Ark Burlington Danes Curriculum Intent


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.  We place the curriculum at the heart of school life. It drives all other decisions that we make and is the best means we have of demonstrating as a school what we believe in and what we stand for. 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 into the Primary and Early Years phase 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. We know that learning can best be defined as a change in one's long-term memory and that the best way of testing the effectiveness of a curriculum and its delivery by teachers is to evaluate how much of that taught curriculum a student can use at a given point in the future.

What design principles shape our curriculum?


  1. Clear focus on the core concepts within each subject that give structure and meaning specific knowledge required within each subject area.
  2. A clear acknowledgement that students need deep knowledge of a subject in order to think creatively or critically about it.
  3. A fundamental acknowledge that to “think like a scientist,” a student must know the facts, concepts and procedures that a scientist knows and must see the teacher as the expert.
  4. A clear belief that students should be able to learn almost all areas of our curriculum.
  5. A clear acknowledgement that if students have not mastered key content early in a curriculum, they will have difficulties later.
  6. Develop a high degree of challenge from the first day at school.


Our pupils:


The curriculum through all phases of the school is designed such that students will leave Ark Burlington Danes Academy at 18 by being able to live the school Christian values:


  • Students will show a love of culture and be able to contextualise events and experiences and act accordingly.
  • Students will be able to show leadership with a  broad skill and knowledge base that allows them to conceptualise the world in more scientific ways
  • Students will be able to show courage by being able to participate in the national debate
  • Students will show faith by being committed to doing the best they can
  • Students will show resilience by being able to take ownership of their future
  • Students will be aware of their community and willing to play a constructive role in it


How is our curriculum planned?



Each subject lead will drive their curriculum by being able to articulate the following:

  • What do you want your students in your school to know by the end of each key phase (EYFS, KS1, KS2, KS3)? Why are these important?
  • What are the topics that are fundamental for your students to know? Why are they so important?
  • What key areas of knowledge should students develop in each year? Why is this important?
  • Which concepts will they need to understand to make the most of GCSE and A-level?
  • Are you being as ambitious as you can be for your students? Is there sufficient challenge in the curriculum you are setting?
  • Does your curriculum reflect the diversity of your student body? Are there too many ‘great men’ making up your curriculum?
  • Do all your team share a clear vision for the curriculum? Are they all able to articulate this if asked? Do the students know this vision?
  • How does your curriculum deliver the Christian vision and values of the Academy?
  • How does your curriculum build towards SATs, GCSE and A-Level? (it should build towards this but not be constrained by it)




  • How many lessons do you have per year? How will you split this between the topics you have chosen? Should all topics have equal attention?
  • How are you framing your topics? Are you using the right key questions?
  • Are your topics / enquiry questions grounded in and reflecting the most recent research within your subject?
  • How will you structure units? Will it be chronologically or will you look at a more thematic approach?
  • Does the sequence of units or the sequence of lessons make sense? Will students have sufficient background knowledge from previous units or lessons to undertake the next?
  • How are you building on knowledge from prior years? How are you building on KS2 knowledge in Year 7? How are you building on Year 7 knowledge in Year 8 and so on?
  • Are there questions that underpin the entire curriculum (e.g. What are people’s beliefs?) that could be returned to time and time again?
  • Should you build in pauses in the curriculum for reflection and to return to the chronology?
  • Is the core knowledge you expect to see covered in lessons explicit to staff, students and parents?
  • Is there a list of key academic vocabulary that should be used in lessons?
  • How will you use homework to ensure students meet your curriculum intention?




  • How will you know your students have met your curriculum intention?
  • Is your assessment designed for your curriculum rather than being constrained by SATs/ GCSE & A Levels assessment models?
  • How much assessment is enough for the students to get sufficient feedback to improve their work but not increase your staff workload?
  • Does your assessment system test if students are building knowledge across a term, a year or the key stage?


How we deliver enrichment and character?

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/primary clubs offer for details.  We run an extensive range of trips in all curriculum areas to support and enrich curriculum learning. Primary curriculum is built around core firsthand experiences. We utilise all the capital has to offer, including museums and universities.  We also offer residential visits across the UK and 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 offers additional opportunities to participate in Music Galas, Shakespeare Schools Festival, Debating competitions, Spelling Bees and Maths challenge. The Triborough offers further opportunities for children with musical talent.  Our character programme runs across all key stages and delivers a holistic PSCHE curriculum to support our young people with the skills required to become thoughtful and content individuals who can make the world a better place.

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 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 numeracy 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. In the secondary phase, formal examinations take place bi-annually. In the primary phase, assessment is bespoke for different subjects. 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.

In the secondary phase, 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. In the primary phase, classes for maths and English are mixed attainment in Early Years and KS1. For phonics and some Literacy and Numeracy sessions, lessons are streamed by prior attainment as needed.

EY Curriculum offer

Our pupils will become independent and resilient learners across the curriculum. They will develop confidence through both child-initiated play and adult-led activities. ​Our aim is to facilitate a creative, resource-rich and exciting environment through opportunities in the outdoor area and explorative learning across the 7 areas. These will all have a positive impact on children's well-being and development. ​It will be evident that children at BDPA love the journey of becoming skilled readers and writers and can solve problems independently.​


KS1 Curriculum offer

In Key Stage 1, we believe learning should be enjoyable, motivational and provide a wealth of opportunities so that our students can be independent individuals who are empowered to fulfil their potential. Our students will develop a genuine pleasure for reading which builds on skills acquired in Early Years and enables them to become confident, fluent readers. Through a planned series of high-quality texts and the rigour of the Read, Write Inc. programme, pupils leave Key Stage 1 with secure comprehension in many genres.  Our Talk for writing approach in English enables our pupils to become confident speakers and creative, imaginative writers whose fluent story telling will allow the development of rich vocabulary. This Oracy is further developed through class assemblies, Nativity plays and the outdoor learning programme. Maths Mastery provides our students with the ability to problem solve and attain numerical fluency in a variety of contexts through the exposure of skills-based teaching. Student’s imaginations will grow through planned immersive learning experiences and the rich and diverse wider foundation curriculum. As a result of children writing and problem-solving in cross-curricular ways, our students are equipped to make excellent end of Key Stage 1 outcomes.

Subject No of hours per week
Y1 Y2
English – phonics/reading 6 6
English – writing 5 5
English - SPAG 1 1
Maths 6 6
Science 2 2
RE 0.7 0.7
PE 2 2
History 1 1
Geography 1 1
Music 1 1
Art 0.5 0.5
Design technology 0.5 0.5
Outdoor learning 1.25 1.25

KS2 Curriculum offer

In Key Stage 2, students write for multiple purposes using a range of genres, sentence structures, vocabulary and grammatical features from their toolkit. In mathematics, pupils tackle real life problems using a multi-step word approach, attaining fluency in a range of numerical strategies and competence in all aspects of primary maths. Whilst developing highly literate and numerate students who excel in their end of Key Stage outcomes, we also focus on developing pupils’ character through a varied offer which includes assemblies, PSCHE lessons and the outdoor learning programme. Students in Key Stage 2 are encouraged to be creative thinkers across the arts, sciences and humanities. In order for pupils to reach their potential and make the world a better place, we equip them to discuss, present and reason across the curriculum, thus raising their oracy and making them ready to be confident, articulate learners in Key Stage 3.

Subject No of hours per week
Y3&4 Y5&6
English - reading 5 5
English – writing 4 4
English - handwriting 1 0.5
English - SPAG 1.5 1.5
Maths 6 6
Science 2 2
RE 1 1
PE 2 2
History 1 1.5
Geography 1 1.5
Music 1 1
Art 0.5 0.5
Design technology 0.5 0.5
Computing 0.5 1
French 0.5 0.5

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 for 1 hour, which aims to build the skills and knowledge required to progress both throughout the school and into the wider world, exploring current affairs, wider reading, raising aspirations and promoting kindness and thankfulness.

The full subject offer is outlined below.

Subject No of periods per week
Y7 Y8 Y9
English 5 5 5
Maths 4 4 4
Science 4 4 4
History 2 2 2
Geography 2 2 2
RE 2 2 2
French 2 2 2
PE 2 2 2
Music 0.5 0.5 0.5
Drama 0.5 0.5 0.5
Art 1 1 1

The total number of periods per week is 25.  Students also access our enrichment programme* which includes IT and coding club and performing arts. 

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 6 6
Maths GCSE Core 5 5
Science GCSE Core 5 or 7* 5 or 7*
RE GCSE Core 3 3
PE N/A Core 1 1
History GCSE Foundation 3 3
Geography GCSE Foundation 3 3
French GCSE Foundation 3 3
Music GCSE Foundation 2 2
Drama GCSE Foundation 2 2
Fine Art GCSE Foundation 2 2
Photography GCSE Foundation 2 2
Sociology GCSE Foundation 2 2
Media GCSE Foundation 2 2
Business GCSE Foundation 2 2
Economics GCSE Foundation 2 2
PE GCSE Foundation 2 2
Sport BTEC Foundation 3 3
Music BTEC Foundation 3 3
Media BTEC Foundation 3 3
Literacy N/A   2 2
Numeracy N/A   2 2

The total number of lessons is 30 per week.

*Triple scientists have 7 periods of science and one less option subject in Year 11 or Y10. 

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 18. With additional timetabled study periods and the Non-Examined Curriculum.

Subject Qualification No of periods per week
English Literature A Level 6
Maths A Level 6
Further Maths A Level 6
Biology A Level 6
Chemistry A Level 6
Physics A Level 6
History A Level 6
Geography A Level 6
French A Level 6
Spanish A Level 6
Art A Level 6
Psychology A Level 6
Philosophy A Level 6
Sociology A Level 6
Government & Politics A Level 6
Photography A Level 6
Economics A Level 6
Media A Level 6
Business A Level 6
Business (Professional Pathway) BTEC 18
Sport BTEC 12
IT (Professional Pathway) BTEC 18


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