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English Department

The over-riding aim of our English curriculum is to ensure that each student, whatever their ability, reaches their full potential. We recognise the importance of developing students’ English and Literacy skills so that they can access the whole curriculum on offer at New Directions; students are provided with opportunities to develop their communication through reading, writing and the spoken word, equipping them with the skills required for life and work. The English Department strives to foster a positive attitude towards English by presenting it as an interesting, creative, challenging and useful subject; the topics and themes we explore promote fundamental British values and develop our students culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually through literature and language.

Throughout Key Stage 4, all of our students, regardless of their individual learning needs, will study for both Functional Skills and GCSE qualifications; every young person has a personalised programme of learning in English including differentiation in class, study clubs, homework or literacy intervention programmes such as Lexia and Ruth Miskin Phonics.

Functional Skills
We follow the Edexcel Functional Skills syllabus that ranges from Entry Level certificates to Level 1 and 2 accreditation. The focus of this course is on equipping learners with the basic skills they need to operate confidently, effectively and independently in education, work and everyday life. At each level, students have to complete three units: Speaking, Listening and Communication, Reading and Writing.

Throughout the course, students will develop a wide range of skills including comparing the ideas and presentation of texts, writing for a specified audience and purpose, and communicating and adapting language.

At present, our students follow the Cambridge IGCSE English syllabus. Depending upon students’ ability, they will be entered for either the core tier (C-G grade) or the extended tier (A*-C grade). This qualification is assessed in the following three units:

Mathematics Department

Aims and Objectives

Mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us through developing a young person’s ability to calculate, reason and solve problems of a mathematical nature.

It enables the young people to understand and appreciate relationships of the core components of Number and Algebra, Shape, Space & Measure and Data Handling in their everyday lives.

Through their growing engagement, knowledge and understanding, young people learn to appreciate the contribution made by many cultures to the development and application of mathematics.

The aims of mathematics are to:

New Directions uses a variety of teaching and learning styles in mathematics lessons. Our principal aim is to develop young people’s engagement, knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematics.

All students have 50 minute lessons, with 3 per week in Year 10 and 4 per week in Year 11.
Lessons are usually delivered following the three-part lesson; starter, main activity and plenary, although these can be broken into several parts and repeated throughout a lesson as required by the needs of our students. During these lessons we encourage young people to ask questions and relate the activities to real life situations.

They have the opportunity to use a wide range of resources such as word searches, maths puzzles, investigations, games, text books, worksheets and ICT.

Students use ICT in mathematics lessons to learn new concepts, practise new skills and to extend their knowledge of a topic. They also learn cross curricular ICT skills that can be applied towards Functional Skills qualifications in ICT at Entry Levels 1 to 3, Level 1 or Level 2.

Wherever possible, we encourage the children to use and apply their learning in everyday situations (Functional Maths).

Students who arrive at New Directions are often disengaged from school and study, and have frequently experienced a lack of success and achievement in their previous education.
During Year 10 and / or Year 11, most students will sit Functional Skills exams in mathematics at Entry Levels 1 to 3, Level 1 or Level 2, according to their ability.
They can sit up to 3 exams each year and can gain crucial early successes at the Entry Levels which helps them re-engage and ensures that their achievement is not totally reliant on a “final” exam result at the end of KS4.
They practice example papers and the question styles and approaches regularly and are then entered for a level appropriate exam when they have demonstrated they have the

At the end of Year 11, students can sit GCSE / iGCSE mathematics at Foundation or Higher level, according to their ability and engagement.
In all classes, there are children of different mathematical abilities. We recognise this fact and provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this through a range of strategies: setting differentiated work; group work; games activities; practical activities and paired work.

Group sizes are between 4 and 8 students, with one teacher and a teaching assistant as needed.
We use teaching assistants to support identified young people and to ensure that work and delivery are matched to the needs of individuals.

We also offer nurture groups for students with similar identified needs that are more tailored to certain learning styles and abilities.

Students are encouraged to be independent learners by using:

Food Technology Department

Food Technology is a subject that impacts everyone’s lives. Food Technology is part of the wider subject ‘Design Technology’. At New Directions we aim to improve the health of pupils, by helping to influence their eating habits. We hope to have our pupils using food creatively as a material for designing and making good quality food products.

We do this through increasing what constitutes a healthy sustainable diet, hygienic food preparation and storage methods. We also feel that it is important for pupils to increase their knowledge of food production its impact on both health and the environment. Our aim is that pupils leave New Directions equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for them to lead healthy lives by showing them how to plan, prepare balanced meals as part of a healthy diet.

Our curriculum lays a foundation for all students to experience food, learning cooking skills and aspects of healthy eating, consumer awareness and food safety, in order to become more independent and able to make informed choices now and in the future.

BTEC Level 1 & Level 2 Awards in Home Cooking Skills

Aims: This unit aims to give learners the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy cooking meals at home.

Learners will gain understanding of how to economise when planning meals to cook at home. The unit will encourage learners to transfer skills learnt to other recipes to continue cooking for themselves and their families and to inspire others by passing on their knowledge.
The unit is based on the chef Jamie Oliver’s proposition that being able to cook is an essential life skill which empowers people to make changes that have benefits to health and wellbeing.

The Art Department

The Art department aims to provide a structured learning experience that builds on the individual student’s prior knowledge, to enable each student to understand the importance of their own work. We aim to help students to develop their knowledge, technical skills and thinking skills to create works of art and grow as an individual in a supportive and nurturing environment that encourages safe risk taking.

Students use a variety of media and techniques, including painting, printing, sculpture and textiles. They learn about the work of other artists and use this knowledge to inform their work. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively as well as individually, and are given the opportunity to learn important skills and techniques in order for their work to be successful.

The department aims to expose students to new learning opportunities including trips out, cross curricular projects, participation in exhibitions and collaborative work with other creative professionals and organisations.

Students joining us will focus on learning about and experimenting with the formal elements of art and will work in a mixture of two dimensional and three dimensional techniques including painting and mixed media artwork. Students will initially work on a series of projects which aim to quickly build up self-confidence, knowledge and technical skills while being linked to the students own interests. Students are encouraged to be ambitious and imaginative, and to experiment with materials they may have not used before.

Towards the end of the year, students will self-assess their strengths and undertake a personal project.

The department currently delivers the BTEC in Art & Design at E3 and Level 1 and is introducing the GCSE short course for particularly gifted and talented students for year 11.
In year 11 we discuss careers in the creative industries and work on building a portfolio of work for progression post 16.

Environmental Science

At New Directions these practical qualifications are designed to help you gain the skills that you would need to work in the environmental sector, this means any job roles involving animals, plants and the outdoors.
Some examples of such job roles you could choose to progress to include: Landscape gardener, Dog handler, Horse groom, RSPCA inspector, Tree surgeon and many, many more!

A range of horticultural, fish and the aquatic environment and animal husbandry units are available.
You will have the opportunity to experience a range of practical activities taught on and off site.
Our aim is to introduce you to a varied programme of practical and written work with links to Maths and English to complement your learning of literacy and numeracy.

There is currently a shortage of skilled workers in the Environmental sector and therefore the chance of gaining an apprenticeship or employment is high.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways: by carrying out a range of practical skills as an ongoing assessment building a portfolio of written and illustrated evidence e.g. photographic evidence. The course is teacher assessed and there will be no final exam.

What accreditation will I get? A BTEC Entry Level 3 and/or Level 1 in Land Based Studies with possible progression on to other courses.

Business Studies

Introduction to Business is an opportunity for you to engage in discussion about the world around you. 

The BTEC Level 1 Introductory Certificate and Diploma in Business has elements of practical skills and tasks that encourage you to demonstrate what you can do.  Developing both transferable and sector skills, attributes and behaviours needed for progression into further study and eventually employment and to become responsible citizens who make a positive contribution in society.

Our aim is to enable you to experience a course which has both practical and written elements from the business perspective through educational visits and mentor workshops with cross curricular components linked to English, Maths and Vocational subjects.

What accreditation will I get?
You could get a BTEC Level 1 Introductory Certificate in Business
(Within the Level 1 you could achieve a; (P)Pass, (M)Merit, (D)Distinction))
In order to pass, you must complete two core and three sector units.

Course content:
Core A1 – Being organised
Core A2 – Developing a personal progression plan
Sector B5 – Finding out about a business in your area
Sector B7 – Branding a product
Sector B8 – Creating a visual display

This course involves a lot of practical work, and you will need to complete a range of units, be organised, take assessments that demonstrate your skills and keep a portfolio of your assignments. 

You will have to: