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Teaching and Learning

An English lesson.Our intention for lessons at King Alfred’s is for them to be teacher-led, interactive and purposeful.

We believe that our teachers are the subject experts, and for this reason we advocate that they generally avoid tasks that are ‘student-led’ as this often encourages students who have extensive prior knowledge to participate but disadvantages those whose general knowledge is not as developed yet, as well as allowing misconceptions to go unnoticed or uncorrected.

Our curriculum is designed to uphold our academy vision of ‘Opportunity for All’. By this we mean that the curriculum includes not only a broad range of subjects from Years 7 to 13, but also a rich variety of additional opportunities to learn and to develop through an enviable programme of extra-curricular activities, trips, visits, personal character development, and academic enrichment which are genuinely inclusive and open to all. At King Alfred’s, no student will ever be excluded from such activities owing to an inability to pay.

More on our Philosophy of Teaching

Teachers endeavour to ask students lots of questions during each lesson to check that they can put their learning into context; that they understand the teacher’s explanation; that they are listening attentively and are responding to others’ contributions in class. We use a range of methods to keep learning interactive in this way including mini whiteboards, ‘hands up’ and ‘half up’ (if they are less confident), ‘turn to your partner’ and ‘cold calling’ (where the teacher asks for answers without any hands up). Learning time is precious and we start every lesson with a subject specific starter so that no time is wasted.

We also strongly believe in the importance of routines as a way of building habits that establish a culture of attentive and respectful behaviour. These routines include how we enter a room; start a lesson; use mini whiteboards; listen attentively; contribute and end lessons. These are shared with students in assemblies and are taught in lessons to enable all students and teachers to make the best possible use of lesson time. As these routines become habits, this frees up any sense of ‘cognitive overload’ that students might experience or anxiety associated with variation that differences in routine can cause.

More on our Curriculum Vision

Our curriculum is designed to support our core principles of Responsibility, Tolerance, Respect, Knowledge, Curiosity and Resilience and is intended to develop a wider cultural awareness through a consideration of texts, resources and ideas drawn from a range of different cultural perspectives which go far beyond the immediate cultural context of King Alfred’s Academy.

Our curriculum is planned around the acquisition of knowledge and skills and learning is sequenced and interleaved to support student progression. This enables everyone to fulfil their potential and improve their life chances, with key concepts being revisited to aid knowledge retention and subject mastery. We have designed our curriculum to develop reading skills, in terms of both wider reading for pleasure and strategies to access academic reading to support knowledge acquisition.