Core Curriculum

Our curriculum model is based on the values as outlined in the Ark Academy DNA. Depth for breadth confirms our emphasis on firm foundations in English, mathematics and science which are supported by a broad range of subjects throughout KS3 and a balanced option process in KS4.

With 30 periods per week of formal classes (55minutes per lesson) we are able to provide every student with a rich and varied curriculum, supplemented by an extended curriculum including both enrichment sessions and study support. In Year 7 we provide 7 periods per week and 6 in Year 8 of English to support the development of literacy. This builds on the work of primary schools in grammar and vocabulary development and accuracy of writing, skills that we know we need to spiral through the curriculum. We know the increasing complexity of language in the more rigorous GCSEs causes access problems for students with low literacy levels.

In addition to this, all students have 25 minutes of tutor time, Monday - Thursday and a weekly PSHE lesson (55 minutes). PSHE supports a wide range of issues from relationships to careers. Homework clubs provided Monday to Friday to support independent learning. The pupil support department also provides both targeted HW support and daily drop ins available to students who are having difficulty accessing homework, or simply getting started. All students have access to optional enrichment programme that runs everyday to 4.35pm.


Pupils with disabilities and SEN

Children at Ark Academy are taught an aspirational curriculum that allows for full inclusion. Our teaching is differentiated to meet the needs of all of the children attending the academy, through the use of quality-first teaching strategies and for certain children, Individual Education Plans. A small, complimentary curriculum runs alongside our core English and mathematics teaching, focusing on learning deficits that are identified through our rigorous analysis of children’s reading ages and present- and past- attainment. More information can be found in our SEND Information Report.


Key Stage 3: Years 7 – 9

In Key Stage 3, in addition to a strong focus on English, mathematics and science, our students also experience a range of practical and expressive subjects including design technology, PE, RE, art, music and drama every week. All students study either French or Spanish in KS3 and we strongly encourage students to continue with this language through to GCSE. This balanced diet ensures they develop into rounded individuals, with a range of strengths and talents. Most importantly, the key stage 3 curriculum contains real challenge and rigour, and builds the academic foundations that our students will need to go on to success at GCSE, A-Level and University.

How many lessons of each subject in a week?

Subject Number of Lessons
English 7 (Y7); 6 (Y8); 5 (Y9)
Mathematics 5
Science 4
Modern Foreign Languages (French or Spanish) 3 (Y7); 2 (Y8/9)
Geography 2
History 2
Design Technology/Art 2 (Y7); 3 (Y8/9)
Expressive Arts: Drama & Music 1 (Y7)
Drama 1 (Y8/9)
Music 1 (Y8/9)
Physical Education 2
Religious Education 1
PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education 1

Year 7

Download the Year 7 curriculum guide for parents here

To view our Year 7 Virtual Parents Information Evening please click below



Download the Year 8 curriculum guide for parents here

Download the Year 9 curriculum guide for parents here


Key Stage 4: Year 10 & 11

In Key Stage 4, students are able to choose three optional subjects in addition to the core programme. The vocabulary of each subject, the difficulty of the concepts, the expectations in terms of homework and revision, is unapologetically demanding. Core subjects - English, maths science, RE, PE and PSHE - are compulsory and studied by all students. Students may also study a different number of core subjects depending on their pathway e.g. triple science. This is largely based on their Key Stage 3 results but is also affected by their progress through year 10.Three optional GCSE subjects are chosen by students, including a range of humanities, languages, creative and practical subjects. Students are very well informed about the benefits of an academic pathway such as the EBacc, all students take history or geography and are strongly encouraged to take a modern language and/or a heritage language. We also encourage students taking one practical/creative subject. All of the options subjects offered at Ark Academy meet the qualification requirements for best 8 subjects.

Year 10 & 11 Core Provision

Subject Number of GCSEs Lessons per week
English 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 Product Design
Geography Business Studies
French PE
Performing Arts  

​​​Year 10

Download the Year 10 Curriculum Overview for parents here


Year 11

Download the Year 11 Curriculum Overview for parents 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. All Students follow linear A levels in three subjects. In addition we offer two professional pathways qualifications, a Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Business and in Science. Some students following the professional pathways programme are also (year 12) taking core maths. Each A Level 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 rooms for their exclusive use where they can study without interruption, in addition to the library, focussing on reading and homework which needs to be done well and on time.

We offer all year 12 students an Ark Diploma, which awards personal development through extra-curricular activities, the ‘Civitas Hour’, leading societies and clubs, community outreach and “off specification” learning. The Ark Diploma appeals to universities because it is evidence that students are active and well-rounded young people – someone universities would want on their campuses. In addition to this, we offer our students an opportunity to take the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze or Silver qualification.

Our primary focus at Key Stage 5 is university preparation. Ark Academy supports every student in choosing the right university pathway/ high level apprenticeship and career with confidence. The programme of Mindset through Y12 PSHE and daily tutor time leading into progression choices in Year 13 is of a very high standard. Students are challenged to think deeply about their future choices.

For more detail please read the curriculum overviews below:

Download the Year 12 curriculum overview here

Download the Year 13 curriculum overview here