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Curriculum Statement

The curriculum is the most important tool we have to ensure that our students fulfil their aspirations and are prepared for the next steps they take when they leave school. In order to ensure we achieve this, we split our strategy into 3 parts:

  • Intent
    • What do we want our curriculum to achieve?
  • Implementation
    • How are we going to make sure we achieve it?
  • Impact
    • How do we know we’ve accomplished what we set out to achieve?

What are our curriculum intentions?

(What do we want out curriculum to achieve?)

At Darwen Aldridge Community Academy we believe that students are entitled to a curriculum that is engaging and prepares them for the next stage of their lives.

OUR GOAL is that, by the age of 25, all Aldridge graduates will have experienced an outstanding and enjoyable education and be able to sustain the life of their choice. They will be independent, thriving economically and making a real, positive contribution to their communities.

In order to achieve this, our curriculum:

  • Sequences learning so that learning takes place in an ordered, efficient and effective way.
  • Is compromised of the key pieces of knowledge required to be a successful part of our society. It also provides the opportunity to develop skills and qualities that are vital to this success.
  • Develops vocabulary and literacy so that the entire curriculum is accessible and students develop a love of reading and can be competitive (are employable) throughout their lives.
  • Provides opportunities to develop cultural capital so that learning is brought to life and has a context. Subject time is balanced.
  • Promotes a love of learning so that students develop a thirst for knowledge beyond the classroom.
  • Promotes independent learning so that students take responsibility for their learning and are conscientious about their studies.
  • Maintains breadth for as long as possible. Students have access to arts, technology and PE at all key stages.
  • Has clear pathways from KS3 through KS4 to KS5 that are in line with the 15 industry sectors.
  • Ensures that students become resilient and tolerant through a programme of SMSC, PSHE, BV, RSE. This will enable them to understand their place and function in society and understand local, regional, national and global concepts.
  • Fulfils the 6 entrepreneurial attributes of the Aldridge Foundation. We are committed to developing these as they underpin students’ development. These are; passion, creativity, teamwork, determination, risk-taking and problem-solving.

Our curriculum is split into 3 phases:


At KS3, students study a broad range of subjects over 3 years. In addition to the core of English, maths and science, students are taught history, geography, RS, French, Spanish, art, drama, music, PE, IT and technology. Our English and maths lessons are delivered using a ‘Mastery Model’ which is complemented further with literacy development using the Accelerated Reader scheme. This provides a strong platform on which to choose options for KS4. During Year 9, we work with families to ensure that this options process is rigorous. This is important because we want to set students up for success. History, geography and MFL are at the heart of our curriculum and are taught for 2 hours per week in order to promote the cultural capital that these subjects offer. Technology is taught for 2 hours per week (and computing for a further hour) in years 7 and 8 to help support a foundation in STEM.

Key Stage 3 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9



4 4
Mathematics 4 4 4
Science 3 3 4
Geography 2 2 2
History 2 2 2
Religious Studies 1 1 1
French 1 1 1
Spanish 1 1 1

IT & Computing

1 1



1 1



1 0



0 1


Design & Technology

2 2


Physical Education

2 2


Additional opportunities for drama and music are provided through our extra-curricular offer at KS3.


At KS4, we provide students with the opportunity to personalise their experience and provide a wide suite of options choices from which they can choose. This allows students to concentrate more specifically whilst still maintaining sufficient breadth so as not to limit their experiences. Courses are mainly GCSEs with a small selection of other GCSE equivalent courses to complement these. All students continue to study English, maths and science and, in addition to these, choose 3 further options. As part of our commitment to health and well-being, all students also have PE. All of our KS4 courses lead to courses at KS5.

Key Stage 4 Year 10 Year 11
English 5 5


Science 5 5
Option A 3 3
Option B 3 3
Option C 3 3
Physical Education 1 1


At KS5, specialising is the key. Students are encouraged, following high quality information, advice and guidance, to make decisions about which courses will facilitate the next steps of their journeys. Our successful 6th Form offers a range of level 3 courses that are a mixture of A Levels, Applied General and vocational qualifications.

Key Stage 5 Year 12 Year 13
Option A  5 5
Option B 5 5
Option C 5 5
Option D 5 5
Enrichment 5 5

Structure of the day

We have 5 lessons each day which are 60 minutes long. We believe that this this is the optimum time for high quality learning to take place. It provides more opportunities throughout each week to revisit learning and embed skills.

Each day begins with tutorial time during which a full programme of personal development is delivered. This comprises the statutory elements of PHSE, RSE, British values and citizenship alongside skill development centred around the 6 Aldridge entrepreneurial attributes; Passion, Creativity, Determination, Teamwork, Risk-taking and Problem Solving. All this is designed to support all facets of our students’ development, skills and confidence.


At Darwen Academy we believe that learning continues beyond the classroom. We’ve designed a programme of activities that enhances the learning experience and help students gain skills that are not necessarily taught through the curriculum. Staff and students have worked together to produce the DACA100 – 100 experiences that our students will have the chance to participate in during their time with us. This includes a varied programme of clubs, activities and educational visits. All Year 9 students have the opportunity to begin the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Subject Areas

BITE Creative Arts Design & Technology English Humanities Mathematics MFL Music  Performing Arts Science Sport