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Breda Academy, Belfast

Curriculum Overview


At Breda Academy we aim to ensure each Key Stage curriculum should be inclusive and provide opportunities for every student to study courses appropriate to their aspirations, needs, and ability. Each curriculum is reviewed annually by our curriculum development team to ensure learning is broad, balanced and diverse, and provides all students with an appropriate mix of academic and vocational pathways of study in each Key Stage. Students are provided with learning opportunities to develop their subject knowledge and understanding, technical ability, and literacy and numeracy skills to achieve well in the courses they study and perform well in public examinations.

We believe that everyone is a learner and everyone has the potential to lead others, hence our school motto, ‘Learners today Leaders tomorrow’. Accordingly, we strive to empower all students with a confident and positive belief in themselves and for their potential to be the drivers of their own lives, aspiring to success within and beyond school. We also endeavour to develop all students GRIT (Growth mind-set, Resilience, Independence and Tenacity) in how they approach their learning.

Learning is a lifelong journey involving making decisions and making mistakes. It is the discovery of new ideas and new answers; it is in making errors that learners refine their abilities and discover new paths. At Breda Academy it is safe to make mistakes and to not yet know the right answer.  We are committed to providing a caring and safe environment for all of our students so that they can learn in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance and respect for each other’s views and approaches to life.

YEARS 8, 9 & 10

In Key Stage Three students study a broad range of subjects. We believe students learn best when

they are taught in groups that are set by ability. Drawing on nationally generated data and our own baseline tests we place students in sets which are most closely matched to their current level of performance. The curriculum is tailored and differentiated for each teaching group so that students get the optimum balance of support and challenge they need to secure excellent progress. There is, however, flexibility for students to move between groups if appropriate, for example if our regular tracking assessments suggest students are making good progress and would benefit from the challenge of a higher group.

YEARS 11 & 12

In Key Stage Four students study a core of traditional academic subjects including English and Maths. Beyond the core, students can then select a variety of GCSE and GCSE equivalent qualifications.

The curriculum offers a breadth of opportunity and range of nationally accredited qualifications to ensure all students have good opportunities to progress into the Sixth Form and higher education or employment, through a system of learning pathways.

To ensure that pupils get the very best out of their GCSE curriculum, Breda Academy has designed the curriculum across two Learning Pathways.

The Academic pathway – includes a wide range of GCSE subject options including Double Award GCSEs – giving students a potential 14 GCSE and GCSE equivalent qualifications.

The Vocational pathway – includes a wide range of GCSE and Vocational subject options – giving students a potential 11 GCSE and GCSE equivalent qualifications.

There is no ‘best’ or ‘better’ pathway – each pathway is unique to ensure that each pupil is most suitably matched to an engaging curriculum that best meets their needs and interests. Both pathways will also provide equality of access to our Sixth Form, so long as each child meets the minimum criteria set for Sixth Form.

YEARS 13 & 14

A separate Sixth Form Prospectus, updated annually, sets out the full range of A Level subjects

on offer. In Year 13, pupils are generally expected to undertake 4 AS subjects, taking three of these

forward as A2 subjects in Year 14. However, as a larger school Sixth Form we can be flexible in response to individual students’ circumstances.

The Sixth Form curriculum aims to support and develop the commitment and self-discipline students need for successful independent study. Staff will build programmes that foster these skills in class and in independent study that are essential for academic success. Many of our sixth form student’s continue their learning in high profile UK based universities such as, Queens, Ulster University, Liverpool John Moore’s and go on to have successful careers in teaching, nursing, sport, business and ICT.