Our approach to learning

Students learn and develop the knowledge, understanding and skills they need for the future across a broad range of subjects. Lessons are designed to inspire and engage students, whilst at the same time ensuring that they are fully prepared to be successful in achieving the qualifications they need for the future.

We have the highest aspirations for all our students and they are constantly challenged to achieve their best. Lessons are typified by students actively learning, through individual, paired and group work tasks, but also through direct instruction and demonstration from teachers.

As well as supporting students’ academic progress, the all-round experience at the academy develops the character and personal qualities needed for life. Lessons aim to instil a lifelong interest and appreciation of areas such as sport and the arts, whilst our Shenley Horizons character programme supports the development of our six virtues; Respect, resilience, self-belief, altruism, integrity and kindness. 

Gifted, Able and Talented Students

All students are routinely provided with opportunities to deepen their knowledge during lessons and as part of our enrichment programme. They are set aspirational targets and are supported in achieving excellence through teaching, activities and resources that are scaffolding.

English as an Additional Language

Support for EAL (English as an Additional Language) is a core responsibility for all schools and here at Shenley Academy we take it very seriously. We seek to provide sustainable long term EAL provision for all our students by fully assessing each student individually on their reading, writing and oral proficiency in English. Our EAL lead will create an individualised action plan in liaison with the parent, student and teachers and take into account key factors such as attainment outcomes, level of proficiency in English, their first language and how long the student has been in the UK. Any additional support will target the individual needs of the student and will be complemented by Quality First Teaching from within the classroom. Strategies will include:

  • A language rich environment
  • A nurturing and safe environment in which the student can thrive and feel safe
  • Small group work which supports the acquisition and application of phonological knowledge
  • Visual timetables and organisers
  • An English language student buddy and an identified member of staff who speaks their home language
  • Visual word glossaries
  • Access to bilingual dictionaries
  • Access to online platforms such as IDL and Lexia which supports Literacy and Numeracy development

Students with special educational needs and/or a disability

The Inclusion team work closely with all staff to ensure students with complex/ additional needs are well catered for. Staff are kept informed of all students’ needs and the best strategies to support students effectively. Some students with Literacy and/ or Numeracy needs are withdrawn from lessons and are supported through targeted intervention. These are small group sessions where students can access the additional support they may need. All students’ progress is carefully monitored to ensure every student reaches their full potential.

You can find more information about the support which we provide for students with special educational needs and/or a disability by  clicking here

Key features of our curriculum

  • The timetable is mainly organised in to eight teaching groups where the average class size is 29 students.
  • For most lessons students are placed in teaching sets according to ability and potential (we use KS2 SAT scores, together with baseline assessments to assess potential). Teaching set placement is reviewed frequently following data captures.
  • Some subjects choose to teach in mixed ability groupings e.g. Dance, Drama, Music and Art and core entitlement to PE.
  • We have retained wide subject choice for all students when they choose their optional subjects; whilst enabling them to achieve the EBACC combination if it is appropriate. Our emphasis is on the development of skills so that students are prepared for the next stage of their academic study, apprenticeship program or employment when they leave the academy at 16.
  • Students make their GCSE and BTEC option choices at the end of Year 9.
  • Through partnerships with business and external organisations our students can experience the professional world in Birmingham and beyond: KPMG, CBSO (we are their main partner), The Birmingham Rep Theatre Company; the Outward Bound Trust; Birmingham University and Birmingham City Football Club.
  • A huge range of extra-curricular clubs operate across the academy; we aim for all students to commit to joining one of our many clubs in sports, performing arts and across the school.
  • All students can learn a musical instrument in KS3, at a cost to parents/carers.
  • All students can be part of the many shows and concerts which are run throughout the year by the Performing Arts teams: e.g. the summer musical in 2019 was ‘The Wizard of Oz’, with our next musical due to take place in the summer of 2021.
  • We hold Artsmark Gold, which recognises excellence in all areas of the arts.
  • We are the Sports Hub for the primary schools in our local area; and teams represent the academy in a range of sports.
  • We have outstanding facilities, which support the delivery of the curriculum:
  • We have ICT suites / facilities in maths, technology, media, art and design as well as dedicated ICT suites in Inclusion and the library (LRC).
  • 1 Apple Mac suite and a dedicated recording studio in Music
  • Fully equipped professional standard theatre.
  • Superb sports facilities with over 37 acres.
  • Outdoor learning spaces include an amphitheatre, covered outdoor dining courtyard, sitting areas, MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) and extensive play space.
  • The LRC (Learning Resource Centre) is open before school and after school, with a full-time librarian available to help and support students with their studies.
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