Sporting Stars Academy is committed to providing each student with a diverse education in a safe and supportive environment that promotes respect, motivation and excellence in learning for today and the future. We foster a collaborative working ethos, inviting parents, schools and the wider community to join us in assisting our students in their journey towards independence and success.
The Covid-19 pandemic has instigated change in all areas of our lives including our approach to schooling. We have made several significant alterations to our curriculum so that the experience we provide our students best meets these changing needs. New practicalities are required by all schools to support our national approach to managing education through the pandemic. We have therefore made adjustments to our curriculum. These adjustments are clearly noted on our curriculum website pages and may be subject to review over time as DFE guidance changes.
This area is explored informally with students through our daily interactions and pastoral time including form time, lunch and activity sessions. Formally we cover this area via GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature, for those who are unable to access these Qualifications we are able to offer them Functional Skills qualifications. Whilst not all students will access the formal literature examination they will all cover the set texts to expand and develop their knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Students also have the opportunity to develop their cultural, social understanding through the exploration of poetry and drama.
Functional English is also embedded throughout our BTEC courses, namely sport and health and social care. Literacy across the curriculum with a particular focus on reading is an area for further development. During form time students are encouraged to read and to expand their vocabulary via word of the day, playing scrabble, ‘hangman’ and creating epic word searches and crosswords for their fellow students. The use of positive challenge and competitiveness is particularly evident amongst the boys who’re eager to beat the scores of their peers.
GCSE mathematics is an integral part of the curriculum and is studied formally on a daily basis. In addition to this, functional maths is embedded within our BTEC courses and appears throughout both the PSHE programme and several of our enrichment opportunities available. The use of angles plus speed, distance and time is covered at the driving range and at the pool hall.
Our mathematics curriculum has been developed significantly since 2018 as the school has supported an unqualified teacher in the successful acquisition of qualified teacher status via the Straight to Teaching programme delivered in collaboration with TES Institute.
Students have developed a love of a subject that they have previously found difficult and are eager to embrace the teacher’s passion for themselves. He fosters an extremely safe learning environment and uses a wide range of visual and kinaesthetic learning techniques alongside traditional board games such a Monopoly to further their knowledge and understanding of real life mathematics.
We have previously delivered BTEC First (level 2) science at certificate level, however with the addition of a newly qualified science teacher we have made the switch to GCSE science synergy. Whilst we don’t have access to our own laboratory, we have forged links with Staffordshire University to deliver several aspects of science in the 21st century from forensics to the effects of gravity. In addition to this we work with the RAF and Alton Towers, accessing their key stage four science programmes that include; a museum tour and a meet and greet session with WW2 veterans, the sciences of forces and motion, a workshop on survival and the science of roller coasters.
Similarly to the development of our mathematics provision in school, Ashley has catapulted our science provision to another level and he captivates the students with his wild and wacky stories and experiments that range from exploding volcanoes to ‘fizzy’ ice, robots, rockets and tornadoes in a jar.
In addition to this science is covered during PSHE sessions around drugs and alcohol, the effects of smoking, sexual health and the impact of diet and exercise on the organs. Similarly, BTEC sport looks at the functions of the skeleton and the role that exercise plays.
Technology is utilised in the majority of lessons with the use of computers and the interactive ‘smart’ board, the latter being in use in three classrooms.
GCSE science promotes technology and spans a wide range of technological advances. Our BTEC programmes have ICT embedded within them and our partnership work with Alton Towers allows us to explore structure and design and system and controls, two interactive workshops that utilise vocational learning experiences for the students.
Human and Social
During our form time we provide the students a broad and balanced overview of life, utilising SMSMC. During this time the students have access to personal well-being, current affairs and personal safety.
Whilst we don’t formally assess or teach these sessions, we facilitate discussion, utilising news items or stories that are currently being covered in the soaps as a starting point.
In addition to this, we work consistently with a number of outside agencies that are both council and privately funded, these include STAR (teenage pregnancy), Catch 22 whose dominant focus is on personal safety and exploitation, the careers team, local colleges, the armed forces, the emergency services. Our visits to Alton Towers allow us access to their health and safety commitments as a leading tourist attraction. We also sponsor the training of a guide dog by the name of Dudley and help out with Concern Worldwide and their water appeal.
Formal assessment within this realm is furthered during BTEC health and social care and BTEC sport, with further vocational opportunities on offer according to the individual needs of the learners.
BTEC Sport forms the predominant focus of physical education although health and fitness is also covered in PSHE and BTEC Health and Social Care. In addition to this, the students are made aware of the importance of healthy eating and exercise during form time and with the food and drink choices encouraged at lunch. Students are also encouraged to cook and regularly adapt recipes to provide healthier pizzas, pasta dishes, the incorporation of fruit in their cooking to replace refined sugar e.g. banana and walnut muffins and low fat cheesecake.
Aesthetic and Creative
Home Cooking skills are part of our enrichment programme and the students have access to the kitchen throughout the school day. In addition to this we have linked with Stoke-on-Trent college through the careers programme to access taster sessions on the catering courses on offer to pre-16 learners in readiness for their post-16 choices.
Our art teacher has cultivated a love of drawing and creating new items through up-cycling. The art group are currently working on a project designed by Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board who’re running a campaign around neglect.
During the spring term the art group are due to complete a six week pottery course delivered at Trentham Gardens and this will be enhanced further with trips to Emma Bridgewater, Steelite and World of Wedgewood.
In the summer term there will be a focus on fashion through the ages and dried teabags will form the basis for a range of footwear designed using nature and animals with a link to Sophia Webster and WWF
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Experiences
We aim to enrich the experiences and opportunities of our school community via education and community based links. Our current opportunities are both formal and informal and include:
BTEC Health & Social Care – Cultural Diversity.
We explore the diversity of individuals in society from a wide range of different religious/secular backgrounds. Learners will explore different religious/secular groups and their beliefs and practices. We investigate the factors that influence equality of opportunity for individuals in society and the roles and responsibilities of service providers in relation to this. Related legislation, conventions, regulations, codes of practice and charters will also be investigated.
We explore the work of Concern Worldwide and how they’ve worked tirelessly for more than 40 years and are dedicated to reducing suffering and fighting hunger and poverty. Whilst covering their charitable programme we raise awareness of the needs of people less fortunate than ourselves and provide a monthly donation in support of their work.
Natwest provide our students with a range of financial based resources and guidance of financial inclusion. Part of our commitment to helping students plan for their future is to introduce them to money matters, identifying the importance of their ability to manage their money. They need to be confident that you can make the right choices, avoid bad debt, and make the best use of savings. Managing tight family budgets is a key issue for many people, simply making ends meet and paying for essentials can be a real challenge, particularly at life transition points such as setting up a home or starting a family. Understanding income and expenditure is the first step in managing your finances.
Visits to local supermarkets are a regular occurrence and the students are given a budget. We look at reduced items and the difference between use by and best before dates on perishable goods and how food can be cooked and stored to improve its longevity. Again this is linked to waste, the environment and world hunger.
Students consider the reasons why budgeting is so important, the key steps in setting up a bank account, the potential benefits of saving and different sources available when looking to borrow money and the potential cost of those sources.
A small group of our students are committed to completing conservation projects at Ballington Woods where they work together as a team to bring unworked and abandoned woodland into sustainable management, manage the woodlands along the canal/river towpath as exemplars and demonstration sites for sustainable woodland management, support land managers into environmental programmes. The students also learn how to create woodland animals out of natural materials found outside and place their creations throughout the woods for other visitors to enjoy.
Opened in 1991, Blackbrook Park is home for several hundreds of rare birds, mammals, rodents and other animal species and it strives to provide quality natural environment conditions for their life. It imitates their original habitat to enhance their natural behavior and reproduction. All this serves to protection and conservation of endangered and almost extinguished species out there.
Our commitment to expanding the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Multi- Cultural Experiences of our school community is ongoing and we are always looking for new and exciting opportunities that allow our students to experience life in the real world and to capture some truly magical and unforgettable moments that encourage, inspire, motivate, empower and delight them.