At Ark Burlington Danes Academy, we believe that everyone deserves to be accepted, included and empowered to live a life that is purposeful and fulfilling. Our curriculum is a key driver of this vision and our Christian ethos.  Our curriculum is a broad, balanced and equitable offer; built around the core disciplines of English, mathematics, science, humanities, languages and religious education. All subject areas prepare pupils for future study within their discipline, with mastery of core and foundation subjects ensuring pupils have choice later on in their education; as they specialise in key areas of study.  The curriculum in each subject area has been designed backwards from university study, through A-Level, GCSE and Key Stage 3, to ensure students can reach their fullest potential.  As a school we are passionate about our young people being taught the best of what has been thought and written; supporting them to navigate their way through the skills and knowledge required to empower them.  Thus providing choice and contentment in a world which can sometimes seem unjust.

Enrichment Offer & Character Programme

We take a holistic approach to learning and developing our young people over their time with us.  In addition to our core examined curriculum, we offer a full enrichment and Character Programme. Enrichment is mapped across the curriculum, high quality activities are sourced to promote ‘courageous advocacy’; some activities include a ‘coding club’ to promote digital literacy and IT, scrabble club, sports and performing arts clubs.  Please see our enrichment booklet for details.  We run an extensive range of trips in all curriculum areas to support and enrich curriculum learning. We utilise all the capital has to offer, including museums and universities.  We also offer residential visits across the continent to stretch our students’ horizons and allow them to apply their knowledge and skills in different contexts. Students interested in the creative arts can perform in our annual shows and musical concerts.  We offer opportunities for students to take up instruments and join the school choir should they choose to. The ARK network offer additional opportunities to participate in the Music Gala, Shakespeare Schools Festival, Debating competitions, Spelling Bees and Maths challenge.  Our Character Programme runs across all key stages: delivering a holistic PSHCE education through assemblies and tutorial periods to support our young people with the skills required to become thoughtful and content individuals.

Our primary phase curriculum benefits from the specialisms in the secondary phase where subject expertise is shared, for example, in physical education and modern foreign languages to ensure stretch and challenge is provided.  We provide opportunities for cross-phase development opportunities for both staff and students, sharing expertise and experiences at all key stages.  The curriculum in Year 7 is specifically tailored to meet the needs of our SEND students.  The curriculum is designed to ensure there are opportunities for students to catch up with their peers and improve literacy and numercy skills to diminish any difference and ensure all our young people are empowered.

Assessment plays a key role at Ark Burlington Danes and is intrinsically linked to both curriculum and teaching and learning. Frequent formative assessment in class, through low stakes testing advises students on how to improve their work and make progress. Students receive regular feedback on how to make progress. Our curriculum is organised into three cycles, and formal examinations take place bi-annually.  These summative assessments allow students and staff opportunity to measure progress against national standards, and inform our interventions to support students in reaching their full potential.

We believe that students perform best when working with peers of a similar ability in core and foundation subjects, and as such our classes are set, with opportunities for students to change classes according to the progress they are making after key assessment points. However, our house tutor groups are mixed, facilitating collaborative work across all abilities. We also offer opportunities for our Sixth Formers to work with younger students through the ‘Give Back Programme’.

KS3 Curriculum Offer

Our students are exposed to a challenging curriculum. We have a strong focus on the core subjects English, maths and science. Throughout key stage 3, students study three humanities subjects (history, geography and religious education) and a language. In addition to this, students have the experience of technical and visual arts subjects, including music, drama, art and design. They receive PSHCE through the ‘Character and Assemblies Programme’ daily which aims to build the skills and knowledge required to progress both throughout the school and into the wider world, raising aspirations and promoting kindness and thankfulness.

The full subject offer is outlined below.

Subject No of periods per week
  Y7 Y8 Y9
English 6 6 6
Maths 6 6 6
Science 5 5 5
History 3 3 3
Geography 3 3 3
RE 2 2 2
French 3 3 3
PE 3 3 3
Music 1 1 1
Drama 1 1 1
Creative Design (Art, Catering) 2 2 2

The total number of periods per week is 35.  Students also access our enrichment programme* which includes IT and coding club. 

We discuss individual curriculum pathways with pupils and their parents in year 9 to prepare them for the transition to Key Stage 4.

KS4 Curriculum Offer

Our key priority at key stage 4 is that students have the essential skills of literacy, numeracy and are prepared for further study, employment and life after school. All Ark Burlington Danes students follow a common core of English language and literature, mathematics, science, PE, RE and PSHCE (delivered through the character programme). Pathways through mathematics vary according to the higher and foundation tier. In science, pupils either study the triple science pathway (biology, chemistry and physics) or combined science (two GSCE qualifications).

In addition pupils choose three or four option choices from a range of GCSEs and BTEC courses. We also offer students following the BTEC route extra support in English and maths to ensure they reach a high standard of literacy and numeracy.

In addition to this, we provide opportunities to support students throughout their final GCSE year with targeted sessions and guidance outside of the timetabled curriculum. We provide high quality revision materials and work packs to support courses and raise aspirations. 

Subject Qualification Type No of periods per week
      Y10 Y11
English GCSE Core 5 5
Maths GCSE Core 5 5
Science GCSE Core 6 or 8* 6 or 9*
RE GCSE Core 3 3
PE N/A Core 2 2
History GCSE Foundation 4* 4
Geography GCSE Foundation 4* 4
French GCSE Foundation 4* 4
Music GCSE Foundation 3 3
Drama GCSE Foundation 3 3
Fine Art GCSE Foundation 3 3
Photography GCSE Foundation 3 3
Sociology GCSE Foundation 3 3
Media GCSE Foundation 3 3
Business GCSE Foundation 3 3
Economics GCSE Foundation 3 3
PE GCSE Foundation 3 3
Sport BTEC Foundation 4  
Music BTEC Foundation 4 3
Health & Social Care BTEC Foundation   4
Business BTEC Foundation   4
Media BTEC Foundation 4 4
Literacy N/A     2
Numeracy N/A     2

*Triple scientists have 9 periods of science and one less option subject in Year 11.  In Year 10 they have 8 periods and an additional option subject: receiving 1 less period of French and History or Geography.

Students are interviewed and prepared for individual curriculum pathways in Year 11 so they are prepared for the transition to Key Stage 5.

KS5 Curriculum Offer

Ark Burlington Danes Sixth Form supports pupils in fulfilling their potential and reaching their personal targets. Our primary focus is on student destinations: Russell Group/top third universities and aspirational school leaver pathways such as degree apprenticeships. We support every pupil in choosing the right university pathway and career with confidence. We run a comprehensive tutor support programme and weekly PSHCE, Careers and University preparation. The array of universities, courses and employers to which our alumni have progressed is testament to both the hard work of the young people who choose to study with us and the striving, aspirational ethos that helps propel them to success.

Pupils in Ark Burlington Danes Sixth Form are offered an academic programme encompassing 3 A-Level subjects. We also deliver BTEC Nationals in Business and IT through the Ark Professional Pathways Programme.  We currently offer BTEC National Extended Diplomas in Health and Social Care and Sport Science.

Finally, we offer pupils a re-take in English or mathematics GCSE as needed to support with their Higher Education applications and life skills.

The total number of periods per week for Sixth Formers is 21. With additional timetabled study periods (7 periods).

Subject Qualification No of periods per week
English Literature A Level 7
Maths A Level 7
Further Maths A Level 7
Biology A Level 7
Chemistry A Level 7
Physics A Level 7
History A Level 7
Geography A Level 7
French A Level 7
Spanish A Level 7
Art A Level 7
Psychology A Level 7
Philosophy A Level 7
Sociology A Level 7
Government & Politics A Level 7
Photography A Level 7
Economics A Level 7
Media A Level 7
Business A Level 7
Business (Professional Pathway) BTEC 21
Sport BTEC 14
IT (Professional Pathway) BTEC 21

Students are supported with University and career applications and interviews to prepare them for the transition into their desired destination.

If you would like to find out any further information on the curriculum please email bda.school@burlingtondanes.org for the attention of Laura Morris, Vice Principal Curriculum.