Curriculum: overview

An overview of our Intent, Implementation and Impact

Curriculum Intent

At Trentham Academy, our core values of respect, integrity, optimism and responsibility are at the heart of everything we do. Our motto of Aspire, Endeavour and Achieve (AEA) where students dream big, work hard and persevere to be successful, impacts all aspects of academy life.

We have relentlessly high expectations and our intention is to ensure students make outstanding progress and that the curriculum removes any potential barriers to learning.

We want our students to leave with knowledge and skills which will not only create excellent life opportunities but will also prepare them exceptionally well for life beyond the academy.

At Trentham Academy, students will:

  • experience a deep, broad and knowledge rich curriculum;
  • be literate and numerate and develop a love of reading and Maths;
  • have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement;
  • build their character;
  • develop their cultural, social, moral, mental and physical development;
  • secure foundations for progression.

Students experience a deep, broad and knowledge rich curriculum

Our academy AEA curriculum helps students to achieve high standards and make excellent progress. At KS3, the curriculum is broad and students learn essential knowledge built around a ‘learning journey’ to ensure they have a deep understanding across a range of subjects. We have an ambitious curriculum offering which is mapped to the National Curriculum. There are many opportunities built into lessons to secure the need to recall and retrieve previous learning so that knowledge is fully embedded.

Many students have a clear idea of the subjects for which they are passionate and know where they are more likely to be successful by the start of year 9. By engaging students as partners in their learning, we help them build resilience and independence, enabling them to achieve their aspirations. We therefore ask students to spend more time, developing deeper knowledge and skills on their chosen areas of interest in Year 9.

At KS4, the broad range of academic and vocational courses are carefully planned to ensure that content is thoroughly revisited and this undoubtedly prepares students for external examinations at the end of the course leading to greater student outcomes for all learners.

Students will be literate and numerate

The development of student language, vocabulary and oracy is at the forefront of our curriculum as we understand how vital it is for our students to build confidence in communication skills not only for their time at the Academy but also to prepare them for working life. We ensure students have opportunities in all subjects to discuss, challenge and build on other points of view and to develop their formality of language to ensure they can have the confidence to speak to different audiences. Numeracy skills are embedded across the curriculum. Through the close relationships we have with our feeder Primary schools, students who arrive with below expected maths and literacy skills are offered a personalised curriculum to ensure they catch up with their peers and make age related progress. The academy ensures that students are literate and numerate enabling them to flourish, thrive and access the next stage of their education, employment or training.

Students will have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement

The Academy is inclusive and ambitious for all. We have high expectations of all students and provide opportunity for students to learn what is expected of them morally. Our behaviour policy ensures that students learn that actions have consequences and they can accept and appreciate differences between people.

Whilst students gain knowledge through KS3 and KS4, we also want them to become learners who are enquiring, enthusiastic, engaged and mannerly. Students will develop high expectations of themselves and embed our key values at the academy: Respect, Integrity, Optimism and Responsibility.

Students will build their character

At the Academy, we are totally committed to improving the life chances and aspirations of students. We ensure students have access to a wider curriculum which provides numerous opportunities in sport, robotics and programming, performing (Drama, Choir and Dance), world of work, volunteering and DofE / outdoor pursuits, Film and Art club. Where students can continue to experience and enjoy subjects even if they no longer study them.  An extensive enrichment programme has the intent to support the development of students into well rounded citizens including our bespoke Trentham Academy Doctorate, which we actively encourage students to be a part of.

Students will develop their cultural, moral, social, mental and physical development

At Trentham Academy, we pride ourselves on delivering a curriculum which includes SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) embedded within the curriculum. PSHE, including SMSC, is championed at the Academy in order to develop students as a whole, not just academically, to ensure that they are fully prepared for life in modern Britain. The PSHE curriculum is delivered through a combination of Aspire 4 Life days (Social, Personal and Relationship, Knowledge) where external and internal delivery ensures that learning is linked to the real world and experiences, and embedded lessons with their form tutors. Students are encouraged to take part in a range of sporting, cultural and charitable activities. Links with local and national businesses enrich the curriculum offer and help to contextualise learning.

Students will secure foundations for progression

It is our intention at the Academy to ensure students have secure foundations for progression into further education and apprenticeships. From Year 7, students receive careers information with a clear focus on the Gatsby benchmarks and this is supported through our Aspire 4 Life curriculum and exposure through noticeboards and subject displays in addition to being weaved through Schemes of Work across all year groups and curriculum areas. This has been externally validated as the Academy has achieved the Quality in Careers Standards Mark.

Curriculum Implementation

The Academy believes that a carefully planned and structured curriculum is the foundation upon which excellent learning and development is built. The curriculum is designed and implemented in such a way that it builds on prior knowledge and prepares students for the next stage in their education. We are pioneers of Apple technology, driving forward student engagement through the use of iPad technology in lessons. This ensures that lessons are engaging and suitably differentiated so that all students make progress.

Development of language and building knowledge are integral to curriculum planning. Subject Leaders, who are experts in their subjects, carefully construct a curriculum that promotes a deep understanding of a wide range of topics. Teachers plan learning that allows students to embed and recall knowledge through techniques such as interleaving of topics and spaced practice. This builds firm foundations for progression to the next level and exam success.


At KS3 the curriculum is designed around a topic approach, within each subject, building on the foundations of the Key Stage 2 curriculum. This encourages students to focus on deeper learning and to ensure real understanding of key concepts. Each topic has a planned learning journey which is spiralled to ensure recall opportunities are frequent, with clear assessment points that build knowledge and understanding and enable staff to address and close gaps quickly and adapt the curriculum accordingly. Our curriculum is as ambitious as the National Curriculum and content is carefully mapped to ensure that students have covered all areas. The Academy has chosen to widen its creative curriculum to ensure all students have an opportunity to enjoy the widest experiences available.

Year 9

Our curriculum is designed so that students can master the knowledge and skills across a range of subjects as well as offer more flexibility, so that teachers can tailor their teaching to students’ specific needs and aspirations. The curriculum model allows students to choose 4 subjects in addition to the core Maths, English, Science, PE, RE and PSHE. The Academy has a clear ambition and intent on supporting the drive for Ebacc with a further desire to grow MFL. With this focus in Year 8, students choose their 4 subjects to study in depth in Year 9 alongside the core subjects. One of these must be a Humanities subject and, for the majority of students, one will be a modern foreign language. In year 9, students are able to move between subjects within preference blocks thereby ensuring that they are satisfied with their preferences at the start of KS4. This allows us to broaden our curriculum offer at Key Stage 4 and ensure students have a wider choice of creative subjects to support their preferred pathway.   Our curriculum is designed around the flexibility that core subjects can start Key Stage 4 when most appropriate; for example, in Maths this is usually around Easter but is governed around the student’s ability and progress.


Preference choices are structured in such a way to allow students the opportunity to study the Ebacc. Our preferences are designed to stretch and challenge students and create pathways for further learning and experiences post 16. Students are offered a mixture of vocational and academic subjects from all areas of the curriculum. Within the preference subjects, the Academy offers a range of different accreditation routes including academic and vocational options. This gives every student a broad and balanced curriculum, but still offers a flexibility to maximise the outcomes achieved by each individual. This model also maintains the widest possible choice for progression routes Post 16 as every student will have a greater range of subjects on which to choose future opportunities for education and training.

The detailed structure of our curriculum can be seen on the  Curriculum Plan page.

Curriculum Impact

At Trentham Academy, our curriculum will:

  • ensure that the sequence of learning (learning journey) builds on previous knowledge whilst supporting future progression.
  • lead to qualifications that are of worth for employers and for entry to further and higher education.
  • enable all students to fulfil their potential.
  • meet the needs of students of all abilities at the Academy.
  • allow students to acquire an appreciation and respect for their own and other cultures.
  • prepare students to make informed choices at the end of KS3, KS4 and beyond.
  • help students develop lively, enquiring minds and the ability to question and argue rationally.
  • Create opportunities to be involved in a wide range of activities, visits and trips in our informal curriculum so as to extend their learning beyond the classroom or Key Stage.


When students join Trentham Academy they complete a MidYIS assessment. This assessment, along with their KS2 SATs results, provides a baseline from which their progress is measured.

In Years 7 and 8, students are given a grade in each subject, 3 times a year, which indicates whether they are making expected progress (O), are exceeding what is expected (A) or are working towards what is expected (T). The grade is calculated from a combination of summative assessments scores and teacher assessment. 

In Year 9, students will be set an Academy Expectation (AE) based on their KS2 SATs results and updated Yellis assessment. The AE grade is the target grade for the end of Year 11. Students making excellent progress may have this target increased during KS4. Students in Years 9-11 are given current grades and predicted grades 3 times per year for every subject.

In all year groups at Trentham Academy, students are assessed using a combination of low stakes formative assessment such as digital quizzes and short exam questions, and at least 3 summative assessments (formal tests) each year.  Assessments show students and teachers where there are gaps in knowledge. This helps students to understand what they must do next and teachers to modify lessons and the curriculum to ensure any areas shown to be challenging in the assessments are revisited.

Parents and Carers receive progress reports 3 times per year. These reports will show progress in each subject and their attendance to date. Class Charts provides daily information to parents/carers about behaviour for learning.

Curriculum Review

Our AEA Curriculum is continuously reviewed, including the subjects offered and the number of curriculum hours, in senior team and Governor meetings. Subject Leaders review their curriculum in line management and department meetings.

Curriculum implementation is reviewed and quality assured through line management, learning walks, book scrutinies, SLT drop-ins and lesson observations.

The curriculum delivered in each subject is reviewed continuously throughout the academic year by subject leaders and their teams of staff. This ensures the sequence of lessons allow students to build on their knowledge and understanding to ensure that students are sufficiently stretched and challenged.

The Junior Leadership Team discuss curriculum content, teaching and learning and feedback on this annually to staff. Small groups of students are asked to talk through their books and learning during curriculum reviews with the senior team and subject leaders.

We engage our students and parents in curriculum feedback through student voice and parent questionnaires, which are analysed and shared with subject leaders, so the curriculum can continually evolve.

The curriculum at Trentham Academy is designed to meet and exceed the requirements of the National Curriculum. The school timetable is structured around 25 periods per week and 50 periods a fortnight across our two week timetable.

At Trentham Academy, our core values of respect, integrity, optimism and responsibility are at the heart of everything we do."