At John Cabot Academy, as part of the Cabot Learning Federation, we work on the premise that:

The curriculum enables children to…
acquire… Knowledge & Skills, which
secured through… Application
develops… Understanding
and allows them to seek… Meaning
and achieve… Personal growth

Our curriculum aims to be…

… designed to develop a sense of awe and wonder that secures a joy for learning. Supporting children to do more than they thought possible. Boldly opening minds to hitherto uncharted knowledge and experiences and building resilience.

… empowering so that children make well-informed decisions through life, with built in entitlement for all by age 3-19.

… shared, informed and developed by experts from across the Trust and to be evolved over time in-light of evidence, experience and the work of collaborative teams across the Trust.

broad, balanced, conceptually stretching, relevant and contextually useful. Is built on high expectations of what children should be capable of.

… rich in knowledge and skills, which are secured through application to develop understanding and allow children to seek meaning and achieve personal growth.

progressive so that it logically builds knowledge, skills and understanding by age (3-19). Built around key concepts and misconceptions by subject and age.

… spiralled, seeking consolidation of learning and understanding over time to secure changes to the long term memory.

…a shared curriculum that empowers teachers to collaborate across the Trust to focus on pedagogy to secure and accelerate learning and progress that meets the needs of all children.

… provide opportunities for formative assessment to enable children to know and take ownership of what they specifically need to do to build their knowledge, skills and understanding. There is a transparency on age related expectations and accessible ways of closing gaps in understanding.

… uses summative assessment to measure, maintain and evaluate learning gains, progress and standards.

At Key Stage 3 we have specific principles around ARE, namely:

  • The curriculum enables children to acquire knowledge and skills, which are secured through application (over time and in different contexts) to develop understanding (change in long term memory) and allows children to seek meaning and achieve personal growth.
  • Built-up from KS2 to secure a foundation for young people for life (… and KS4). Based on Age Related Expectations and using DOYA. (Not built down from KS4).
  • Focused on the progression of content and concepts through the KS3 curriculum that accelerates progress within a progressive and purposeful 3-19 CLF Curriculum.
  • The curriculum is our opportunity to inspire children to be successful individuals, historians, mathematicians, geographers, musicians, authors, artist, sportspeople, scientists, writers, innovators, dreamers, magicians, mothers, fathers, positive citizens.
  • On a platform of standardisation the curriculum releases teachers to drive up learning and progress. Standardised Age Related Expectations, curriculum and assessment frees and empowers experts to collaborate, follow the learning and teach.
  • The curriculum will be curated by subject experts and teams from across the Trust who are empowered to evolve the curriculum that will allow all children to thrive.
  • The content of the curriculum is progressive and is based on consolidating and revisiting content over time to secure progress over time.
  • The curriculum seeks depth of study rather than breadth to build understanding and to seek meaning; stretching and challenging children to think.
  • The Age Related Expectations and exemplars are widely published to support child, parent, teacher, leader and other staff understanding of the expected standards and the content of the curriculum, enabling wider ownership of the curriculum
  • Two key areas of assessment:
    • shared on-line MCQ assessments four times a year to assess knowledge/skills acquisition and elements of application and understanding. Immediate feedback from on-line supports understanding of gaps and re-teaching.
    • Teacher assessment of learning that uses standardised exemplar material to assess agreed subject written responses/assessments, supporting teachers to make a broad assessment of childrens’ attainment against DOYA.
  • Given the shared AREs and assessment cycle teachers are freed to plan to meet need and support all children to feel and be successful. Approaches to pedagogy are based on cognitive science:
    • Supporting children to experience desirable difficulty and grapple with learning in their proximal zone.
    • Explicitly secure knowledge and skills through application to build understanding and seek meaning
    • Specificity of feedback for impact and the developed and precise use of modelling, explanations and questioning to secure progress .
    • Emphasis on the development of reading (widely and often), oracy and quality of writing.

We also believe that an enriched curriculum where not everything is measured in the same way is critical to ensuring a joy-filled experience of school where students are enabled to develop social, emotional, spiritual, cultural and leadership capacity through being inspired towards independence and supported to develop resilience. As such we operate a twice-weekly timetabled enrichment curriculum which is student-led in design and increasingly in delivery.


As part of a curriculum that is committed to ensuring young people are ready for life, the Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) programme is delivered through fortnightly lessons and drop down ‘Personal Safety and Wellbeing Days’.  Young people have the opportunity to discuss and explore issues with their peers, teachers and guest speakers in safe environments. Key topics are covered under the overarching themes of Health and Wellbeing, Living in the Wider World, and Relationships. The KS3 programme also has an exciting cross curricular element with Drama where students will be exploring relationships, discrimination, peer pressure and gang crime through performance pieces.

Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development (SMSC) is promoted through a range of a wide-ranging programme including tutor time sessions, assemblies, Safety & Wellbeing days, sporting fixtures, musical and drama performance and Enrichment activities. Through a dedicated SMSC tutor time session SMSC and British Values are promoted to help our students make positive reflective choices, and develop skills to prepare them for the ever changing dynamics of modern society.