Curriculum Road Map: Vocational (H&SC)
Curriculum Statement: Vocational
The Vocational department is made up of three main subjects' areas; Health & Social Care, Engineering and Applied Science. Vocational at KS4 is a two-year course that students follow in Year 10 and Year 11 for Health & Social Care, Engineering and Sports Sciences. Vocational at KS5 is a two-year course that students follow in Year 12 and 13 for Health & Social Care, Engineering and Applied Sciences. The KS4 curriculum for Health & Social Care and Engineering are structured to follow the BTEC Tech Award qualifications by Pearson to give learners the opportunity to study one or more vocational areas as part of their curriculum. Key Stage 4 programmes, learners will be studying a broad range of GCSEs, including English, mathematics and science. The BTEC Tech Award suite has been designed to allow learners to draw on the knowledge and skills acquired from these subjects where relevant. When studying for a ‘BTEC’, learners can use the knowledge and skills from GCSEs, giving them the opportunity to apply their academic knowledge to everyday and work contexts. The Key Stage 5 programmes, we have designed a learner -centred approach to the curriculum, with a flexible, unit-based structure and knowledge applied in project-based assessments. They focus on the holistic development of the practical, interpersonal and thinking skills required to be able to succeed in employment and higher education. All courses have a Roadmap Overview (2 years), follow the BTEC specification and use the Edexcel SoW for lesson planning that are reviewed and improved at our school and College setting. At KS4 we have smaller than normal classes that consist of 15 to 20 students in each of the courses and uptake remains strong in Key Stage 5 where students tend to specialise in subjects that support their aspirational career path. Year-on-year trends suggest a strong uptake for all of our vocational subjects. We have introduced Engineering at Key Stage 5 to support our UTC specialism, and remain the only specialised engineering provision in the wider area, working with leading employers and industry experts. This allows us to ensure that our engineering provision is available to all students from years 7-9 (in the form of Design Technology) through to Years 10 and 11 (with Level 2 Engineering) and our Level 3 courses (for Sixth Form students). Students in all year groups have the ability to learn a transferable skillset through our vocational courses and practical delivery. Student independence is prompted and we continue to work with our engaged employers to ensure that our graduates enter the world of work with the skillset that allows them to hit the ground running.
Within Health & Social Care courses the curriculum is designed to follow Human Lifespan development in the order that we grow and develop throughout our lives. This also flows in the same order as the assessment cycles at both Level 2 & Level 3 courses. This is also sequenced using the specification-Pearson BTEC Level 1 and 2 Tech Award in Health & Social Care for our students in Year 10, 11 and the Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Award in Health & Social Care for our Year 12 & 13 students. At Level 2 there are three Components the student's study and Component 3 is a Synoptic assessment that students have two opportunities to complete in Year 11. At Level 3 there is four external assessments and 11 internal assessments that students will study. The external units are split into two in Year 12 and two in Year 13 and the optional units are strategically picked to support the Health Studies pathway in Health & Social Care and provides a lot more opportunity for our studies to be successful in Nursing and Midwifery which is a popular career path for our Level 3 students. There is a set guided learning hours for each Component/Unit of study in all courses within Health & Social Care courses and are taken into consideration when planning our curriculum model, lessons, and assessment cycles. Every lesson starts with an activity that promotes students recall, memory and retrieval skills on prior knowledge and understanding. Curriculum planning also factors in ample opportunities for students to consolidate their learning and low stakes assessment to provide formative assessment to inform future lesson planning.
The natural sequencing for the Health & Social Care courses builds on students' knowledge and understanding of Human Lifespan development and how we grow and develop throughout the life stages. This is also how the assessments at both Level 2 & 3 are structured for students. At Level 2 the next Component of study focuses on the Health & Social Care services by looking at different careers within the Health Sector and Social Care pathways. To complete the Level 2 course, we look at Health/Wellbeing, Life Events, Physiological data, Care Planning, Rationales and Overcoming barriers which encompasses the Component 1 & 2 content to start the Component 3 assessment- Question 1 & 2.
The level 3 course begins with units that introduce the theme of meetings specific needs throughout care, and continues to build on these throughout the 2 years. Level 2 content is also built upon by studying the life stages and development in depth, followed by detailed study of the roles of the professionals within Health and Social Care and the various aspects of health, safety and safeguarding when working within health and social care. This study then leads into our work experience component, allowing students to analyse their own skills, plan for their own futures and reflect on how they have progressed as an individual. Once we have built the foundations of knowledge, we then specialise in areas selected to reflect staff specialisms and topics that provide us with opportunities for engagement and practical experience, both in school and via industry and university links. Students explore the role of Public Health in maintaining a healthy society, including planning and promoting their own campaign and study current research into health and social care alongside this, further developing analytical and data handling skills.
Anatomy & Physiology is studied, linking anatomical structure and function to disorders of the human body and the impact on overall health. An additional scientific aspect is considered in the Medical Physics Applications in the Health Sector unit, linking back to the use of imaging in diagnosis and treatment. This knowledge is then used to further progress into examining a range of physiological disorders and the importance of good nutritional health, again reflecting on the impact on biological function and the care of the individual. Other optional units such as Understanding Mental Wellbeing allow us to explore the importance of mental health within the sector, and for caring for the client, whereas Caring for Individuals with Dementia provides the opportunity to working within care facilities and with professionals to fully appreciate the distinct aspects of specialist care needed in this area.
Forward thinking and planning supports our structures and systems in our department. We work on a two-to-three-week window of lesson delivery and subject specific content, followed by a week of consolidation and low stakes testing. The reminding weeks of a half term are focussed on internal coursework assessment or exam skills for external assessment. This system and structure allow us to recap on misconceptions and time for students to reflect on their learning. Quality assurance throughout the academic year is the reason we have consistent systems and structures within our department and hold ourselves to account. The order of teaching content and units of work is planned out in the summer term for the upcoming academic year and outlined in our BTEC Assessment tracker, to allow all staff enough time to plan and for non-subject specialist's time to plan accordingly. The units of work naturally follow the human lifespan and development at both Level 2 & 3. We map out optional units and other internal units around our external units which are delivered in line with BTEC examination windows. We also tailor optional units with non-subject specialists' area of expertise to support the delivery and assessment. Knowledge and understanding is checked at every part of a lesson through effective formative assessment. We also consolidate knowledge at key parts within and term and provide low stakes topic assessments which every student receives written feedback. We also use summative assessments at key parts within the year to further support the checking of knowledge and understanding and all students will receive a Question Level Analysis and written feedback. All students will record their work in a class book and assessment folder when completing external parts of the curriculum and a Component/Unit specific booklet when completing internal parts of the course at both Level 2 & 3. Every student has high expectations for the work they produce and all sign a Pride in Class books agreement at the start of the academic year. Naturally, the level and consistency of class books is dependent on the student but we as staff make a conscious effort to scaffold and structure to allow students to present their work to the highest of standards.
We have high expectations of our students at all times, but will also scaffold and build in support where it is needed to ensure all students have the same opportunities to reach high outcomes. As we teach BTEC courses in both KS4 and KS5, we used the Pearson assessment frameworks and use these as a benchmark for our assessment, but aim to exceed these to ensure our students have a well rounded, in-depth learning experience.
Recall plays a large part in our preparation for learning at the start of each lesson. By utilising a range of online tools and resources, we provide retrieval practice for knowledge from the previous lesson, a previous topic or even an area outside of Health and Social Care where this concept or knowledge may have been taught in a different context. We reference prior learning, both in this subject and cross-curricular throughout the course, to cement learning into the long-term memory. We invest heavily in be familiar with other curriculum offers in school to maximise the potential for this to be impactful. We model good practice during departmental meeting time so that we can highlight expectations for each of our courses in the vocational department. This also ensures a consistent approach to the preparation, planning, delivery, and assessment of courses. Whole school priorities are always a focus for our department meetings and good practice is always shares across the department. Student misconceptions are identified in lessons through effective formative assessment and whole class feedback. Low stakes testing and consolidation occurs strategically throughout the academic year and support is put in place for students. This diagnostic assessment is used to inform next steps and personalise both learning and support. Formative assessment happens within every lesson in the vocational department and students are challenged and monitored from the second they walk through the door until they leave. Planned consolidation and assessment is key to checking students' knowledge, understanding and application throughout the academic year and this informs out intervention within the classroom and outside of the classroom.
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We make a conscious effort to plan opportunities for our students away from the classroom to bring the curriculum to life and enrich the lives of our students by liaising with universities and local and national vocation industries. This provides students with the experience and the practical applications to promote, realistic and high aspirational career pathways for our graduates. It also provides students with first hand, direct contact with employers and academic organisations to ask the most important questions. We host a variety of events in conjunction with the NHS Careers team to introduce the wide range of career opportunities within the NHS to our students, as well as taking part in national careers fairs and events. Our close links with the medical and health faculties at the University of Bolton are invaluable in ensuring that our students have access to outstanding facilities, resources and expertise that assist in bringing the theoretical learning to life. We are building these experiences into our lower school curriculum in order to ensure that students have been both aspirational and well informed when it comes to specialising with option courses at Key Stage 4 and 5. We also actively look for additional qualifications for students to complete alongside their BTEC level 2 & 3 qualifications to make them stand out from the crowd when applying for university and jobs in the future including First Aid qualifications.
We use data to inform our planning, resourcing, tasks and questioning which in turn allow us to provide a more personalised learning experience for all students. Adapted practical experiences can often be used with our engaged employers to reinforce learning, or deepen thinking. We provide differentiated tasks and questioning for all learners to allow them to access all areas of the curriculum. We believe that every student should have the opportunity to access the higher order thinking tasks or assessment questions with appropriate support. We then review and reflect the support that is strategically implemented at planned points throughout the year (and lessons) to monitor impact and next steps. We constantly review are curriculum and lesson planning to ensure consistency and quality. Each teacher is bespoke and their teaching strategies compliment their way of teaching but all staff follow the Teaching Framework at our organisation to ensure every student has consistent diet of education within our department. Challenge in our lessons is number one priority- if students are challenged then behaviour problems and low-level disruption does not occur and students make progress in a challenging but calm classroom. Challenge is closely mapped to student performance which is monitored in real time, allowing staff to continually adapt and deepen student knowledge and understanding to extend learning. The nature of this course, delivered through chunks components, allows teaching staff to ensure that students aren't overloaded, either with workload or working memory. This is the standard and expectation within all classrooms and students also know that they will be challenged at every stage of a lesson. The vocational department plans the curriculum strategically to make a conscious effort to recap previous learning and we sequence our units of work at both level 2 & 3 to allow for students to develop their working memory and accommodate whole school calendared events such as work experience and other external opportunities. The sequencing takes in to account the time of the year and when local and national events take place in the vocational sector to bring the curriculum to life. We also plan to ensure we are working to the calendared assessment cycle at our organisation. We regularly quality assure each others practice through lesson pop-ins, learning walks and collaborative Peer/Triad groups at the end of each term. This allows us to provide effective practice to improve our strengths and to work on our area for improvement which will enable us to have consistent approach across our department.
We are constantly assessing all students formatively from the second they walk through the classroom threshold. This takes part in the Do Now activity and staff plan a range of questions to check students understanding from previous lessons and to challenge them to think about the lesson they are about to complete and to develop all student's curiosity for the upcoming lesson and the subject by taking them on a journey and highlighting the big picture. We continue to formatively assess our students at all stages of lesson until they leave the classroom at the end. Summative assessment is planned out to fit alongside the whole school assessment data cycle and through our range of feedback techniques, we do identify gaps in knowledge and highlight that to the student and provide challenges for all to reflect on their learning and to make progress. Summative assessment also provide staff with the knowledge to make informed and bespoke intervention plans for students. All staff are champions of their classrooms and we all share the common vision that intervention starts within the classroom and staff make develop good working relationships with students to ensure they all know the needs of the learners in front of them. Staff design lessons to support all learners and to stretch the most able in the tasks they provide and the questions they ask. We work closely with the SENCo and attendance officer to ensure that we are always meeting the needs of identified groups, including those whose progress is affected by poor attendance and may need additional tutorial slots. We offer a lesson 7 intervention class that is used for catch up and exam skills at Level 2. We also provide extra intervention classes for targeted students at Level 3 and all intervention is used tactically to close gaps in knowledge and to develop the students' skills. We have a bespoke intervention programme that targets specific students at key points in the academic year. Our data collection is in line with the whole school assessment policy 2021 and is fit for purpose within our department.
The Vocational Department are constantly reviewing our subject to meet the needs of each cohort of students coming through. We have the opportunity at Level 3 to design a bespoke curriculum that caters for students' ability and needs by tactically planning our option units of work to suit the students sat in front of us year on year. Self-evaluation takes place weekly during department meetings to discuss the delivery, assessment and quality assurance of our coursework and BTEC assessment plans in accordance to the Pearson/BTEC rules and regulations. Our departmental priorities feed in to the whole school priorities via our line management structure. Communication both within the department and with the Senior Leadership Team is very effective, meaning that we can be responsive to need. We can design out assessment to meet the needs of our students at both Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications, to ensure we don’t disadvantage any of our students and provide them with the best possible opportunity to succeed. Communication is very good within the department and each member of staff meets once a week to discuss key focus for the department area. This might be for quality assurance or planning of our curriculum to ensure that all students are able to access the course. Finally, we set time aside to work on whole school improvement and make a conscious effort to work on all areas of whole school improvement and careers links and opportunities for all students. All staff complete the whole school induction process at the start of the year and this is continued into subject based CPD with a big focus on BTEC training and meetings to keep us up to date with the latest changes to our courses. We also have links to other schools in the North West to support with moderation and standardisation of assessment coursework - which was positively referenced in our most recent Standards Verifier report. We are a very outward facing and forward-thinking department when it comes to Teaching and Learning and a lot of research goes to into the activities we deliver and questions that we ask within all of our lessons. We make time to ensure students have a number of opportunities across the year to meet with professionals and high-end academic visits to universities with really brings the curriculum to life and has had massive impact on students' engagement within our courses, by promoting lots of inquisitive in-form questions during lessons about careers within the world of vocation.
Marking and feedback is designed to meet the needs of both the individual and the unit being assessed. For externally assessed units, regular assessment takes place using exam style questions to reflect the method of assessment and provide training in vital examination skills. Feedback is provided for long answer questions and used for students to improve responses and to develop their skills. Progress is tracked across learning aims and units to allow for intervention to first take place in the classroom. The Department has started to use Showbie to upload lessons that students are currently working on and previous and future lessons to promote proactive learners to support with discussion. We also use Showbie to provide whole class feedback and verbal feedback using the audio option on this platform. The use of Quizizz at the start of every lesson is being used to provide lots of formative assessment opportunities and to develop students long and short-term memory, through retrieval, memory, and recall questioning. As a department we are using Apple Classroom and Jamf teacher to check the student's engagement, challenge poor ICT usage within the class and finally to quality assure students work. Behaviour is exceptionally good within the department with very relax and quiet classroom that allow students to have the confidence to ask questions and take an active part in discussion. On the rare occasion that there is a behaviour incident we follow the whole school behaviour and consequence system appropriately. For external assessment we set exam questions and activities for homework and for internal assessment we set deadlines for students to work on coursework assignments in accordance to the BTEC assignment briefs and guidance. We also set independent tasks and opportunities for students to consolidate learning of internal coursework concepts.
KS5 Road Maps: Vocational
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