Curriculum Key Stages 1 – 4

SchoolsCompany South & West Devon Academy aims to give all students access to a broad and balanced curriculum that is personalised to meet the needs of individual learners. Below is an outline of the curriculum for students attending our Dartington and Marldon site. Students who, for health reasons are taught at home and are dual registered with the academy, will follow the curriculum prescribed by their school.

KS1 and 2 Curriculum

We pride ourselves on providing a nurturing environment in the KS1/2 classroom. The curriculum offer is based upon the new National Curriculum and is focused on supporting the pupils in building their self-esteem and developing skills that will prepare them for successful transition to a more permanent placement. THRIVE, PSHCE, and Protective Behaviours are delivered alongside a core curriculum to ensure that all our pupils can access and make progress in learning. Learning Outside the Classroom is an integral part of the curriculum as it enables pupils to build confidence and resilience in outdoor settings. Every primary pupil is encouraged to set themselves both curriculum and personal targets each term. In spite of the fact that most of the children are brought into school by taxi, we are able to develop a positive working relationship with parents.

Key Stage 3 and 4 Curriculum


In KS3 English students are developing their reading, writing and communication skills. This covers interpretation of text, exploratory writing and speaking and listening. Our aim is for students to improve their functional English skills and descriptive writing. In Year 11 students are currently entered for GCSE English following the Edexcel iGCSE English and/or Literature specification. Students may also take Functional Skills Communication at Entry Level, Level 1 or Level 2. Y10 students are following the new AQA English Language and Literature GCSE courses.


At KS3, each student is assessed and follows appropriate Maths work within the National Curriculum framework. Within each grouping there may be students working on different topics at different levels according to their individual needs. Students also tackle basic arithmetic skills in the initial weeks to fill commonly existing gaps in their knowledge.

Y11 students follow the AQA GCSE Maths specification. Students may also be entered for Functional Skills at Entry Level, Level 1 or Level 2. Y10 students have begun working on the revised AQA GCSE specification which will be examined for the first time in 2017.


All KS3 students follow the new National Curriculum. Some KS4 students follow the BTEC Applied Science course. This is 75% coursework and has a 25% exam component. If students arrive later in Y11 every effort is made to continue with the course followed in their previous school. We also offer the AQA Core and Additional Science qualification.


At KS3 all students study ICT for at least one lesson per week. We offer a broad curriculum with an emphasis on developing core ICT skills through projects using the new interactive ‘Chain Reaction Cycles Project’.

Some KS4 students will continue to follow the WJEC short course GCSE specification. This covers a wide range of ICT skills including using spreadsheets, databases and publishing. Students will also have the opportunity to work towards Functional Skills ICT at Entry Level, Levels 1 or Level 2.


All KS3 and KS4 students study a range of subjects incorporating personal and economic wellbeing. Personal Wellbeing includes sex education, drugs education, hygiene and self-esteem. Economic Wellbeing topics include target setting, enterprise and study skills. Lessons are structured to ensure discussion and debate on different issues.

KS4 students follow the AQA PSHE course resulting in a Level 1 or 2 Award or Certificate depending on number of credits gained. The curriculum follows topics including Sex and Relationships, Drugs, Finance, Healthy Living and Applying for Jobs and Courses.


All KS3 students study Art at least once a week. The modules of work that they cover are printmaking, sculpture and graffiti art.

Food Technology

All KS3 students study Food Technology once a week. The theme is International Cookery. During the practical sessions the students learn to cook at least five popular international dishes of their choice which they serve to a peer group as part of a meal. The students learn about ingredient preparation, food combination and cookery methods through practical activity and instruction.

Learning Outside The Classroom

Learning Outside the Classroom is offered to students from Key Stage 1-4. The main aim of the programme is the development of social skills; self-esteem and self-awareness and appreciation of the environment. Students have opportunities to participate in outdoor activities that include mountain biking, rock climbing, archery, kayaking, caving and orienteering.


All KS3 and KS4 students follow this personal development course; a practical approach to learning which supports young people to fulfil their potential. The Achieve programme provides an opportunity for students to try out new activities, boost their confidence and gain a recognised Prince’s Trust qualification.

Key Stage 4 Additional Courses

Vocational Qualifications

Key Stage 4 students have the opportunity to attend vocational courses at South Devon College one day a week. Vocational courses include Construction, Catering, Animal Care; Hair and Beauty and Vehicle Maintenance. The courses provide a good introduction to post-16 training and study. They are accredited at Entry Level and Level 1. We also run an in-house BTEC in Vocational Studies.

KS4 Optional Courses

Students choose from a selection of options that include GCSE and BTec courses. Most students follow at least one optional course.


Students can opt to study for a GCSE in Art and Design. They learn to use a wide range of skills and techniques whilst building a portfolio of work which will form part of their GCSE coursework.


KS4 students can choose to study photography as a GCSE option. They will study the work of artists; plan and complete their own photo-shoots; and manipulate images using computer programmes, whilst experimenting with a range of photographic techniques.

Food Technology

KS4 students can opt to study for a GCSE in Catering. This course provides the foundation skills and knowledge required for food preparation and cooking. It explores healthier food and special diets, food safety and an introduction to work place skills.

Child Development

Students follow the OCR GCSE specification concentrating on three resource tasks; an investigation into the popularity of child safety equipment; designing and making a book to encourage a young child to read or count; and an activity based on babysitting for a 3 and 5 year old. Students will also begin work on the individual child study.


This GCSE course focuses on human behaviour and the way in which psychologists investigate key questions: How do we perceive the world around us? Is dreaming meaningful? Do T.V. and Video games affect young people’s behaviour? Why do we have phobias? Are criminals born or made? Psychology students carry out their own experiments as well as learning about the research work of psychologists in the fields of psychoanalysis, educational psychology, clinical psychology and forensic psychology. There are two exams at the end of the course and some extended writing is required.

BTEC in Countryside and the Environment

This vocational course provides an opportunity to experience practical land-based learning. Students develop a variety of practical skills such as animal and plant husbandry, habitat conservation and woodland management.

Please visit the News page for examples of our students work.