Curriculum Structures

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Advisory, Exploratory, Core, Extended & Home Learning

Following on from the Annual and half termly structures outlined above the Curriculum will be facilitated at a weekly scale through Advisory, Exploratory, Core and Extended learning sessions. These sessions will be delivered through face to face in-school provision, through our e-learning platform facilitating a Blended Learning approach, and through supported out of school activities such as the Internships of the Professional Pathways curriculum.

The Advisory is a unique approach to education and one which draws upon best practice from Primary and International School systems. The Advisory will is a pod/class of 25-30 students with an ‘Advisor’ teacher attached. The same teacher supports students within their Advisory lessons and for elements of their Core, Exploratory and Extended. This is so that Advisors, as both teacher and mentor, have a thorough understanding of each individual in their care, building strong and long lasting relationships. The Advisor remains fixed throughout the student’s time at IAG ensuring the development of an ever deeper and productive learning relationship. This approach aids transitions between primary and secondary and maintains a strong relationship between students and adult. Within the daily Advisory session the following may occur across a week;

  • The advisor will mentor individuals and their Team, guiding their social, emotional and academic development

  • The advisor will facilitate our approach to shared reading and to cultural exchange

  • The advisor will monitor a student’s progress, their e-portfolio and help learners to shape their Personalised Learning Plan

  • The advisor will work with students 1-1 to help them catch up with or work towards mastery of a particular skill from their Core learning

  • The advisor will deliver our Global Citizenship curriculum (PSHE)

  • The advisor will support students in the completion of their personal study and Individual Project

  • The advisor will support in the completion of an advisory project, this is where they study topics of social significance over a term. This may build on the knowledge and skills from their core learning but also aim to think about problems facing the real world helping to support every learner’s Community Project.

Above all the Advisor is a fixed point or reference for students, parents and guardians. It makes communication within and with our school much easier than in most and supports our commitment to democracy and transparency.

Exploratory are weekly sessions where students get to explore, tinker and design. This follows a model of 3-6 rotations across the academic year. In addition all students will also have the opportunity through Exploratory and Advisory to complete a number of long-term projects, where they decide what they want to learn about, identify what they already know, discovering what they will need to know to complete the project, and create a proposal or criteria for completing it. Exploratories purpose is to expose learners to a broader variety of subjects areas, skills and experiences, this includes providing opportunities to work with ‘community educators’ and experts. 

The Exploratory is the predominant vehicle for the facilitation of learning across subject groups of the MYP including:

The Core of academic learning has an interdisciplinary approach while ensuring students have a deep understanding of the content they are learning through a balance of independent and collaborative enquiries and teacher driven Master Classes. The Core is the predominant vehicle for the facilitation of learning across the five subject groups of the MYP:

Through the Core all students receive at least 4 hours of direct in each subject of the groups per week. These sessions are a mixture of:

  • Mastery based learning: Sessions designed so that students don’t move on until they have mastered particular skills or understanding.  

  • Masterclasses: Students will be taught by and have modelled by Subject Experts complex concepts and skills.  

  • Collaborative Problem Solving enquiries: Students work within and across disciplines making their learning purposeful. Teachers think deeply about the processes of learning and students exhibit a final product to a real world audience, including their peers, parents and carers.

Extended learning sessions provide Personal Time and personal learning opportunities for students to be involved in projects, clubs and societies that are of interest to them. This may be an additional language or sport or anything from learning to play chess to debate. It also provides the means to facilitate Internships and other ‘real-world’ learning opportunities. We offer a rich Extended curriculum led by teachers, the local community, volunteers and parents. Extended alongside Exploratory begins to enable students to make informed decisions about their Professional Pathway electives as they move through the curriculum towards Year 11. Extended sessions will fall into four categories:​

  • Personal Time e.g. supported completion of Home Learning, project work;

  • Community Language Acquisition e.g. taught sessions supporting the development of first/community languages;

  • Interventions e.g. scheduled intervention sessions to support student learning; and

  • Clubs and Societies e.g. opt in programmes each lasting a 10 weeks.

The Extended aspect of the Curriculum also represent IAG’s approach to Home Learning. 

Home Learning

We at IAG appreciate the importance of students having a balanced home and academic life and do not wish to overburden them with ‘homework’. Our mission is to develop lifelong-lifewide learners as such we would hope that the IAG Curriculum will inspire students to learn, beyond the classroom, what they have become passionate about. 


Setting home learning can have a positive impact on student progress in secondary schools (Hattie, 2009). However, this is only the case where the right kind of tasks are set and while a key objective of home learning is to build capacity for independent learning, it all too often builds that capacity for those who already have it and undermines confidence for those who do not (Donald Hirsch/Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007). In other words, while home learning has the potential to accelerate and sustain the progress of all students, it can also exacerbate educational and social disadvantage (also see EEF research in home learning/homework).

Home learning should facilitate ever increasing degrees of independence and self-direction. Through enhanced choice home learning becomes more authentic and personalised. When accountability for the completion of and the quality of home learning rests with the students and with their peers evidence suggests this results in increased buy in as a result of positive social-indebtedness. This shift in accountability also benefits teacher workload with the bulk of assessment, both formative and summative, moving to the students themselves.

What does home learning at IAG look like?

Home Learning at IAG is:

  • Planned purposefully into Inquiry Learning Planners

  • Clearly communicated to parents and students alike through primarily the Student Planner

  • Differentiated & Personalised to match the needs of all our learners and accessible to all students without “expert” assistance from parents

  • Facilitates choice (All will…, Some will also…, One of you will also…)

  • Formatively assessed (Peer, Self or Teacher)

Home Learning falls into three forms

Prepare: These tasks prepare students for their lesson. Examples include: reading an article, watching a video, internet research.

Revise & Recap: These tasks require students to engage further with their class work. Examples include: responding to feedback, green pen follow up time, prepare for a test, learning spellings, learning vocabulary, learning times tables, memorising content. These tasks may include opportunities to practice exam style questions through Pragmatic Rehearsal.

Explore: These optional tasks allow students to broaden their learning and are not assessed directly. Examples include: further reading, creative writing, keeping a sketchbook, keeping an open diary/journal.


IAG Home Learning Projects – ‘Driving Questions’

A distinctive feature of home learning is the opportunity to further engage with our challenging interdisciplinary projects. With the Launch of each Driving Question at the start of a term students will have the opportunity to address the Driving Question in ways and forms they want. Their additional work will not go unnoticed, earning them credit and enhancing their ability to complete the final Showcase. 

A Gradual Release & Socialised-learning Model

As a student graduates through the stages of our Curriculum they will increasingly specialise, following elective modules with more specialised teaching. Epistemic apprenticeships and Internships, as part of our pathways approach to the curriculum, will be delivered alongside projects and interdisciplinary learning, which will remain the main method of enabling learners to develop subject knowledge, understanding and skills while continuing to apply the attributes of an effective lifelong-lifewide learner.  

Pupil transition from KS2 to IAG will be fundamental in preparing learners for the IAG approach to teaching and learning. We will establish strong relationships with all primary schools and will ensure staff involved in primary transition activities are focused on pupil data, assessment and pedagogy. Transition data and information from primary schools will be used to support our baseline assessments on entry. The IAG teaching team will organise Year 6 visits and team building days in the summer term to aid student transition. During this time all students complete a Learner Profile questionnaire which helps us gain additional information on each student and enables us to begin the process of placing students into appropriate Teams and Advisory groups. The first week of Year 7 comprises an Induction Week which firmly focuses upon assessment proficient strategies, behaviour expectations including behaviour for learning and the implementation of flipped learning. It is during this week that we will hold a residential, an opportunity to begin the enculturation of students into IAG norms and expectations. Teams and Advisory groups will begin to forge their identity and it will be during this time that Teams will select their Team name for the years ahead. We also undertake during this period, and sustain it throughout Year 7, 9 and 11, an induction of parents. A number of activities and events will continue to be undertaken to ensure parents are encultured into the wider IAG community. 

Each academic year of the IAoG Curriculum has a different focus as a means of building the foundations for evermore independent and self-directed learning towards liberation. Year 7 has a focus on induction into the systems, ways and norms of the academic and social life of IAoG. We call this ‘Transition’.

Following graduation from this foundation year students will move into Year 8 where they will begin to sample a greater variety of distinct subjects, experiences and begin to make decision about their learning pathways through the choice of electives, exploratory courses and through the themes of their Individual Projects. Constant review of an individual’s Personalised Learning Plan will facilitate this process. We call this ‘Exploration’.

Year 9 will see even more choice with students making informed decisions about the Professional Pathway they would like to follow, selecting the Major and Minor elements of a Pathway as they continue their journey towards mastery and the summative assessments of Year 11. We call this ‘Specialisation’.

Following a further graduation student will enter Year 10. The traditional GCSE years of 10 and 11 will see students undertaking academic studies linked to their Pathway alongside accredited Community and Individual Projects and work based Internships. Inline with the more experiential element of this phase in the IAoG Curriculum we call this ‘Professional Pathways’. This programme is outlined in greater detail below.

Following graduation through the Pathway we expect a large number of students to remain with us for the next phase of their education opting into either the IB Diploma or IB Careers-related Programme.

This structure across the academic years reflects a ‘Gradual Release’ model of education where students are giving ever greater choice, autonomy and opportunities for self-regulation.

The structures of the applied Gradual Release model above are enhanced through the implementation of a structural approach to Curriculum and Pedagogy called the Socialised-Learning Continuum.

The Continuum recognises that the processes of Cooperative Group and Collaborative Group Learning enables students to move beyond learning as a group, through learning with and learning because of the group towards an enhanced capacity for self-regulated lifelong-lifewide learning. Such a model emphasises the need to provide opportunities, through the Curriculum at a structural and curriculum at an enacted level, for activities to become increasingly less ‘teacher structured’ and led and more ‘learner directed’ and led, thus recognising a learner’s agency and capacity to choose their own course through their Education. Through this model of Curriculum learners develop interdependence, a capacity to seek out support from others and by doing so become increasingly independent as learners, understanding when, whom and where to turn to for assistance; vital for lifelong-lifewide learning. In an application of this pedagogy the educator adopts the dual role of facilitator and resource. The educator uses their expertise to facilitate and engineer educative opportunities and offer themselves up as an ‘expert’ resource to aid the individual’s development as a liberated learner.