and presents their findings, and being determined to enable all students to do the same.
- Embracing the emerging science of learning – understanding terms such as interleaving, spacing, dual-coding, retrieval practice, modelling, direct instruction, teacher exposition and reflecting on how this knowledge can shape and improve your effectiveness.
- Not making excuses – firstly, not allowing a child’s background or family circumstances shape your view of their future. Secondly, taking responsibility for your practice.
- Practice makes perfect – knowing that practice makes perfect, and just like an Olympic oarsman might spend 3 weeks focussing on the sharpness of the front end of their stroke, you embrace multiple opportunities to practice the crispness of your lesson routines, or the precision of your language.
Subject allocation 2018/19 onwards – KS3 (Years 7-9)
|Subject||Periods per Week|
|French||2 each week in Y7 for 3 x ½ terms on a carousel with Latin. In Y8 and Y9 students are already studying French or Spanish.|
|Spanish / Latin – Latin to be phased in from Y7.||2 each week - no Spanish in Y7 sept 18.|
|Art||2 (on ½ termly carousel with Music)|
|Music||2 (on ½ termly carousel with Art)|
|Religious Studies & Citizenship||2 (on ½ termly carousel with each other)|
Key Stage Four Curriculum (Years 10 + 11)
Every pupil will take GCSEs in the following subjects:
- English Literature (3 periods each week)
- English Language (3 periods each week)
- Maths (5 periods each week)
- Double Science – two GCSEs (6 periods each week)
- History OR Geography (4 periods each week)
Pupils choose two GCSE options from the following list, for which they will be timetabled 4 periods of lessons each week:
- Triple science
- Computer Science
- Digital Technologies
- Art & Design
- BTEC PE
All pupils study 8 KS4 subjects that lead to a qualification. As with the Key Stage 3 model above, this allows more time to be spent on fewer subjects, allowing a greater degree of success and immersion in the subject, therefore adequately preparing pupils for the rigour of the reformed GCSE and Post-16 subjects.