The Curriculum at Kirk Balk

Learning & Curriculum

The curriculum at Kirk Balk aims to support the highest level of achievement for all students.

At Kirk Balk we:

  • Teach a broad and balanced range of subjects including all the key areas of the National Curriculum;
  • Pay particular attention to developing the essential skills in English and mathematics;
  • Provide a Key Stage 4 curriculum which offers a range of courses to enable opportunities for students to continue learning and achieving post 16;
  • Provide each student with a suitable programme of learning and challenge designed to meet individual needs through banding.

The Timetable

At Kirk Balk a one week timetable is followed, each day has 5 periods of 60 minutes making 25 periods per week.

The School Day

The school day begins at 8.25am and is made up of five one hour lessons and a 15 minute form period every day.

Break (20 minutes) is between form period and period 3.

Lunch (30 minutes) is between periods 4 and 5.

The academy day formally finishes at 2:30pm for most students although we have an extensive extra-curricular programme which runs every night from 2:30pm onwards. Students in Y11 have additional intervention and revision every night between 2:30pm and 3:30pm.

Full details can be found here ->

Streams & setting

For timetabling purposes each year group is divided into two equal half-year populations. To ensure each student receives tailored teaching that is specific for their own skill and ability level, we set all year groups in our core subjects.

Students are set based on end of Key Stage 2 examinations in English and mathematics in the first instance. The sets are then reviewed following significant assessment points throughout the year.

1.1 Curriculum - EBACC and Progress 8

Students commencing their GCSEs from September 2014 will form part of a new measure of school performance - the "Progress 8" measure. Progress 8 is, to all intents and purposes, a measure of a student's performance across EIGHT subject disciplines.

Which qualifications will be accepted in the measure?

GCSE Mathematics and English Language/Literature

Mathematics and English are both double-weighted, with English and Maths both worth 20 per cent and the other six subjects each worth 10 per cent of the total measure.

Currently, if students sit both English language and English literature, the highest grade will be used and double-weighted. From 2017 students will have to study both English Language and English Literature for the subject to be double-weighted. This is important, and at Kirk Balk, all of our students take GCSE English Literature in addition to GCSE English Language, so we are well prepared for this.

In summary, it is paramount that your child makes good progress in English and Mathematics as the new measure asserts their importance like nothing that we have seen before.

English Baccalaureate slots

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a performance measure for any student who achieves good GCSE passes (A*-C) in English, mathematics, history or geography, two sciences and a language.

There are three slots for EBacc subjects. At Kirk Balk, we are well positioned in regard to these subjects for as all of our Key Stage 4 students study at least three of these EBacc subjects.

Open slots

The final three slots in the measure are the open group of subjects. Firstly, any EBacc subjects that have not counted in the EBacc slots can be used. English Literature can also be used here. The remaining slots can be filled with any other subjects from our options, as again, here at Kirk Balk, we are well positioned in regard to this as our full curriculum offer for our students in Key Stage 4 meets these measures.

1.2 Lower school - Years 7 & 8

Students in Years 7 and 8 are deemed to be in Lower school. They will study:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • Modern Foreign Language - German in Y7 / German or Spanish in Y8
  • Modern Technology - which comprises of Design Technology, Food & nutrition, Information Technology and Art)
  • Physical Education
  • Performing Arts - which includes Music & Drama
  • Life - which includes RE, Ethics & PSHCE

During Year 8, students will start their first 'Pathways' process, where they will be awarded subjects they are successful in to study further in the Upper school. Details of the individual subjects can be found in the Upper school section.

It should be noted, in our curriculum model students will undertake additional 'Pathways' processes in years 9, 10 and 11 where necessary to ensure every student in the academy is on the correct path to achieve their very best.

1.3 & 1.4 Upper School - Years 9, 10 & 11

Students in Years 9, 10 and 11 are deemed to be in Upper school.

Students in Upper school must study:

Students may also have the opportunity to study a selection of subjects from the following list. A students selection will be determined by their individual pathway:

(Please note - we can not guarantee a students choices will be met. A full process of guidance will be provided during the pathways process in year 8)

Students must also study religious education (RE), and secondary schools must provide sex education. The content of these two subjects is decided locally but must remain within the law. All secondary schools are responsible for providing careers, enterprise education and citizenship. At Kirk Balk Academy the content of RE, PSHCE and sex education is delivered through our 'Life' curriculum. Life is a timetabled lesson which takes place once per week for students in Y7 to 10.

Schools organise their own timetable, and can decide what else to teach their students. The curriculum on offer is reviewed every year and adjusted, where necessary, according to the learning needs of the students in a particular band.

For more information on any aspect of our curriculum please contact Mr R Whitfield (Vice Principal) or Mr D Buckely (Head of Academy).