The Opening Minds department at Whitley Academy is an integral part of our school community. We are committed to developing positive relationships, which are built on trust, high expectations and strong core values. We aim to deliver all core subjects through a small amount of teachers with the aim of easing transition between Primary and Secondary and through providing a cohesive, challenging curriculum where students can see links between subjects. Alongside the core curriculum, we aim to embed the schools core values to help develop lifelong skills in our students. We seek to develop skills that allow our students to access GCSE content as they move up through our inclusive school. The OM team aims to support our students with their understanding of their own strengths and how these can manifest into future career choices, as well as areas for development and a sense of responsibility and passion for wanting to learn, improve and progress.
Our Opening Minds link teachers consistently liaise with core team leaders to ensure schemes of work are up to date, appropriate and challenging.
Our schemes of learning focus on depth of learning, allowing opportunities for problem solving and deeper thinking with consistent exploration of the whole school core values. In-class assessments are regularly implemented into lessons in line with core team expectations to identify misconceptions and gaps in learning. Teachers are responsive in acting upon this and adapt lessons to address these misconceptions. Opening minds lessons are differentiated effectively with a focus on ‘teaching to the top’ to ensure all students are challenged and stretched to be ‘The best they can be.’ Where needed, in class interventions are implemented to support all students of all abilities. Teachers embed a range of teaching practices to allow students to access learning effectively (for example: promoting oracy, effective questioning, stretch and challenge, delivering effective feedback). Home learning is systematically planned and distributed to support learning taking place in the classroom. This home learning is also designed to foster our students’ creativity through project style- choice based- activities. Quality assurance is carried out regularly to develop key areas to ensure we are supporting our students to the highest quality.
- Students are well equipped with both academic and life skills to allow them to access the GCSE curriculum.
- Students develop effective relationships with staff and feel safe in the learning environments created.
- Students make good progress in their learning and are passionate and inspired to want to learn and progress.
- Students know their own strengths and areas for development and can talk about how they need to improve.
- Students see learning as a sequence and can develop and build on previous knowledge.
- Students can use their acquired knowledge in different contexts and see the links between ideas across the curriculum.