Curriculum Rationale & Principles
Jasper City School utilisies split curricula. The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum, also known as the School of Tomorrow (SOT) curriculum is studied for core curriculum subjects Maths, English Grammar, English Literature & Creative Writing, and Spelling (Word Structures). The SOT curriculum along with the National Framework informs the core subjects of Science, History, Geography and Citizenship. Expanded subjects – P.E (Dance), Art, Design & Crafts, I.T./Computer Science, PSHE, Languages, Music, Singing and Drama, are informed by the National Framework and other curricula.
We have chosen the ACE/SOT curriculum as our core curriculum since:
It has Biblical truth at its centre and instils the character of Christ in the learners.
It provides excellent academics; supplying knowledge, understanding and wisdom. The Mathematics and English courses are rigorous, providing learners with an English grammar education.
The method of learning is differentiated; meeting your child at their level of proficiency and ability, which eliminates failure, fuels accelerated learning and results in success!
ACE has developed a system to facilitate differentiated learning with children on different levels within one classroom. Learning, in the ACE system, depends upon a number of interdependent factors. In order to explain these factors, the illustration of a donkey pulling a man on a cart is used and a series of 'laws' formulated.
The following Five Laws of Learning sum up the ACE academic philosophy:
1. How heavy is the load? - Level.
The learner must be on a level of curriculum where he/she can perform. Chronological age only tells you when a child was born. Ability, not age, must determine the academic performance level. Biblical Principle - all children are different… "So we, being many...having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us..." (Romans 12v5-6)
4. How hungry is the donkey? - Measurement.
The pupil's learning must be measurable. When the learner completes a unit he/she reviews and takes the pre-unit test and then the end of unit test - not when the class or teacher is ready, but when he/she is ready. Biblical Principle - Measurement of results relates to accountability; "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required..." (Luke 12 v48)
2. How long is the stick? - Goals.
The learner must set achievable goals he/she can complete in a prescribed period of time. Individual achievement is not an accident. It is a planned objective. Goal setting is a basic management success principle. Biblical Principle - Reflect good judgement; "For which of you...sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost?” (Luke 14v28)
3. How effective are the controls? - Motivation and Control.
The learner must be controlled and motivated to assimilate, use, or experience the material. In the ACE programme, the student does not advance until he/she has actually mastered each segment of material. Biblical Principle - Motivation is that inner desire prompted by the concerned teacher. Control acknowledges the necessity for discipline, guidance and responsible leadership; "Train up a child in the way he should go..." (Proverbs 22v6) and "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord..." (Colossians 3v23)
5. How big is the carrot? - Reward.
The pupil's learning must be rewarded. Most people thrive on achievement, children are no exception. Through consistent measurable achievement, the child earns privileges and rewards. Biblical Principle - Reward is the proper recognition for the student's effort; "Reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3v 13-14).
In Accelerated Christian Education, the working philosophy is called controlled motivated learning with quality control that reduces drop-outs and eliminates failure. A prime method of academic learning in core subjects is achieved by children working through workbooks (a unit of work) in various subjects, reading supplied texts, completing sentences & statements, answering questions, identifying correct words, linking words with definitions, writing sentences, paragraphs and short essays, doing experiments, searching dictionaries, solving mathematical problems, using computers, collaborating on designs, creatively expressing, reasoning while constructing and in many other ways.
There are frequent short (bite size) tests throughout each unit, leading up to the pre-unit test at the end of the workbook, where the child assesses his/her own understanding of the work. If he/she passes the pre-unit test (pass mark 90%) he/she will proceed, the following day, to the unit test. If passed, this will demonstrate mastery of the material. Progression to the next workbook/unit is only permitted when mastery of the current work has been clearly demonstrated (known as mastery learning). Measuring the child’s learning is a great strength of the core curriculum programme.
Before a child, who can read, starts to learn at Jasper City School they take a diagnostic test in each core subject in order to be prescribed with a level of curriculum that meets his/her ability. If any gaps (missing blocks) in a child’s learning are identified, then these gaps are covered first. The child is then ready to progress at a curriculum level that he/she can perform in.
A child coming into Year Reception class takes the Reading Readiness test to ascertain just what the child knows up to this point. They then follow the ABC’s learning to read & write course. If a child from Year 2 upwards is not able to read fluently and therefore not able to take a diagnostic test, then he /she may take the phonics remedial course (24 hours of teaching) before they progress on a prescribed level of curriculum.
Children who have been identified as having a special educational need, with or without a statement, and/or a learning & physical disability is admitted on an individual basis. If we are able to meet the need, they too, are diagnostically tested using established and standardised tests appropriate to their identified need. They are integrated into regular classes as appropriate according to their EHC plan. As the school develops we will employ a SENCo and SEN support assistant.
The curriculum and its delivery will improve:
The overall grades that pupils achieve in their assessments and qualifications.
Student’s character, confidence and ability to navigate successfully in different societal groups.
Young peoples’ outlook on life – that all things beneficial are possible.
The desire, ability and reality for KS4 and College students to enter into FE and HE institutions to realise their dreams.
The prospects of professional employment for school, college or university leavers.
At Jasper City School, we will give parents and learners a choice of qualifications at General Certificate level (NQF level 2 qualification). Both the ICCE & IGCSE’s (from 2021) will be offered in years nine to eleven.
The ICCE is a comparable Christian qualification to current conventional qualifications and is accepted by employers, colleges and universities in the UK and worldwide. It is a baccalaureate style qualification and a summative assessment governed by the ICCE Board who provide moderation and training. The UCAS Handbook includes details of the ICCE.
In 2011, the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) performed a benchmarking project of the ICCE to Cambridge International Examinations O’ and A’ levels, and have rated the General and Advanced Certificate of the ICCE as comparable to C.I.E. O’ and A’ levels. Also, the Department for Education includes the ICCE General Certificate (with a score of 80% or above) and the ICCE Advanced Certificate (any score), in the list of qualifications that are deemed equivalent to GCSE grades A*-C in maths and English for the purposes of prior attainment. This means that pupils who arrive at a 16-19 provider or college holding these qualifications will not be required to study English and maths further to meet the condition of funding (June 2015).