Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Intent

At The Lowry Academy, our curriculum aims to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education that brings out the best in all students and prepares them for future success in life.   

Our curriculum aim is designed to provide children with the powerful knowledge they need for success in education and later life, to maximise their cognitive development, to develop the whole person and the talents of the individual, and to allow all children to become active and economically self-sufficient citizens, with social mobility. We want what our students learn to enable them to envisage a world beyond their own every day, lived experience. Therefore, what we teach our students: 

  • Is academically rigorous, and something they would only learn through a deep and broad study of academic disciplines.  

  • Enables them to think beyond particular contexts, and make links between disciplines.  

  • Is highly specialised, and taught by experts in specific disciplines.  

As well as taking our students beyond their own sphere of influence through learning, we also believe it is important that our curriculum allows them to consider their own position within their local context, therefore we tailor our curriculum so that it is relatable to the interests, local context, and academic starting points of our students. We are continually refining our curriculum to address emerging needs, both academic and in developing our students as people. Just some examples of this include:  

  • In English, our students will use key concepts of class, power, social justice and gender when examining texts to demonstrate the evolution of society throughout history. Class is also taught with regard to our local area as we draw on Salford’s Labour history and roots when studying class, from Pygmalion in Year 7, to An Inspector Calls in Key Stage 4. 

  • In Mathematics, we adapt our Year 7 curriculum according to findings from the baseline assessment, to address foundational knowledge and skills gaps, and determine appropriate starting points. 

  • In Geography, we seek to improve students understanding of their local area and how this links to the Geographical world. For example, fieldwork studies of the school site and study of local micro climates in Year 7 is followed by a Year 10 fieldwork visit, to explore the impact of Salford Quays and its regeneration of the local area. 

Our knowledge-rich curriculum is designed to foster a love of learning for all our students and to engender a passion for further study. It is carefully sequenced and designed to ensure students’ knowledge and skills are developed over time, and we consider carefully cross curricular links when making sequencing decisions. For example, key graph skills are taught through the Science curriculum, just before they learn the same skill in Maths, in order to provide opportunities for consolidation. We revisit prior knowledge throughout the sequence of study, and provide systematic opportunity for retrieval practice through regular low stakes testing to ensure knowledge and skills are cemented in our students’ long term memories.

We are committed to ensuring all students, including those with SEND and disadvantaged, have equity of access to the same powerful knowledge. All students, no matter their academic ability, access the same ambitious curriculum – however, whilst our curriculum intent remains equal in its ambition for all, our implementation is adapted for students that require additional scaffolding and support. We achieve this through introducing new information in small steps, with our consistent “Teach, Check, Practice” structure to lessons – we expect to see more expert modelling, guided-modelling and complex knowledge components and skill composites broken down further in those students’ books that require this support. As leaders, we regularly quality assure this, and provide our teachers with regular feedback, training and support to ensure that all of our students’ needs are met. See the “Implementation” section for further detail on “The Lowry Lesson” and our approach to CPD.  

Our curriculum is reading and vocabulary rich: as well as a dedicated form-time reading programme, where all students read most mornings with their form-tutor, in all subjects, we offer regular reading beyond the curriculum opportunities, where teachers complete guided reciprocal-reading of non-fiction extracts with students. The choice of texts are related to the subject, but extend beyond the taught curriculum, to develop both a love of reading and spark an intellectual thirst for knowledge of the subject. For example, in Mathematics, our Year 8 students read an article about Alan Turing, enabling them to make links between the Mathematics curriculum and Computer Science curriculum. Disciplinary literacy is imperative in our curriculum, and our subject leaders’ ensure that vocabulary is mapped into schemes of learning according to progression, and this vocabulary is explicitly taught every lesson, in every subject. Our teachers are trained in reciprocal reading approaches, and continuously work on developing students’ writing ability according to the subject – we work hard to teach our students explicitly what it means to write, for example, like a Scientist, Historian, Geographer. See “Reading and Literacy” for more information on this.  

We have an impressive reading catch-up programme, where we regularly assess students’ reading ability, identify specific, phonological, fluency and comprehension gaps, and place them on the relevant “intervention wave”. Following short, sharp and highly effective interventions, students are re-tested every six weeks, and move up through the waves programme accordingly. Please see “Reading Intervention Waves Programme” for more information on this. 

As a member of United Learning, our curriculum development has been supported by a large number of subject experts across the group. Whilst subject support and resourcing is excellent, it is not mandatory – we are proud of our Lowry curriculum, and how we continually adapt it for our Salford context. The core academic curriculum is underpinned by the ‘Framework for Excellence’ that is at the heart of all we do. It sets out six core principles that we believe are vital to an excellent education for all students within our group, including those at The Lowry Academy.  

  • Entitlement: All students have the right to learn what is in the United Learning curriculum.

  • Coherence: Taking the National Curriculum as its starting point, our curriculum is carefully sequenced so that powerful knowledge builds term by term and year by year. We make meaningful connections within subjects and between subjects.    

  • Mastery: We ensure that foundational knowledge, skills and concepts are secure before moving on. Students revisit prior learning and apply their understanding in new contexts.  

  • Adaptability: The core content – the 'what' – of the curriculum is stable, but we bring it to life in our local context, and teachers adapt lessons – the 'how' – to meet the needs of their own classes.

  • Representation: All students see themselves in our curriculum, and our curriculum takes all students beyond their immediate experience. 

  • Education with Character: Our curriculum is intended to spark curiosity and to nourish both the head and heart. It includes the taught subject timetable as well as spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, our co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school.   

You will find further information for each subject via the links to their individual pages. Should you have any further questions please contact Mrs Aylward, Vice Principal – Quality of Education (


Teaching and Learning at The Lowry Academy

At The Lowry Academy we have a simple but effective vision for teaching and learning - to build a culture of “thinking hard and working hard” in all our classrooms.

At the core of all our lessons is a cycle of ‘teach, check, practice’. This cycle allows new knowledge to be taught in small manageable steps with checking of student understanding at regular key points. As a result, teachers can quickly respond to any misconceptions and adapt their teaching to best support students that need further challenge. The ‘Teach, Check, Practice’ cycle will repeat until all students can work independently and with accuracy.

Adaptations for SEND

All students benefit from quality first teaching in the classroom, which caters for their individual needs and supports everyone to make excellent progress. A balanced, broad and challenging curriculum is key to the development of students which is why, at The Lowry Academy, we believe that all students should have the opportunity to access the full depth and breadth of it. We are careful to never narrow the curriculum but adapt teaching approaches to enable all students, irrespective of need or background, to fully access and engage in knowledge rich learning. Some of these adaptations are:

  1. Scaffolding which aims to provide students with temporary supports that are then gradually removed as they become increasingly independent. These are often on in the form of writing frames, partially completed examples, knowledge organisers, prompts, structure strips and sentence starters.
  2. Using explicit instruction to make expert thinking visible for students. This is where teachers will talk through their thought process whilst constructing a live worked response.
  3. Developing metacognitive strategies to support students with planning and evaluating their learning. This often takes the form of chunking the task by using checklists, displaying step by step instructions on a whiteboard or providing one question at a time to limit cognitive overload.

To further support SEND students in lessons, we have introduced ‘The Lowry Way’ which is an agreed set of routines and language used across all classrooms. The aim is to ensure that students have the space and environment to think hard by introducing consistent ways of working across all classrooms. As a result, this will maximise high quality teaching and learning experiences for all students throughout their lessons. This helps by embedding routines to ensure that students have more opportunity to learn and that teachers can maximise teaching opportunities. More specifically, for SEND students learning routines help to create a predictable, secure, and nurturing learning environment to ensure clarity in learning.



At The Lowry Academy assessment underpins our curriculum and so is a valuable tool to empower it. Assessment has a powerful purpose to provide information relating to student progress against key knowledge.

Students are summatively assessed at two points throughout each academic year which enables teachers to respond effectively to a student’s level of understanding and adapt lessons accordingly. Furthermore, curriculum leaders can use assessment data to shape the next stages of learning, provide interventions and consider cohort progress. These strategic data capture points also provide a shared meaning between teachers and parents about the progress and attainment of the individual student and subjects that they study.

Effective formative assessment not only empowers a curriculum but empowers a teacher to respond to learning in ‘real-time’ and so is at the core of all lessons at The Lowry Academy. We draw from a wide range of effective formative assessment strategies to ensure that teachers are assessing for learning and not of learning. Some examples of these strategies are low stakes quizzing; retrieval practice; questioning techniques and active observation of independent work. This formative assessment data then feeds into regular ‘Look Back, Look Forward’ department meetings where teachers will reflect and adapt planning to ensure that student needs are fully met and on track to achieve expected outcomes.



Regular student feedback is essential to their understanding of key knowledge and application of necessary skills. Working alongside regular live marking, verbal, peer and self-assessed feedback, students will receive strategically planned whole class feedback lessons. These lessons provide valuable insights to students on a substantial piece of work allowing teachers to acknowledge and highlight the excellence seen from students. More importantly, these feedback lessons provide the opportunity for teachers to re-teach any misconceptions exposed and provide students with individualised next step action points to maximise their progression.

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 introduces students to a broad, balanced curriculum. Students study a wide range of core and common curriculum subjects. Across three years, the curriculum is designed to introduce, develop and prepare students for mastery in a wide range of subjects. Our curriculum is ambitious, which is something we are very proud of. For example, in English, students study a wide range of genres, reading full texts, including Shakespeare’s Richard III and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In Science, students will study particle model of matter. In Design Technology, students will use Computer Aided Design to create research-informed design and create a product according to specification. We ensure breadth of study across the range of subjects, but also within disciplines – for example, in Art, we offer students the ability to study a broad range of mediums of Art, including textiles, sculpture, painting and drawing. Our curriculum promotes depth of study, ensuring we offer the time for students to study topics in their entirety, rather than a surface level view. For example, in English, we read full texts, from beginning to end, to ensure a full understanding of character development and authorial intention.  

How many lessons will my child be taught? 


60 minute lessons per fortnight

English 9
Maths 9
Science 6
Geography 3
History 3
Technology 2
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) 4
PE (Core) 3
Music 2
Drama 2
Art 2
Religious Education 2
Computing/ICT 2

Key Stage 3 Form Time Curriculum  

Key Stage 3 students follow a reading curriculum during form-time, which provides our students with cultural capital, combats word-poverty by explicitly teaching students new vocabulary, and gives them the opportunity to be read to fluently by an adult at least three times per week, thus developing their own fluency.  

As well as dedicated curriculum time for our planned PSHE curriculum, we deliver a responsive personal development form-time curriculum, using student voice and safeguarding data to inform the topics taught. We believe this is vital in being responsive to and addressing the personal development needs of our students. We also deliver purposeful CEIAG lessons.  

Key Stage 4 

In Key Stage 4, students follow a curriculum consisting of a number of core subjects, complimented by a suite of options from which students tailor their personal curriculum. 


60 minute lessons per fortnight

English 9
Maths 9
Science 10
Option Block A     5
Option Block B 5
Option Block C 5
Option Block D 5
Core PE 2
PSHE/RSE 1 (delivered in form-time)









KS4 Form-Time Curriculum  

In form time in Key Stage four, we offer extra academic interventions, where students are grouped according to assessment data and students’ individual needs. We also deliver our PSHE/RSE curriculum in form-time, and offer students meaningful sessions relating to careers and next steps.