‘The ability to dream about the future, while being inspired in the present to reach those dreams’.

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The Curriculum

The Aspirations Framework

The Aspirations Framework provides a research grounded, tried and tested framework to unlock students unending academic, personal and social potential. The Aspirations Framework was developed by Dr. Russell Quaglia, over a period of 25 years, consisting of research and practical application in schools in the USA and world-wide. It is centred on the development of three Guiding Principles: Self-Worth, Engagement and Purpose. The three guiding Principles are lived out through 8 conditions that make a difference. The 8 conditions are: Belonging, Heroes, Sense of Accomplishment, Fun and Excitement, Curiosity and Creativity, Spirit of Adventure, Leadership and Responsibility, Confidence to Take Action.

In order to generate a truly inspirational learning experience we believe that a curriculum that blends together a diverse range of different learning opportunities is needed. At the Space Studio we have been able to bring together the GCSE suite that all students will need to compete in the marketplace with an innovative curriculum strand focused on developing skills for success in the work place. We believe that this provides a unique and dynamic learning environment suited to learners who are already independent and creatively minded.

It is important to be clear that a large portion of our students’ time is spent in a more ‘traditional’ Classroom setting as preparation for examinations is essential. It is expected that our students will develop and apply knowledge learned in these lessons to real life problem solving exercises. We weave state of the art resources, materials and approaches to teaching to support our learners in the classroom and we use our classroom sessions as starting points which lead into a wide range of different learning experiences (see later sections).

Every student has time dedicated to Core project work. This is designed to extend, consolidate and apply learning from subject areas. We see our Core Projects as a central thread that allows our students to develop those skills that are key to success both in industry and in further education. Project based learning requires students to design, plan and carry out a series of extended projects that produce a publicly exhibited output such as a product or publication. Each Core Project poses a key question or hypothesis for students to investigate in a small team working together to generate products and then present their work to peers and invited guests. Through this process we support the development of those core “soft skills” that employers are demanding to see.

Qualifications

The fundamental aim of the Space Studio Banbury is to develop high level, relevant skills and knowledge, that leads to both a real love and enjoyment for learning as well as solid qualifications that open doors in future educational and employment choices both at GCSE and A-level.

KS4 (Years 10 and 11)

At GCSE we build our curriculum around the essential core subjects that all students are expected to study: English, maths and the sciences. At SSB we expect all students to study the three separate sciences (biology, chemistry and physics as we are a specialist provision for maths and science. To broaden and support our core offer our GCSE students also study a language and a humanities subject. Our offer for new Year 10 students is therefore as follows:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Maths
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Astronomy
  • Either Spanish or French
  • Either History or Geography

We also expect all students to participate in non-examined PE sessions as part of their entitlement curriculum.

It should be noted that this curriculum offer is that followed by the current Year 10 and will be the model taken forward for 2017/18. The current Year 11 curriculum is slightly different as all of our students study Geography but only a number study a language. In Year 11 at the moment our students also have the option of Computer Studies or Product design, and Astronomy or Media studies.

We are continually looking at courses as they become available and as a result our curriculum offer is constantly be reviewed to present the best range of subject options for our students.

Each lesson is 1 hour in length

  • Year 10 core = 4 lessons maths, 2 lessons biology, 2 lessons chemistry, 2 lessons physics and 4 lessons English (split 2 and 2 Language and Literature)
  • Year 10 options = 2 lessons for the language and 2 lessons for the humanities option= 4 lessons in total
  • Year 10 Core project = 3 lessons
     
  • Year 11 core = 4 lessons maths, 2 lessons biology, 2 lessons chemistry, 2 lessons physics and 4 lessons English (split 2 and 2 Language and Literature)
  • Year 11 options = Astronomy, Media, computing or DT = 2 lessons per week each
  • Year 11 Core project = 4 lessons (except for those studying German = 2 lessons core project and 2 lessons German)


Prep & Electives: Space Studio Banbury learning goes on until 5pm. This gives us the ability to provide a number of sessions during period 6 (3.45pm to 5pm) aimed at supporting our students through their Prep work. We also use period 6 to provide Elective sessions; these are either teacher or student led activities and clubs which extend learning, skills and socialisation.   

Technology Enhanced Learning: Space Studio Banbury is committed to delivering teaching and learning through technology. The challenge is ensuring that the technology is used to provide 21st Century learning. Technology is used to communicate and present ideas, to gather and process information, to record activities and progress. We live in the clouds; that is the Google cloud, and we use tools such as Google Classroom to help store, support and extend our teaching. We have multiple sets of chrome books and i-pads which students can sign out at any time and we use these in lessons, in project sessions or simply wherever and whenever students need them.

PSHE: All students engage in a programme which is mainly delivered through Assemblies, outside speakers from key groups such as the rescue services and through taught sessions during tutorial time. We augment this program with visits aimed at extending our students understanding of the world around them and the opportunities it offers. Examples of PSHE modules include; ‘British Values’, ‘Radicalisation’, ‘Gender Identity’, ‘Consent’ and ‘Risk’.

Project Based Learning

As previously stated ‘Project Based learning’ refers to students designing, planning, and carrying out an extended project that produces a publicly-exhibited output such as a product, publication, or presentation. We believe that Project Based Learning is a very important learning strategy as it engages students in their learning, helping them to develop essential skills.

Core Projects are supported by staff who work alongside the project teams to help them develop the skills of team-work and to structure their understanding, giving the most gentle ‘nudge’ when needed to keep them on track towards generating exceptional pieces of work.

Other provision

The Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of young people is a shared responsibility across the school. The Aspirations Academies Trust ethos makes a significant contribution to this. In all subjects aspects of SMSC are delivered as well as through our assembly, visits and tutorial programme. We ensure that our students have ample opportunity to question the world around them and to understand the big issues that impact on their lives.

The Space Studio Banbury curriculum offers the perfect blend ensuring our students have the information, skills and emotional maturity needed to meet the ever changing demands of the information age. We also know that the education of each of our students is a partnership between the student, their parents, external project partners and the school. If you are a new or potential parent or student and you wish to discuss the structure of our curriculum and the opportunities it opens up please contact the Head of School (Mr David Turner).

KS5 (Years 12 and 13)

The sixth form curriculum is followed by students in Years 12 and 13. The sixth form programme is made up of academic courses following the A-level route. Students who have not reached the required level at GCSE in an English qualification and in maths are supported through their retakes in Year 12 (this is currently set at a Grade C but will be a grade 4 or 5 as the new national grading system is put in place).

Most students follow three A level courses, although there is a provision for students to follow other routes (for example Maths & Further Maths alongside two other A-levels for students with the ability to cope with four subjects).

Our core offer at the Space Studio revolves around the sciences and maths, biology, chemistry, physics and the maths and further maths A-levels, but this is not the limit of our offer. Space Studio Banbury is co-located on the Banbury Aspirations Campus alongside Banbury Academy and through this link we have the ability to offer a wide range of other A-levels such as: English, languages, history, geography, design, art, economics, philosophy and ethics, law and many more. The majority of our students take at least 2 of the core science and maths A-levels and then either keep it purely science with their 3rd choice or augment this focus with a more eclectic mix available at Banbury Academy. Irrespective of their choice of A-level combination our sixth form students play a leading role in the life of the Space Studio and study here during their private study periods.

In addition, all year 12 students are involved in the Aspirations Employability Portfolio (AEP) where they work in collaboration with employers on real-life projects. These projects currently take place on a Tuesday. Examples of projects we are doing this year include: designing a new station at Kidderminster; working on a new tunnel for Heathrow; rebuilding a machine which stamps the date on eggs. We are indebted to our colleagues from industry who give up their time voluntarily to support these exciting projects.

Year 13 have core project sessions (four hours per week) which are similar to the KS4 sessions but are more expansive in their design and scope.

Again we are constantly looking to develop our offer at A-level and this includes the possibility of BTEC level 3 qualifications in the coming year. We will update this information once we have evaluated these new courses in terms of how they best suit our students’ needs.