UCL Academy Learning to Make a Difference Together
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Teaching and Learning

Foundation Level (age 11-12)

Mr T Bowen

The first year in the Academy is a year in which students adapt to the unique learning environment which the Academy offers, and prepare themselves to take on the responsibilities for developing their own programme of study in the years ahead.  Students develop a wide variety of skills essential for effective learning and work with their teachers to identify their targets for future progress.  There is emphasis on the UCL Academy specialisms of mathematics and science, together with Mandarin, our primary Academy language.  In the Foundation Level, English plays a key role.  All students develop literacy and numeracy skills in other subject areas and through cross-curricular projects.

Students study the International Middle Years Curriculum at the Academy as a model of learning which encourages cross-curricular learning through Big Ideas, an international focus and book ended by Entry and Exit Points, where Big Ideas and concepts are introduced and reviewed.

After students complete their Foundation Level, they make choices as to which courses they follow.  Minimum entry requirements are set for each Level and for particular courses with students assessed against Readiness. If a students fails to meet Readiness within a particular subject our Summer School Programme offers them the opportunity to catch up. At present the programme includes Challenge Summer, the Level Up Programme and Space Camp. 

Students move through three Levels (1-3) - which correspond to National Qualifications Framework Levels (for comparison, GCSEs are Level 2 qualifications; AS and A2s are Level 3 qualifications).

Most students are likely to be enrolled on Level 1 and Level 2 courses across ages 14 -16 and Level 2 and Level 3 courses across ages 15+ to 18.  All students are expected to follow English, mathematics and single or double science courses at Level 2 before age 16+.  Thus, in practice, most students will follow these courses at either age 14+ or age 15+.  Some students on Level 2 courses will be able to follow Level 3 courses in their second Level 2 year.  Some 16-19 year old students may elect to follow some Level 2 courses.

All students will be required to complete the statutory courses (including English and mathematics at GCSE) at some point during their Academy careers.

Our specialisms: Mathematics and Science

Mr D Molloy 

UCL work closely with the Academy at developing an exciting, cutting-edge, hands-on approach to the teaching of mathematics and science.  Teaching encourages students to put their theoretical knowledge to use in designing experiments and coming up with solutions to 'real world' problems. The Academy will has a state-of-the-art facilities for the teaching of science, including a science demonstration theatre which allows UCL academics and UCL Academy staff to stage interactive experiments.

Students also regularly have the opportunity to visit laboratories at the University.

Our UCL sponsors expect the Academy to become a centre of excellence for the teaching of mathematics and science, and to develop innovative approaches to the curriculum, including through the use of new technologies.

The UCL Academy is also pioneering the teaching of 'engineering science', bringing together the design and technology curriculum, some elements of the physics curriculum and the proposed engineering diploma qualification to give students a understanding of what 'engineering' is about in industry and at university-level study. For further details of this please refer to the STEM pages of this web site. 

Level 1 & Level 1+

Mr R Gratton

After the successful completion of the Foundation year students enter into Level 1. Here they experience an even more academically challenging curriculum with increased emphasis upon independence and learner choice. Students will receive increased Mandarin teaching and will begin their studies of Computer Science. An increased provision of online learning through Google Drive, Google Apps and our learning platform, uclacademylearningplatform.co.uk, will encourage students to access a broader range of online learning opportunities.

Following the successful completion of Level 1 students will move into Level 1+. The key feature of this academic stage will be further provision of Mandarin, the introduction of Food Science and the opportunity to take an optional course in a range of subjects including GCSE PE, Spanish, German, ASDAN Employability, Preparing for L2: Literacy, Astronomy, Sustainable Architecture, Arts Award and Learn what you Love. A real focus on L2 readiness runs throughout L1+ with students beginning to make their L2 options by December and starting some L2 courses during the Summer Term. 

Teaching at the UCL Academy

The UCL Academy is an exciting and inspiring place, with high quality teaching and outstanding facilities.

A core aim is to provide the highest quality teaching in a first-rate learning environment.  Subject specialists develop and deliver teaching programmes for all students, and are supported in their subject knowledge through links with UCL staff.  UCL students are encouraged to work in classrooms as tutors and mentors.

The university supports UCL Academy staff to engage in further professional study, including providing fully-funded places on UCL master's programmes (particularly the MA in Academic Practice), as well as opportunities to undertake formal research into issues relating to teaching and learning.

The key features of the teaching provided at the UCL Academy are:

A strong learning culture with excellent, creative and imaginative teaching across the curriculum;

An emphasis on empowering learners, student choice and programmes of study which are tailored to the individual's interests, aspirations and progress to date;

Regular reviews and assessment of students' learning and progress

A strong tradition of mentoring within the school to ensure that students are supported to make positive decisions about their academic careers.

Within the Academy all teachers are guided by our UCLA's (our minimum expectation for every learning session) and by our Learning Architecture which addresses Authentic Challenge, Pragmatic Rehearsal, Metacognition, Feedback, Progress and Enquiry. 

Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

The UCL Academy operates a 'stage-not-age' approach to the curriculum.  This means that students progress through the curriculum at their own pace, though rapid progress is expected for all.  Students take qualifications at a particular level when they are ready, and not when they reach a particular age.  The Academy curriculum and building has been specifically designed to support this approach.

As a result, students who have been identified as having special educational needs, or those who require particular stretch and challenge, are expected to build a programme of study which accommodates those needs, and will be supported to do so.  All students' progress are carefully monitored, and students work with their staff mentor and other colleagues to ensure that their programmes of study are challenging and appropriate for the student's future ambitions.

In addition, the Academy is co-located with Swiss Cottage Specialist SEN School.  Although the two schools remain separate and distinct from one another, this co-location allows for collaboration between the staff of the two schools and for the sharing of expertise.  This benefits students at both schools.