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Dixons McMillan Academy

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Powerful knowledge

Curriculum Principles

At Dixons Academies Trust, we are always striving toward our mission of challenging social and educational disadvantage in the North. Dixons McMillan Academy is no different, and we aim to create a school where everyone is welcome and everyone succeeds. We believe that this success will be guaranteed by the core purpose of any school – the curriculum we offer and how we aim for it to be one nationally renowned for its academic rigour.

As an academy within the Trust, our curriculum is aligned to a set of common principles which are underpinned by our mission. We do this by putting into practice the research of Professor Michael Young and others and ensuring that our lessons deliver powerful knowledge: knowledge which is specific to the domain of each individual subject, influenced by the most up-to-date research, and therefore the best that is currently taught and known. We believe that Powerful Knowledge is cognitively superior to that which is needed on a day-to-day basis and that it transcends and liberates students from their daily experience. Our academy is diverse like the modern Britain which our students will go on to inhabit, and so we embrace and value Powerful Knowledge from a variety of cultures and traditions.

We believe that skills and knowledge are not mutually exclusive, and skills which are subject-specific are paramount to be able to properly use the knowledge we teach in order to navigate the world around them – whether that be in progression to higher education or in their future employment. These are placed within intelligently sequenced curriculum subject pathways that are planned horizontally and vertically so that it is not just what a student has to know, but why they have to know it.

You can view the Trust’s curriculum principles by clicking here.

Our Working Week

At Dixons McMillan, students attend over a longer working week, with 30x 50 minute lessons and 4x 30 minute Collective Learning sessions, where students are taught key knowledge and skills as a year group across the core subjects. On a Friday, students attend a longer morning session which is 50 minutes long, known as Cultural Studies. In this session, students learn more about the world around them, tackling some of the big issues of day’s current affairs. Students will also learn more about civic responsibility and how to help improve the communities we live in.

We also provide a range of extra-curricular opportunities for students, with all students in Key Stage 3 taking part in elective sessions where students will learn a skill such as First Aid or Sign Language, and achieve a recognised external qualification. Many subjects also run a number of educational visits in order to broaden students’ horizons and to enrich their taught lessons. All students in Year 9 will also undertake The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Bronze Award level within a timetabled lesson, which will allow students to further their personal development through developing a skill, taking part in physical activity, and volunteering in the local community – along with planning, training and completing an expedition. In Key Stage 4, students

Curriculum Pathway

We believe that every student should have the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects across their secondary school years so that they can make informed decisions about their future educational and employment options. We believe that these opportunities should be inclusive to all students.

All students at Dixons McMillan Academy will study the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, along with studying Spanish and RE to GCSE level. Students will all study History and Geography at Year 7 and Year 8, and then will all continue to study GCSE History and Geography into Year 9. Students will then have the experience of a year on both courses to decide which of the two to continue to further study. We believe that it is just as important that students also have an experience and opportunity to study a range of vocational qualifications in subjects such as PE, Music, Art, Drama, DT, Textiles, and Computing. These vocational qualifications will enable students to develop their independence and resilience as learners whilst also ensuring they have an experience of these varied fields of study.

Focus on Literacy

At Dixons McMillan, we believe that “to read is to fly”. Those who have developed their literacy skills and become excellent readers will also be excellent writers and go on to academic and future success in their lives. All students at Dixons McMillan have daily sessions with their advisor, where DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) is a key component. Students are expected to always carry a reading book with them and are challenged to read increasingly more ambitious texts to aid their learning and future lives.

The Library (learning commons) and IT Desk are open to students before, during and after the normal academy day for homework support and independent study / reading.

click on play to view the SPARX video