Differentiation at Sirius Academy West

At Sirius Academy West we believe that all students in a lesson should be challenged to achieve the same high level objective. We do not adapt our expectations to the background of the pupils or their prior ability. We recognise that pupils may need to take a different journey through the lesson to fulfill this challenging objective and related outcomes. The differentiation we provide in a lesson works to remove barriers to learning to enable all pupils to work towards this challenging goal.

Effective differentiation begins with assessment for learning. Prior to the lesson and towards the beginning of each lesson the prior knowledge of pupils is assessed to identify gaps in knowledge. This information is used to inform planning which aims to address the gaps in knowledge or skills that pupils may have. The gaps in knowledge are addressed to remove these barriers to learning whilst stretch activities are provided to pupils who do not need this support.

During the lesson, planned differentiation is used to support all pupils towards a challenging objective. Once new content is presented to students, a metacognitive approach to presenting a new task will support all pupils in understanding how to complete the task. This should involve modelling of thought processes used when completing a similar task. Pupils will then complete work to demonstrate their learning. Some students will be able to complete this work independently but this may not be appropriate for all. Some students may require a scaffold to support them, over time this scaffold can be removed as students are challenged to move towards independence. A smaller group of students may need more time with the teacher who will explicitly re-teach the content, perhaps using a different approach. The teacher may also offer sentence stems or thought stems to build confidence when completing the task. The teacher may use effective questioning to guide the thought processes of these students in a responsive manner. It is important to remember that assessment each lesson will determine which students are in each of these groups, that ability is not fixed and effort can improve performance in a subject. Differentiation when effective will help all pupils to learn and improve with an aim to developing independence over time.

Effective differentiation is not by the type of task the pupils complete. It should not involve an overly elaborate approach and should avoid developing a number of different worksheets for pupils in lessons. This approach is time consuming, difficult to manage and indicates to some pupils that our expectations are lower for them.

Removing barriers for pupils with additional needs is essential to enable them to make progress in their lessons. All strategies listed on pupils pen portraits should be followed to enable these students to succeed alongside their peers in lessons.

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Y6 Virtual Open Night - Transition Update

Due to the current restrictions that we all face we are unable to host our annual Open Night for prospective pupils and their parents/carers. We acknowledge the important decision that you all are set to make in selecting your preference for secondary education in 2021 and are keen for that decision to be an informed one.

Thus, we are hosting a Virtual Open Night on Thursday 8th October 2020 for all pupils that are considering Sirius Academy West as their destination for September 2021. The evening will feature the premiere of our own short film and also provide additional links to other informative videos. These will include introductions to key staff, testimonials from current students, overviews of the varied subjects and courses available at the academy, and an all access tour following a current student during an academy day.

The event will also promote the academy’s thorough transition programme that seeks to remove barriers to movement from Year 6 to Year 7 and allow all pupils to thrive on arrival. Despite the enforced closure in March, many pupils in our local Primary Schools have already started this journey with themed visits to the academy in Year 5. 

The academy has been heavily oversubscribed for places within Year 7 in recent years and we expect this to be repeated again this year. We encourage pupils and parents to not miss out!

For any additional information regarding the event, and/or details regarding the transition process, please contact Mr Gordon on (01482) 352939. All of the Year 6 pupils in our local Primary Schools will soon receive individual invites to their evening.

Year 6 Movie Night! WATCH HERE. Close Notice