Core Curriculum

Ark Academy is developing an exciting and challenging curriculum. Our pupils work longer hours than in a typical secondary school – 30 periods of formal classes a week and 29 for year 9 - and all pupils benefit from an extended curriculum.

We commit extra time to English and mathematics in every year group. This allows pupils to quickly attain the proficiency in literacy and numeracy that will enable them to address the broader range of subjects with confidence.

The overall education being provided for our students is much more than just the subject allocations described in the tables below. As well as the timetabled lessons detailed, we provide year 7 students with a Lexia reading session for an hour every Monday and an IT Induction and fluency sessions. In both key stages 3 and 4, students are offered a space for private study and homework help clubs each day, including provision from the pupil support department. In key stages 4 and 5 (and in some cases for year 9), subject specific study support and ‘drop in’ academic support clinics are run daily, on a termly rotation.

In addition to this, all students have 25 minutes of form time and the option of one hour of enrichment every day. The school day runs from 8.30 to 4.35pm to accommodate these extra lessons (except for Friday when we finish at 2.45pm). We emphasise the wider skills of citizenship and personal, social and health education across the curriculum but in particular during these sessions.

We discuss individual curriculum pathways with pupils and their parents particularly in year 9 and year 11, as students prepare for the transition to Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form, College or Apprenticeships.

At all times our priority is to ensure every single student makes progress and achieves their potential, following the pathway of their choice. Our specialist and dedicated staff ensure that lessons meet individual needs, supported by the best information technology and teaching and learning resources.

Key Stage 3: Years 7 – 9

In Key Stage 3 we offer a rich and varied curriculum, designed to engage students and prepare them for GCSEs, A Levels, and university. The curriculum helps us to fulfil our pledge that we will, ‘get students ready to cope with whatever life may throw at them.’ We place a strong emphasis on English and mathematics, with six hours a week of English in years 7 & 8, and five hours of English in year 9. Mathematics is taught five hours a week for each year. This allows us to make sure every student has the academic foundations they need. However we also give significant time to practical subjects such as physical education and design technology, and the expressive arts such as music, drama and art itself. We are developing a range of talents in our students. All students study at least one Modern Foreign Language in Key Stage 3, either French or Spanish. We want to give every student the opportunity to study a language at GCSE level should they wish to do so.

How many lessons of each subject in a week?

Subject Number of Lessons
English 6 (Y7/8); 5 (Y9)
Mathematics 5
Science 4
Modern Foreign Languages (French or Spanish) 2
Geography 2
History 2
Art 1
Expressive Arts: Drama & Music 1 (Y7)
Drama 1 (Y8/9)
Music 1 (Y8/9)
Physical Education 2
Design Technology (Graphics/Resistant Materials/Textiles/Food) 2
Religious Education 1
PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education 1

Download the Year 7 curriculum guide for parents here

Download the Year 8 curriculum guide for parents here

Download the Year 9 curriculum guide for parents here


Key Stage 4: Year 10 & 11

Our primary focus at Key Stage 4 is to ensure students study a challenging and valuable GCSE curriculum which prepares them well for A Level study and attending the University of their choice. Students will be exposed to a more grown up, sophisticated study of each of their chosen GCSE subjects.

Subjects at Key Stage 4 are separated into two categories: Core and Optional.

Core subjects are compulsory and will be studied by all students. Students may study more than one core subject depending on their pathway. This is largely based on their Key Stage 3 results, but it also affected by their progress through year 10.

Optional subjects have been chosen by students. The majority of students study three optional subjects and some study four. Again, this is largely dependent on their Key Stage 3 results.

Year 10 & 11 Core Provision

Subject Number of GCSEs Lessons per week
English 1 or 2, depending on pathway 5
Mathematics 1 or 2, depending on pathway 5 (May include Additional Maths)
Science 1, 2 or 3, depending on pathway 3 (Entry level or single science)              

6 (Additional/Triple Science)

RE 1 2
PE None - subject is not examined 2
PSHE/ Careers None - subject is not examined 1


Year 10 & 11 Options Provision (each worth one GCSE unless otherwise stated)

History Food
Geography Resistant Materials (Year 11 only)
French Textiles (Year 11 only)
Spanish Graphics
Art Business Studies
Drama Media Studies
Music PE
Performing Arts  

​​​Download the Year 10 curriculum guide for parents here:

Part 1: click here

Part 2: click here

Part 3: click here

Download the Year 11 curriculum guide for parents here:

Part 1: click here

Part 2: click here

Part 3: click here

Key Stage 5: Year 12 & 13

Our Sixth Form opened in September 2015 and we now have a fully-fledged and thriving year 12 and 13. Students in Ark Academy Sixth Form are exposed to a sophisticated academic programme encompassing between 3 and 4 A-Level subjects. In addition we offer two professional pathways qualifications entitled ‘Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Business’ and ‘Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Science’. We also offer students an opportunity to complete the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze or Silver qualification.

Each subject taken has 6 periods per week and professional pathways have 15 periods per week. The remaining periods are allocated to independent study. Having study periods and two exclusive, designated study rooms is a great privilege of being a sixth former at Ark. Our students welcome the opportunity to have two rooms for their exclusive use where they can study without interruption, using school lap tops, focussing on reading and homework which needs to be done well and on time.

Of course our primary focus at Key Stage 5 is university preparation. Ark Academy will support every student in choosing the right university pathway and career with confidence. We know that the right university degree and career will probably every student a happier, more prosperous, and more enlightened person. We run a comprehensive tutor support programme with daily tutor sessions and a weekly PSHE & Careers / University preparation lesson.

For more detail please read the curriculum overviews below:

Download the Year 12 curriculum overview here

Download the Year 13 curriculum overview here