The Life curriculum at The Laurel Academy is a five-year curriculum offer, tailored specifically to meet the needs of the school’s local context whilst at the same time equipping pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to play their full part in an ever changing world of the 21st century. Our programme includes the delivery of RE, RSE, PSHE, CEIAG and fundamental British Values, delivered through a combination of discrete timetabled lessons, our curriculum for life tutorial and assembly programme, plus a series of progressive “Step Up” days, as well as emphasising a number of cross curricular links across a wide range of subjects.
Life at The Laurel places social and personal development at the heart of its design, with group discussion, self-expression and the promotion of tolerance & respect towards the opinions of others assessed in each unit of work. Providing opportunities for students to develop confidence, resilience and knowledge to stay mentally and physically healthy are also included and developed in topics such as ‘Physical health and fitness’ and ‘Healthy relationships’.
At Key Stage 3, students explore an array of pertinent issues such as online and offline risks, including gangs, radicalisation and extremism through half-termly topics such as Me and My World, War, Conflict, Peace & Religion and Fitting in & Speaking out. The inappropriate use of mobile technology and social media is also reinforced through the ICT curriculum as well as being emphasised and revisited in our tutor time and assembly programme, promoting for example national ‘Safer Internet Day’ across the academy and key stages.
Religious Studies is also embedded throughout Key Stage 3, as students are able to explore the religions of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism through the lens of ‘What would a religious person do in this situation?’ in order to develop skills of reflection, respect and tolerance. Religious quotes are woven into schemes of learning such as Evil and Suffering and are interpreted alongside some religious practices and core beliefs. A key question approach, as referenced in the Doncaster locally agreed SACRE, is also adopted where possible to allow students to engage in an enquiry-based approach to learning; appraising varied responses to key questions such as, ‘Why is there suffering?’ ‘Is death the end?’ and ‘What is good and challenging about being a teenage Sikh/Buddhist/Muslim in Britain today? As well as allowing pupils to develop responses of their own.
With income deprivation and unemployment levels in the local area significantly above national averages, we are fully committed to ensuring that our Life curriculum provides sufficient time to achieve all eight of The Gatsby Benchmarks, working alongside various organisations. A mixture of tutor time activities and progressive step up days provide opportunities for work experience, employer contact and Enterprise Education to allow the following targets to be met:
- A careers programme
- Learning from career and labour market information
- Addressing the needs of each student
- Linking curriculum learning to careers
- Encounters with employers and employees
- Experiences of workplaces
- Encounters with further and higher education
- Personal guidance
Our RSE curriculum provision gives due regard to the DfE’s statutory guidance on sex and relationship education as well as focussing in more detail on issues most relevant to students in our local context. Specific needs, as they arise are responded to and incorporated into our planning, plus curriculum content is once again ‘stepped’ to ensure that key issues are revisited in later years and in greater depth. Where possible we also aim to bring in outside companies/agencies to deliver bespoke sessions to meet the specific needs of our students in Year 10 and Year 11. We also aim ensure that our accelerated programme of ‘RSE Revisited’ runs in Year 11 in order to cover key topics such as Teenage Pregnancy, Consent, STIs & contraception, healthy relationships and domestic abuse through a series of step up days.
The Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of our students has always been at the heart of the education offered in Delta Academies. The Academy’s approach to SMSC is embedded in the Delta ethos of mutual respect, partnership working and collaboration; an approach that we believe is fundamental to a full and positive participation in life in modern Britain.
Broad PSHE themes are allocated throughout each academic year and revisited so that they can be reinforced and developed over the years:
- Half term 1: Relationships and Risk
- Half term 2 and 3: Diversity, Identity and Careers
- Half term 4 and 5: Rights & Responsibilities, Aspirations and Power
- Half term 6: Healthy Lifestyles and British Values
Examples of how fundamental British Values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are actively promoted across the Academy and include:Weekly year group assemblies led by academy leaders or guest speakers
- Student Voice activities
- Student Council and Doncaster Youth Council.
- Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) lessons and Step up Days e.g. First Aid training.
- Religious Education and life topics such as ‘A brave new world’
- Cross curricular initiatives
- After school clubs and enrichment activities
- Charity work
- Sporting events
- Links with the wider community
- Educational trips and visits and other opportunities for learning outside the classroom.