At GWA our students’ educational outcomes are a fundamental priority. Our teaching aims to develop confident pupils who achieve excellent results. We provide them with tools to learn and with a high degree of independence, so they are well prepared for future employment and continuing education.
It is student’s qualifications that will get them ‘to the door’ of an employer, apprenticeship provider or university/college admissions tutor. As such, maximising their chances of success at every stage of the journey is our key focus. However, we also understand that personal and enterprise skills are so important in getting students through that door. This is why we underpin much of our curriculum work with a continued focus on – and explicit teaching of – key skills, including a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy.
All students at GWA have their own laptop and we use e-Learning materials to support high quality learning. We are proud of how we have developed the use of Microsoft Teams to best support our classroom practice. Whilst ICT does not drive our curriculum, we embrace its potential to promote communication, literacy and numeracy, and to support our focus on enterprise skills.
Students and parents are able to access home learning information through Microsoft Teams and ICT is used to support teaching and independent learning across our curriculum.
In addition to our broad and balanced curriculum with a strong emphasis on literacy, numeracy and enterprise skills, we understand the benefits of promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students. Religious Education, Physical Education and PSHE, encompassing Careers Education (delivered through our ‘Successful Lives’ programme), are a central part of our curriculum offer.
To help prepare students for life in a rapidly changing society, the curriculum aims to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in key subject areas. Lessons are planned with ‘know/apply/extend’ in mind - to impart knowledge and develop skills and then allow for practical application and extension of this new learning.
The School operates a one-week timetable for all pupils. There are 25 hours teaching time to be spread across each of the different National Curriculum subjects. Each day lessons are organised in 6×50-minute slots. Some subjects are taught in 50-minute slots, such as Mathematics and Modern Foreign Languages. Others are taught in combinations of 50-minute and 100-minute slots, with practical subjects generally preferring the double session of 100 minutes.
In addition to our standard lessons our curriculum also includes a daily ‘reading time’ for all, where the whole school reads for pleasure. Our enrichment programme, which runs daily Monday to Thursday until 4.15pm for all students, broadens and deepens our students’ experiences – developing their ‘cultural capital’. You can see an example of a typical ‘enrichment timetable’ here.
Each of our subject areas follow schemes of learning designed to encourage the development of knowledge, skills and understanding in preparation for life in the 21st Century. Curriculum development is based around the ‘Three I’s’ model: Intent, Implementation and Impact, with teachers constantly reviewing learning though an assessment cycle designed to support tracking of progress and provision of appropriate challenge.
For further information on the curriculum for each subject area, please follow the links below:
& Health Education
Key Stage 3 - Years 7-9
At GWA, we view the five years from year 7 to 11 as a seamless learning experience in most subjects. In years 7-9 all students follow a broad curriculum which focuses on continuity from primary school learning and preparation for GCSE studies.
The overview here illustrates the breakdown of our three-year Key Stage 3 curriculum.
In Year 9, students have a small amount of choice over their curriculum and can opt to undertake courses in Business and in PE Theory to help prepare for GCSE courses. Students following the Separate Science GCSE course also have extra time in year 9 to ensure the content of the course can be covered.
Final choices for GCSE options are made during year 9.
We are always sensitive to the needs and abilities of our cohort and will continue to develop our curriculum model to support and inspire learners so that it evolves with them as they grow into young adults.
Key Stage 4 - Years 10-11
During Year 10 and 11 students follow the following courses:
English, Mathematics, Science (all examined at GCSE) plus PSHE, RE and core PE
GCSE: Art & Design, Art & Design (Textiles), Business Studies, Computing, Dance, Drama, Design & Technology, Food Preparation and Nutrition, French, Spanish, Geography, History, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Philosophy.
OCR National: ICT
ASDAN: Personal and Social Development (for invited learners only)
For more information on the GCSE Options process and choices, please visit the GCSE Options section of the website.
Key Stage 5 - Years 12-13
Our sixth form provides a broad range of A-Level courses, including:
Art & Design (Fine Art), Art & Design (Photography), Art & Design (Textiles), Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computing, Dance, Drama & Theatre, Design & Technology (Product Design), Economics, English Language, English Literature, Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), French, Geography, History, Law, Media Studies, Music, Philosophy & Ethics, Physical Education, Physics, Politics, Sociology and Spanish.
Sixth form students are also strongly encouraged to take part in – or often to lead – our enrichment sessions. This helps to broaden their own curriculum and widen opportunities.
Please see our Sixth Form pages for further details of how to be a part of Swindon’s newest post-16 provision.