Curriculum Overview

Farnborough Spencer Academy Curriculum Statement

Our Academy

Farnborough Spencer Academy is a mixed gender 11-16 academy and is the only secondary school in the Nottingham suburb of Clifton. Clifton was the largest council estate in Europe when it was constructed in the mid-20th century and is home to approximately 23000 people, 92% of whom are white British, 25% do not own a passport and the rates of unemployment and benefit claimants are significantly higher than the national averages.

The academy serves a population where children are born into families with a generational history of unemployment and poor academic outcomes from school. This is why the careers and employability work the academy completes is vital to improving the life chances of the students. The proportion of students who are classed as disadvantaged is significantly higher than the national average with 43% of current students on role FSM6. The proportion of students with SEND is in line with the national average and 10% of students are classed as EAL.

The academy joined the Spencer Academies trust in October 2018 following a merger with the Trent Academies Group. And Since then the school has embarked on a journey of evolution and alongside new leadership has sought to drive forward a new culture of aspiration, both within the school and amongst the local community.


Our Aims

At Farnborough Spencer Academy we strive to create successful and competent learners who can do the right thing, achieve excellence in all they attempt, believe in their own abilities and display the commitment required to do so and have designed the curriculum model to promote the schools core values of:


  • Academic Achievement
  • Preparation for future life
  • Community cohesion



  • High aspiration
  • Developing positive self-esteem
  • Showing resilience



  • High levels of attendance and punctuality
  • Positive behaviours for learning
  • High levels of effort

Curriculum Intent

The curriculum has been reviewed to ensure that knowledge and skills are set out at each stage with a focus on ‘knowing more and remembering more’ being at the heart of all we do; empowering students to develop an understanding and appreciation of the subjects they study and ensuring that students learn through the acquisition of skills and deepening of knowledge over time.

Our curriculum is therefore carefully designed by our subject specialists within the school and across our Multi Academy Trust to focus on sequencing for progression, deepening knowledge and the acquisition of skills for learning. It is designed to challenge our students, to ensure learning is at the heart of our lessons and to enable our students to meet and raise standards of attainment so all students have the opportunity for a better future.

We have created a three year Key Stage three model that meets the national curriculum requirements to allow all our pupils to study a range of subjects keeping opportunities broad and balanced whilst creating a culture of high achievement for all students.


World of Work

We passionately believe that to raise aspirations of every pupils, the World of Work must feature throughout the curriculum. We aim for students to leave the academy with a sense of belonging to a tightly knit community where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.

We ensure our careers programme is fully embedded into school structures including PSHE, timetables, SIP, Drop down Days and curriculum starting from year 7 through to 11. We ensure that every pupil, by the age of 16, has had at least one guidance interview delivered by a level 6 careers advisor. We keep systematic records of careers activities, for each individual pupil, in order to track throughout their time at the Academy. We deliver and engage in workshops which actively seek to challenge stereotypical thinking and raise aspirations.

Our bespoke ‘Accelerating Confidence’ project has enabled us to establish and maintain strong relationships with a number of businesses and we draw on these to provide workshops, interview skills, visits and assemblies. This project also allows pupils to have experiences of the workplace together with encounters with employers and employees. Strong links with local Universities and colleges ensure our pupils have the opportunity to have encounters with further and higher education through visits and careers fairs.

Our annual, in house, careers fair allows pupils and their parents to access information about future career paths and make independent, informed decisions about their future whilst accessing current labour market information. Strategically planned ‘careers’ bright days to link with important transitional periods for each year group. Teachers actively highlight the relevance of STEM subjects and are also confident in talking about careers related to their subject. Specific plans are in place for groups of pupils who need tailored support to make effective career transitions. The careers programme is effectively managed by the careers lead and coordinator with support from staff ensuring a unified approach in delivering a positive experience to the pupils allowing them to develop their knowledge and skills as they progress through school.



Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We constantly provide enrichment opportunities to engage learning and believe that childhood should be a happy, investigative and enquiring time in our lives where there are no limits to curiosity and there is a thirst for new experiences and knowledge.  These include, numerous work place experiences at Key Stage 4, trips, a wide range of well attended extra-curricular clubs, including D of E, fundraising events, supporting others, mentoring and representing the school. All have the aim of helping our young people to develop their identity so they are ready and equipped to fully engage with life beyond school.



PSHE at Farnborough Spencer Academy is designed to ensure that young people are healthy, happy and safe. The curriculum aims prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. Through PSHE education, pupils will develop personal skills and attributes including: resilience; empathy and compassion; respect for others; employability skills; enterprise skills; valuing and respecting diversity; organisation and time management and decision making. RSE is delivered as part of the PSHE curriculum and is aimed at helping the pupils make safe and informed decisions regarding relationships and sex education.

At key stage 3 pupils are delivered the curriculum during their Humanities lessons by dedicated members of staff and at key stage 4 pupils are taught the curriculum through a combination of both drop down days (involving outside agencies) and Form Time Learning, which is delivered by tutors.


Cultural Capital/SMSC

Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, skills, behaviours and experiences that a student can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence. Cultural capital represents the key ingredients that a student will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.

At Farnborough Spencer Academy, cultural capital is developed across the whole curriculum through personal, social, physical, spiritual, moral and cultural development including our PSHE curriculum, Form Time Learning and assembly program, pupil leadership and mentoring programs, charity work and fundraising, student voice, anti-bullying ambassadors and numerous trips and visits.


Form Time Learning

Each Year group follows a bespoke programme of form time learning. This includes weekly themed assemblies exploring a range of topics to enhance the cultural awareness of students. These themes are then explored in greater detail with a weekly form time learning session at KS3. Themes can include, Black history, Mental health, LBGT and inspirational people. Form time learning also explores and develops aspiration through a strand of careers education from Y9-Y11 and through developing study skills to help students achieve confidence and the skills to succeed with KS4 study and aspire to move on to post 16 education.


Curriculum Implementation

The curriculum offer is staged and uses building blocks to ensure that prerequisite knowledge is well developed to allow students to access new learning, knowledge and develop skills. There is a clear explanatory narrative throughout the curriculum that enables teachers to create teaching activities that build on previous knowledge and skills and provide a clear pathway to successful outcomes.

Expectations for the implementation of our curriculum are encapsulated in a document entitled ‘The Farnborough Academy Lesson’ and there is now a more structured approach to learning. Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. All lessons are based on the accelerated learning cycle to ensure high quality learning across the academy. Over the course of study, our teaching is designed to help pupils remember long term content they’ve been taught and to integrate that new knowledge into larger ideas. All lessons begin with silent knowledge retrieval tasks and knowledge organisers are used to support our students in grasping the foundational concepts that will pave the way for future learning. Once the most important facts and concepts have been taught, the knowledge organiser is used as the basis for retrieval practice.



Assessment enables both teachers and learners benchmarks and staging posts along their learning journey. Assessment information is used to address areas of weakness and intervene to bring pupils back on track to accelerate both knowledge and skill.

Our broad and balanced Curriculum model is taught in 25 hours of contact time each week.


Key Stage Three

The curriculum includes:


Key Stage Four

Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum is broad so that pupils can experience a range of opportunities across the curriculum; balanced because it is unwise for pupils to narrow down their options before the age of 16; relevant to pupils’ individual needs and to the demands of a rapidly-changing world; and personalised so that the level and type of work are suited to the ability and learning style of each individual pupil.

These principles, we believe, will stand our pupils in good stead during the current period of great educational change. In Key Stage 4, pupils have enhanced time for the core subjects of English and Maths.

Our curriculum offers flexibility and choice within a guided structure. In response to government curriculum changes, the options are fewer than in previous years but give more time to enable study in greater depth. Predominantly our level 2 courses are GCSE and we offer BTEC courses for those who find this assessment pathway more accessible. In creating our offer, we are careful to listen to pupil demand and where possible we will find creative ways to facilitate courses where pupil numbers are small, for example extra-curricular GCSE music.

The curriculum includes:

  • GCSE English language
  • GCSE English Literature
  • GCSE Mathematics
  • GCSE Trilogy Science (double award)
  • GCSE Triple Science
  • MFL – GCSE French/GCSE German
  • Humanities – GCSE History
  • Humanities – GCSE Geography
  • Humanities – GCSE Religious Education
  • Humanities – BTEC Business Enterprise
  • BTEC Performing Arts
  • Technology and The Arts – GCSE Art and Design
  • Technology and The Arts – GCSE Photography
  • Technology and The Arts – BTEC Engineering Design
  • Technology and The Arts – BTEC Construction
  • OCR National IMedia
  • GCSE Computer Science
  • Eduqas Level 1/2 Hospitality & Catering
  • BTEC Sport
  • Physical Education (One hour per week)
  • PSHE


Farnborough Spencer Academy has a team of Learning Support Assistants who support pupils with additional needs in and out of the classroom.  They work closely with teaching staff to ensure that lessons and resources are appropriate for all pupils.  The Learning Support Unit is staffed with Learning Support Assistants every evening from 3-4pm where all pupils can attend to receive support with homework tasks from all subjects.

For all students who are behind in their chronological reading and comprehension age, additional support is provided through withdrawal to enable them to make progress.  This support is also available for pupils who find elements of maths or numeracy difficult and require additional support to help them to achieve age related expectations.



Farnborough Spencer Academy seeks to ensure that all students have the opportunity to develop the highest levels of literacy across all aspects of the curriculum. We believe that young people who have high levels of literacy will have access to a far wider range of opportunities when they leave us, and that strong literacy foundations will not only promote success at GCSE level, but in all aspects and walks of life, and serves as a key factor in social mobility.

We seek to develop our students’ skills so that they can access texts and all forms of media; learn to read and write for both academic success and for pleasure, and that these become life-long habits. We believe that this is a whole school responsibility. In addition to reading and writing, we also believe that oracy skills deserve specific teaching, and enables students to use language in order to become independent learners, thinkers and communicators.


Drop Down Days

Drop down days or Bright Days, when the normal lesson timetable is suspended, take place during the year.  These days allow students to learn in different ways such as off site, with external providers and a range of students.   These days cover subjects such as Staying Safe, British Values, Study Skills, Pathways and Work-ready Skills.


Additional Opportunities

To support the curriculum learning, we are extremely proud of our the wide range of additional lunch time and after-school enrichment opportunities that we offer which includes a range of sporting activities, music (including orchestra and choir), drama, Coding Club and Scientist Higher Attainers. There is daily support for homework in the library and LSU. Our Performing Arts faculty work tirelessly to create a multitude of opportunities for the pupils including Yearly Musical Theatre shows, School concerts and recitals and support in the community by performing at local residential homes, local and national businesses and the Theatre Royal to name but a few.

Sporting enrichment opportunities are also wide and varied and they include Football, Fitness Suite and Table Tennis for example. Some of these clubs are supported by outside agencies ie Notts County and Clifton Table Tennis Club. We aim to offer both individual and team-based activities and have also offered leadership opportunities which feed into the Sports Leaders programme used by our staff for the Clifton School Sports Partnership and the Primary school festivals.



Homework plays a key role in students learning across the whole curriculum and is set via Show my Homework. Knowledge Organisers are set for every year group. This supports our curriculum model that builds effective knowledge retention and revision strategies into homework and lessons. At the beginning of every half term/new topic, a knowledge organiser is given to every pupil. These show facts, dates, events, characters, concepts and key words and definitions that pupils will need to know during this topic. Each week, homework is set based part of the knowledge organiser in order to secure the knowledge base allowing pupils to develop their skills of understanding, analysis and evaluation in lessons more effectively.

If you require more information on the curriculum, please contact the Deputy Headteacher on 01159744444.


Curriculum Impact

This is seen and evidenced by the continued rising standards across the curriculum, the increase in student achievement and their progression to further and higher education and economic security success in the world of work. Our curriculum model not only aims to ensure academic success but also to ensure students leave as confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.

  • Click here to download our whole school curriculum map.