Curriculum Overview

At COLAI we are ambitious for every child, we believe that no matter what their starting point, all students can achieve. We view the curriculum as a seven-year programme including the completion of GCSE and Level 2 BTEC qualifications in year 11 and A Level and Level 3 BTEC qualifications in the sixth form.

We firmly believe that every student is entitled to a broad, balanced and creative curriculum and our students will study a broad range of subjects for as long as possible. We seek to nurture intellectually curious students with high aspirations and a love of learning. As such, we provide a programme of study which is both challenging and inspiring and seek to develop powerful knowledge and skills. Our curriculum across all key stages is sequenced so that students develop detailed knowledge and skills over time and these are revisited to support students to develop a robust conceptual understanding essential for the next phase of their educational study and the world of work. Our curriculum is underpinned by high expectations of literacy and numeracy and we maximise opportunities across all subjects for students to develop these key skills.

We believe everything that happens at the City of London Academy Islington contributes to a young person’s education and their capacity to learn. As such we have the highest standards for learning both in the classroom and outside of it and do everything we can to ensure excellent academic attainment of all students. We work to ensure that students have high aspirations and pride in their work, and that they take responsibility for their learning and personal development. Through the varied curriculum we also ensure that students have access to high quality careers education and PSHCE provision so they are all effectively prepared to make informed choices about their future.

Key stage 3 mastery curriculum

At key stage 3, our students follow a mastery curriculum, which is based on the central belief that all learners can learn all important academic content to a level of excellence. We believe that ability – rather than being a fixed quantity - is something that can be grown and developed through excellent teaching, and that outstanding achievement is the product of hard work, coupled with a meaningful programme of study.

In every lesson, our teachers reinforce an expectation that all students are capable of achieving high standards. The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention so that no student is left behind. Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep knowledge.

In a mastery curriculum model, classes move through topics at one pace until the vast majority reach an agreed level of competency, with a carefully considered benchmark for mastery. Our staff have used their subject-specific expertise and understanding of academic disciplines to create these benchmarks in skills and content. Our mastery curriculum is completely unique and whilst it has been methodically planned to build on learning at key stage 2 and ensure that the key content of the National Curriculum is covered at key stage 3, our staff have created a curriculum that challenges and inspires every student at COLAI. Our mastery approach supports them to make outstanding academic progress, whilst effectively preparing them for the next phase of their study at key stage 4.

This approach empowers students at COLAI to understand the key concepts, ideas and narratives that are central to building social capital: our curriculum serves as a clear pathway to higher education, the world of work and to civic participation.

Year 7 transition

Any students who need additional support will receive a personalised programme of interventions to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to access the secondary school curriculum. We work closely with our colleagues at primary schools to ensure that our curriculum at key stage 3 builds on the learning at key stage 2. We share expertise on the most effective intervention programmes and strategies to support the successful transition of our students into year 7.