At Penwortham Priory Academy the curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning from each key stage, provide challenging learning experiences that require pupils to think hard, allow them to develop leadership and organisational skills and be resilient, learners with initiative who have excellent communication skills and are ready to face the challenges beyond school. High quality academic and pastoral guidance enables this and we provide subject choices that support pupils’ learning and progression, and enable them to work towards achieving their goals. The curriculum remains as broad as possible for as long as possible. Pupils study a strong academic core of subjects through the EBacc.

There is a high focus on developing the character and culture of the pupils to be positive, committed individuals willing to evolve, and show kindness and respect to all.

Knowledge is at the heart of our curriculum and underpins our approach because we are all empowered by knowing things and being able to apply what we have learnt in varied and new situations. We believe that pupils deserve to know the detail of what they will learn, how this links to the schema of the subject they’re studying and how this in turn links to other subjects so they have a broader understanding of how the world works. The knowledge we want pupils to acquire is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently and we use strategies such as spaced retrieval practice, low-stakes testing and plenty of repeated practice for automatic responses and fluency to ensure that concepts are understood, knowledge that has been taught is remembered and it is shown through the skill to apply it to specific situations in and beyond school. We put emphasis on the acquisition and use of a broad vocabulary and facilitate this through the reading of fiction and non-fiction texts in various scenarios. 

In addition to the diverse and rich opportunities offered through the teaching, we value opportunities to take pupils out on trips and visits to help put the learning into context, expose them to experiences they might not otherwise have and encourage them to learn about the local, national and international communities of which they are a part.


At Penwortham Priory Academy the curriculum is split into two key stages, Key Stage 3 – Year 7, 8 & 9, and Key Stage 4 – Year 10 & 11. We have planned and sequenced the curriculum so that pupils cumulatively build skills and knowledge in each subject over time and specialise only when necessary. 


At Key Stage 3, all pupils study: 

English History Design Technology



Food Preparation and Nutrition 



Character & Culture 



PSHE (Yr 7) 



PSHE (Yr 8)                                  



PSHE (Yr 9) 







We adhere to the Key Stage 3 national curriculum which sets out the programmes of study for all subjects.  

When pupils arrive with us in Year 7 we allocate them to a group with mixed prior attainment and all their lessons remain with this group. We have found many positives in this approach and reference latest research to ensure we make the most of the opportunities it offers.  

Key Stage 3 Curriculum Map

PSHE and Character & Culture Learning Plans

At the end of year 9, pupils opt for the suite of subjects that they will follow through to the end of Year 11.  

At Key Stage 4, pupils study:  

  Options subjects (chosen in Year 9 and begun in Year 10). All are GCSE unless otherwise stated 

English Language 


Computer Science 

English Literature 


ICT / Creative iMedia 



Child Development 





Graphic Design


Character & Culture 

Engineering (this is particularly relevant to Lancashire industry) 



Food Preparation and Nutrition 


(can be studied extra-curricular) 




Further Maths
(can be studied extra-curricular) 


BTec Performing Arts 


(can be studied extra-curricular) 


















Key Stage 4 is rigorous and focuses on the high uptake of Ebacc subjects (Sciences, Languages and Humanities). Other options are relevant to major employers in the county including BAE Systems, Leyland Trucks, Westinghouse Nuclear Fuels, Rolls Royce and the shale gas industry.  


All of our predominantly spacious, bright classrooms are equipped with whiteboards, visualisers and mini wipeable whiteboards for pupil use. Pupils can, and are encouraged to, use mobile technology with supervision from the teacher to enhance their learning.  

Time to develop and review the curriculum is provided every week to middle leaders. They meet and work collaboratively on this. Classroom delivery and pedagogy is a high priority in the professional development programme of the staff. This is overseen by the Deputy Headteacher with the support of a Lead Practitioner in Teaching and Learning.  


Each subject has developed a long-term plan (LTP) that maps out their delivery of content from Year 7 to 11. This is shared with pupils. The LTP is broken down into schemes of learning (SOL) each underpinned by 'BIG’ questions that initiate thought and discussion and act as a hook from which to ‘hang’ other, feeder questions to explore.  

We promote ‘quality first teaching’ for all, asking that teachers plan thoroughly, pitch challenge high and scaffold learning so that all pupils can aim for excellence. 

To further address issues of disadvantage for pupils who are eligible for Pupil Premium funding we: 

  1. Ensure their books are marked first to constantly refresh ourselves about who these students are 
  2. Identify them on our seating plans 
  3. Challenge them relentlessly to reduce their gaps in knowledge 
  4. Seat them strategically according to our judgement of what will help them progress 
  5. Talk to them and question to get to know them more and remove any barriers to learning  

Teachers are aware of strategies they may need to implement for individual pupils as a result of pupil premium, prior attainment or special educational needs for example.  

When you go into our classrooms you may see a wide variety of delivery styles. Subject matter will be presented clearly and introduced through ‘The Big Question’. Teachers provide challenge by asking additional questions and scaffolding appropriately for the needs of their learners. They respond to misconceptions and use visualisers and interactive whiteboards to provide models, use dual coding, co-construct answers, model expectations and demonstrate how to approach tasks. They introduce new material in coherent steps and guide student practice, giving feedback along the way.

Teachers recognise that ‘on the spot’, verbal feedback can be the most impactful. Content is regularly reviewed to help pupils to commit it to memory and teachers use a variety of methods to systematically check understanding and retention e.g. low stakes testing, homework tasks, class discussion, online questioning packages. Assessment of progress is regular and informs teaching. Pupils are given dedicated improvement and reflection time (DIRT) and are expected to respond to written feedback in green pen when their teacher’s feedback warrants it.  

The knowledge being gleaned from each SOL is assessed by means of homework, low stakes testing and end of unit tests. Pupils track their progress using personal learning checklists (PLCs).

We use a simple ‘behaviour for learning’ model referred to as ‘warn, move, remove’ to ensure that all pupils are working well in lesson and disruption is eradicated


All pupils study personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons in a series of whole school PSHE days. Sex and relationship education is delivered predominantly through this programme with topics such as ‘positive relationships’, ‘consent’ and ‘sexual health’; aspects of this are also covered in Science and RE. PSHE lessons also impact on pupils’ understanding of British values as an aspect of their personal development and this fundamental understanding of citizenship is also found throughout the curriculum and extra-curricular activities.  

Careers guidance 

All pupils in all year groups receive careers guidance. We have access to a part time school careers adviser. Pupils can self-refer for an appointment and equally, staff can refer pupils. There are many forms of careers advice open to pupils throughout the school year e.g. guest speakers, assemblies, 1:1 appointments prior to choosing options, careers fayres, etc.  

Character and Culture 

Each afternoon pupils are engaged in a twenty minute ‘character and culture’ lesson or activity to develop skills in leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication (LORIC). These include a weekly assembly with key messages and celebrations of academic and pastoral achievement, a challenge related to literacy, numeracy or general knowledge, discussion topics, Year 11 additional numeracy and literacy support and the reading activity mentioned earlier.  

By engaging in LORIC activities, pupils can work towards PiXL Edge Awards, nationally recognised achievements which provide valuable evidence of LORIC skills to colleges, universities and employers. 


All pupils read widely and often to develop their vocabulary and enhance their progress. In lessons this is encouraged through the use of relevant, topical, non-fiction materials. In English lessons in Years 7-10, the first 10 minutes of every lesson are devoted to private reading, the comprehension of which is tested through the use of the Accelerated Reader programme. A bespoke library supports this aspect of the curriculum. In Character and Culture reading is developed by all pupils engaging with a non-fiction text read by the teacher, examining the vocabulary therein and discussing the topic to which also widens cultural capital. 

Teacher Reading Aloud 

At Penwortham Priory Academy we have introduced a Character and Culture session where the teacher reads a pre-prepared non-fiction passage to the pupils so developing reading comprehension, building vocabulary and enhancing the social and emotional experiences of the pupils. Reading aloud helps pupils learn how to use language to make sense of the world; it improves their information processing skills, vocabulary, and comprehension. Research has shown that teachers who read aloud motivate pupils to read. ​

Teachers in every classroom teach reading comprehension almost every day.  In almost every school setting, pupils work with text. One of the most powerful tools a teacher can use when teaching literacy is to read aloud to pupils on a regular basis. ​

Reading Comprehension Benefits 

Pupils learn how to read by reading, but they learn how to read fluently by listening to fluent readers. Whilst Accelerated Reader is used extensively and shown to have a hugely positive impact at Penwortham Priory Academy, if pupils' only encounters with reading are solitary, they may not comprehend anything beyond literal facts. Hearing a story, however, lets children focus on its flow. They are free from wrestling with words they do not understand and can instead engage the material more emotionally.  ​

Academic Benefits

One of the key benefits of reading aloud to pupils is that it stimulates curiosity. Reading fiction or nonfiction about a concept or historic incident is likely to pique pupils' interest. ​

In addition, carefully scheduled ‘read alouds’ can give pupils background knowledge about a topic before they begin studying it in earnest. Pupils depend on this background knowledge to make sense of new materials and connect new information to their schemata. Reading aloud can make new topics and issues accessible in a way that focuses on the information, not on their reading ability. ​

Since a substantial amount of teaching reading comprehension involves vocabulary acquisition, reading aloud can introduce tier 2 and tier 3 words to pupils who may not have heard them before. When they hear words for the first time in a casual setting, pupils can ask questions, receive answers and participate in conversations. ​

The independent reading level of many pupils may lag behind their comprehension of advanced vocabulary and concepts. They may not be able to recognise words and read them on their own, but they have no problem understanding what the text says. By hearing more advanced texts read aloud, pupils gain access to information that interests them but may be beyond their reading level. ​

Social-Emotional Benefits

Research is clear about the social-emotional benefits of reading aloud, especially at the infant and preschool levels. However, the same is true for other ages as well, including high-school and college classrooms: reading aloud gives pupils a sense of comfort and acceptance. ​

Implementation of Read Aloud

Teachers collaboratively examine the PowerPoint resource before its delivery. Once with their C&C group, they introduce new vocabulary before reading the extract. They then read to the class and are encouraged to model close reading where they "think aloud" during a read aloud. Using this strategy, the teacher reads a word, sentence or paragraph and then stops reading to pose a question or make a connection: What does that word mean? What was the author thinking? That happened to me once! The teachers do not ask the pupils to participate; rather, this approach models the teacher's thought processes. Pupils see first-hand how a good reader successfully makes sense of a text.