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About Consilium

Consilium Academies is a multi-academy Trust working across the North of England. It has nine academy schools located in Yorkshire, the North West, and the North East. Consilium is dedicated to enriching lives and inspiring ambitions for both students and colleagues.

Curriculum Intent and Model

Our Curriculum Intent

“Inside everyone, there is a rainbow waiting to shine.”

At Armthorpe, we believe every learner is an individual with a unique personality, characteristics and the potential to shine.  Inclusion therefore lies at the heart of everything we do.  Childhood is changing.  Our learners are growing up in a world defined by fast paced technological development living increasingly online, in spaces adults sometimes struggle to understand.  We place great value on preparing our learners to thrive in 21st century Britain, not just academically but socially, emotionally, morally and culturally too.  It has never been more important to equip our students to adapt to and embrace change, develop their resilience and creative thinking skills whilst instilling a real love of learning.  The development of the whole person is imperative to us.  Through a combination of challenge and support, we aim to create a balance that enables our students to flourish academically whilst also learning how to take care of themselves mentally and physically, respect and love (in the wider sense of the word) others and embrace opportunities to enjoy life to the full.  The learning that a child experiences at Armthorpe is therefore a broad and balanced diet that promotes intellectual, moral, creative, emotional and physical development in equal measure through the totality of all the taught and untaught, explicit and implicit values bespoke to our school and community.  It sounds simple and obvious, but fundamentally if our curriculum is not good enough for our own children, then it is not good enough for the children of Armthorpe.   Our curriculum is organised in such a way that provides our students with the opportunity to learn expected behaviours and be successful in their learning.  Our strategic intent is therefore very simple.  We strive to create a curriculum which: 

Provides a diversity of powerful knowledge, which over time, cumulatively builds to provide the cultural literacy that enables students to function in society. 

  • Enables all students to enjoy learning and experience success. 
  • Considers individual needs. 
  • Creates a culture of high expectation and aspiration to raise standards of attainment and progress.  
  • Develops confident and responsible individuals who can make a positive contribution to society and live safely and independently.

Leaders are fully committed to an ambitious and interleaved curriculum that provides all pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.  Much work has taken place over the last 12 months working with colleagues across the trust to align curriculum plans and quality assure coherence, breadth and ambition.  A model of transformational leadership has been used across the trust to empower middle leaders to work beyond their immediate self-interests to identify needed change and create a vision through collaborative influence and inspiration.  Whilst this has been a long and challenging process at times (with healthy professional challenge) ultimately it has resulted in curriculum plans that are ambitious for all.  Learning journeys are aligned to facilitate and essential moderation and collaborative planning to drive standards, yet still fluid enough to facilitate local differences to engage students meaningful learning.  For example, case studies in geography discuss urban sprawl around our area and flooding of the River Don.



Links to the National Curriculum

Subject specific educational research (such as York University: Best Evidence Science Teaching) and the National Curriculum aims were the starting point for each subject to ensure curriculum journeys are diverse yet ambitious.  In many subjects, to drive ambition for all, curriculum plans surpass the requirements of the National Curriculum (NC).  Subject curricula ‘snakes’ at Armthorpe provide a visual graphic to demonstrate how National Curriculum aims are interleaved throughout the five-year journey.  For example, in English the NC states “a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including in particular whole books, short stories, poems and plays with a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors”.   The English learning journey shows this diversity with: high quality prose, poetry and drama from pre-1914; high quality contemporary prose, poetry and drama; two plays by Shakespeare; seminal world literature; and studying at least two authors in depth each year.  However, concurrently writing expectations are also progressively interleaved to build knowledge.  As an example. transactional writing is visited three times throughout Year 7 in different units and then again in Year 8 using a progressive thematic approach.


Both equality and equity are built into our new curriculum to ensure ambition for all. To ensure equality, all students in KS3 access the same broad and balanced curriculum in terms of curricular and subject content.  For example, in English all students study the same texts, which in Year 7 begins with a Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist.  Despite a reading age of 15 plus, SEND learners still study this text as it is important students are exposed to the wider themes of the novel to support holistic understanding.  Equity is achieved by recognising that progress is maximised when each learner is given learning opportunities appropriate to their current learning needs – well-targeted challenges that may not be the same for all students. This means a flexible approach in terms of time, delivery and resources used.  In essence, equity is about staff knowing individual learners and providing the appropriate level of challenge and support to ensure progress from starting points is equitable.  Expectation and challenge are two areas that we are targeting across the school.  In Key Stage 4, equality is achieved through our options process.  All students have the same entitlement in terms of curriculum choice.  Academic ability is not a barrier to choice of subject.  We have recently added separate science as an option subject to ensure Biology, Chemistry and Physic as subjects in isolation are not just offered to the most able students as part of the core curriculum.  Again, equity is achieved through effective wave one teaching, by ensuring students are taught in a way that means they know and remember more

Curriculum Model

Our Offer

Our curriculum focuses on the development of the whole child and can be broadly split into the four categories: The Academic and Examined curriculum; Growing Up in 21st Century Britain; Student Health and Well-Being; Cultural Capital and Enrichment.

Our daily timetable is split into five 55 minute lessons, 30 minutes reading/intervention and 20 minutes values time.  In KS3, to provide a broad and balanced offer, all students study 13 different subject disciplines.  During the last 18 months, we have moved from a structure of 5 faculty leaders to a flatline middle leadership model of departmental middle leaders.  This means as of September 2022, we now have knowledgeable and passionate subject experts leading subjects across our curriculum.  Subject allocations are split relatively evenly across the three ‘buckets’ with approximately a third of the timetable allocated to each pot (Eng/Maths – 16 hours, EBAC – 18 hours, Open Bucket – 16 hours). 

In KS4, to maximise time for practical subjects, option choice subjects have one double (110 minutes) and one single lesson each week.

All students have a Personal Development Tutor.  In KS3, 30 minutes of each day is dedicated to reading.  A graduated response is implemented to ensure reading is given a high priority.  Reciprocal reading techniques are used to support and develop skills in prediction, clarification, questioning and summarising.  Students with a reading age below SS 85 are supported to develop reading skills and vocabulary through the Lexonik programme.  In KS4, intervention time is used to help students in academic subjects where additional support is required to help them know and remember more.  Intervention groups are reviewed every half term.

Our Values time is used each day to support the delivery of the PSCHRE curriculum.  Assembly and Values themes are interleaved with the school values, British values and the PSE curriculum.  Planning is centralised to ensure discussion covers key topics that are important and prevalent to our school community.  The school is compliant with statutory SRE guidance.

To implement our intended aims, we recognise our curriculum needs to be fluid and continually reviewed.  Our academy is constantly evolving; numbers on roll are increasing each year and we have an ever-changing social demography of students transferring to the school.  As such, our curriculum is designed to allow us to plan learning experiences that can be made bespoke to the context and requirements of our learners.  For example, we are currently investigating a hybrid ‘stage not age’ group in the Year 7 cohort, given the information we have gleaned about the students.  In addition, like every educational institution in the country we are currently making adaptations in light of the pandemic. 

5 Year Learning Journeys

Subject curricular have been designed to ensure that skills and content are sequenced and interleaved throughout the five-year journey.  A spiralled model means learning is progressive and frequently revisited to facilitate retention in the long-term memory that can be retrieved, applied and further developed

Three specific examples are detailed below from Science, French and Art to demonstrate the trust's approach.

The science curriculum is built around 15 big ideas.  The 15 big ideas are sequenced and interleaved, within and across disciplines, so that, over time, students acquire a breadth and depth of substantive and disciplinary knowledge.  Ideas are revisited throughout the five-year curriculum with increasing demand.  For example, the big idea, “The Cellular Basis of Life”, is first taught in Year 7 half-term one, in which students learn the substantive knowledge that living organisms are made of cells which are living and therefore require nutrition.  This big idea is then revisited in Y7 half-term two, with a greater demand, in which students learn that cells are organised into tissues, organs and organ systems, which allow the organism to obtain nutrition required for cells.  This big idea is revisited a further seven times across the five year curriculum with increasing demand.  Disciplinary knowledge is also sequenced and interleaved.  For example, in Year 7 half-term one students learn the definition of accuracy and in Year 7 half-term two, students learn how to assess the accuracy of a set of data.  Accuracy is revisited a further nine times across the five-year curriculum with increasing demand. 

In French, grammar progresses logically and with many opportunities to revisit and use in different contexts across different topics of interest to young people. As we use a spiral curriculum, students will engage with core language and develop it over time. For example, using the verb avoir (to have). In year 7 module 1 students will be introduced to the first and second person singular j’ai (I have) and tu as (you have) to talk about age. In module 2 they build on this by describing people using the third person, il a and elle a (he has and she has). In module 3 they learn to use il y a (there is) and to understand how this is really ‘it there has’. Module 4 sees the full paradigm being presented so they can use nous avons, vous avez, ils ont, elles ont (we have, you all have and they have.) In year 8 module 2 students will use the knowledge of avoir from year 7 to make the perfect past tense so they can say things such as j’ai visité (I visited). Year 8 module 3 also gives students the opportunity to use avoir in transactional situations such as restaurants, using vous-avez ? (do you have?) as a question. The perfect tense is revisited in module 6, literature, and then in year 9 in module 1 where students understand and produce an extended film review and module 5 where students will use the perfect tense alongside others. Students will use the perfect tense more independently in year 9 module 6 where they debate and write about an environmental issue and then across all topic areas in years 10 and 11. Additionally in KS4 students will learn to use the subjunctive of avoir when discussing doubts.

In art, every skill taught in our curriculum is revisited and built upon multiple times throughout the five-year journey.  One example of this is the technical proficiency of painting.  The “Insects” project in Year 7 initially introduces students to colour theory, which is then further developed later in the year in the “Scapes” project when students focus on layering colour and depth. The students then use acrylic paint during their “Food Sculpture” project in Year 8 to re-create the work of Joel Penkman- a photo realistic painter.  In Year 9 the “Natural Forms” builds skills further by concentrating on close up skills and also increasing students’ proficiency of creating layered landscapes during the “Our surroundings” project.  These skills develop further into KS4 through advanced colour theory and painting skills, such as portraiture painting,  in the Year 10 “Fundamentals” project.  Each project has a gradual focus on our students becoming increasingly independent in their use of the formal elements, practical skill and their metacognitive skills. 

Learning journeys and curricular intent for each subject can be found in our Subjects We Offer page.