Curriculum overview

At Leeds City Academy, our ‘In Partnership’ values of Aspirational, Caring, Professional, Respectful, Resilient and Tolerant are at the heart of everything that we do.

We set the highest of expectations to ensure that every student can be exceptional across all aspects of academy life.

Our intention is to ensure students make outstanding progress and secure High Performance through a coherently planned curriculum that removes any potential barriers to learning.

In doing so, we aim to secure the knowledge, skills, and cultural capital for to prepare our students for future academic study and employment to allow them to become exceptional and inspirational global citizens.

At Leeds City Academy, students will:

  • experience, learn and excel through a  broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum that is underpinned by the philosophy of High Performance Learning;
  • become literate and numerate;
  • become exceptional individuals who set and secure exemplary behaviour and high achievement;
  • develop character, confidence, and cultural capital through the Peak Performance programme;
  • become brilliant young people through cultural, social, moral, mental and physical development;

Students experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum, underpinned by the philosophy of High-Performance Learning

Shaped by the guiding principles of High-Performance Learning, the curriculum at LCA curriculum helps students to achieve academic success and make excellent progress regardless of their starting point. Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPS) are embedded into the curriculum, designed in a way to ensure that students develop a deep understanding across a range of subjects and aligned with the National Curriculum.

Carefully sequenced units of work build on prior knowledge in all subjects and lessons provide students the opportunity to recall and retrieve previous learning, so that knowledge becomes fully embedded.

Incisive, timely and skilful assessment and personalised feedback secures and further enhances learning, ensuring that misconceptions or misunderstanding are quickly addressed.

Students will be literate and numerate

The improvement and development of literacy is at the forefront of our curriculum to ensure students are supported to meet the demands of a challenging education whilst becoming ready for future education, employment, and training.

We ensure students are supported in the development of their reading, writing, oracy, and vocabulary and have opportunities to discuss, challenge and build on other points of view and develop the formality of language, enabling them to speak to different audiences with accuracy, authority, and confidence.

All students access a diverse range of aspirational texts, carefully planned, and sequenced through the curriculum.


At Leeds City Academy we think that reading, and in particular reading for pleasure, is one of the most important factors in allowing children to reach their full potential. A love of literature and a genuine desire to read opens doors to students that remain closed for reluctant readers, no matter how strong their ability. In order to support the drive to engage students with reading for enjoyment, the academy offers a range of activities and experiences linked to reading for pleasure.

The school celebrates National Poetry Day each year with a focus on poetry in English lessons that is further reinforced by activities in tutor time. A love of reading is also fostered within English lessons with all students regularly engaging in challenging texts. Students also take part in the Accelerated Reader programme which tests their comprehension of books they have read and suggested novels that will both entertain and challenge them. Furthermore, all students will engage with a reading and literacy programme during form time to develop their vocabulary, comprehension and oracy. Students also benefit from timely reading age assessments to ensure they are given support where it is required.

All students have access to well-resourced Library, which is at the centre of reading in the academy. It is extremely  well-resourced and has a wide variety of age-appropriate books and learning materials which can be accessed during break time, lunch time and after school and obviously borrowed to be able to be read at home.  The library also has a series of activities scheduled to raise reading enjoyment throughout the year.

We also ensure that all students are supported in the development of their numeracy to ensure they are numerically confident. All students access also access a carefully planned and sequenced mathematical curriculum with subject specific disciplinary numeracy skills identified within subject specific units of work to ensure consistency of teaching across each year group.

Students who arrive at LCA with below expected maths and literacy skills accelerate rapidly through expert teaching and incisive specialist intervention.  Furthermore, for New to English (NTE) students, a bespoke programme of specialist support enables them to develop the self-confidence and required accuracy to access and flourish within the wider curriculum. Through securing increasing numbers of literate and numerate students we will then enable them to thrive and successfully access the next stage of their education, employment, or training.

Students will be exceptional individuals who display the highest standards of behaviour, and aspiration to secure high performance and achievement.

Leeds City Academy is committed to working ‘In Partnership’ with students, parents and a range of stakeholders to ensure that every student can fulfil their ambitions and aspirations.

We have established a positive community culture, constructed around six ‘In Partnership’ values, affectionately referred to as the DNA of Leeds City Academy. These ensure students grow and mature into responsible and ambitious young people who can shape their lives and inspire and support others around them.

We consistently encourage and expect our students to model these values within the school and the community; to take responsibility for their own behaviours and positively influence others. Through raising student aspirations and our underpinning culture and ‘In Partnership Values’, we strongly believe our academy will transform the lives of our young people and the local communities we serve.

Students develop successful character through our Peak Performance Programme

We are totally committed to improving the life chances and aspirations of all the students we serve.

Through the academy’s Peak Performance Programme, we ensure that students have access to a wider curriculum that permeates not only the school day but goes beyond it to engage, inspire and develop every individual student.

The 5 ‘Peaks’ provide students ‘Professional Career Preparation’ through a holistic DNA and SEED programme, opportunities for ‘Community Engagement’ and ‘Personal Enrichment and Growth’ through an extensive extra-curricular programme. ‘Leadership Development’ is provided through a range of curricular and extra-curricular  opportunities including Duke of Edinburgh, Student Parliament and subject related Leadership qualifications. With ‘High Performance Learning’ building aspiration for all within the curriculum. 

Students will develop their cultural, moral, social, mental, and physical development

At Leeds City Academy, students experience, develop and thrive through an outstanding and nationally acclaimed SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) programme. SMSC is at the heart and soul of the Academy curriculum, daily behaviours and interactions and wider student experience. This ensures students are fully prepared for life in modern Britain.

Through this exceptional work, students can understand the ‘bigger picture’ and link their learning and experiences to the real world and life.

Students are encouraged to participate in a range of sporting, cultural and charitable activities and strong authentic links with local, national, and global businesses further enrich the curriculum offer and help to contextualise learning.

Furthermore, through celebrating the rich diversity from which the academy benefits, a truly international feel is championed through our ‘Culture Conference’ that celebrate the 76 languages, 56 nationalities and 17 religions that form the heartbeat and soul of the academy.   

Key Stage 3 - Year 7, 8 & 9

Students study a broad and balanced range of subjects with English, Maths and Science forming the core subjects that all students study throughout their time at Leeds City Academy. In Key Stage 3, students study these subjects for 4-5 hours per week as we recognise the essential skills and understanding that students develop whilst studying these subjects. Where required, students receive highly personalised learning support provided by learning support specialists. Learning support and intervention programmes are designed and implemented to ensure students develop the required confidence, skills and understanding to succeed.

Through our EBACC curriculum at Key Stage 3, all students study Computer Science, Geography, History, and Spanish. We believe the study of these subjects is vital for students to understand their place in the world, develop a broader understanding of the society in which they live and also prepare them for a 21st Century world.

In our wide range of creative subjects at key stage 3, students are able to harness their potential in Art, Drama, Music, and Physical Education. Further specialist skills will also be able be developed in Technology where students will experience Product Design, Food Technology, Textiles, and Engineering. This group of subjects not only encourage students to develop a range of practical skills, but allow them to have the opportunity for self-expression, teamwork, and leadership.

As part of our exceptional DNA programme within the curriculum, students study Religious Education in line with the SACRE guidelines, Personal, Social, and Health Education and Citizenship. These aspects are also supported in our wider curriculum through Assemblies, Academic lectures and Culture Conferences.


Key Stage 4 - Year 10 & 11

Flexible Pathways 

Flexible pathways at Key Stage 4 are designed to ensure that all students study subjects appropriate to their needs. All students study English Language, English Literature, Maths and Science in addition to their optional subjects.

The EBacc Pathway provides the opportunity to study Computer Science, at least two science subjects, History, Geography or Spanish and English Literature.

As an exceptionally culturally rich and diverse academy, students at key stage 4 who can can speak, write and read in their heritage language, will be supported to undertake an additional GCSE in that language and in doing so, secure a very strong additional language qualification.  

All students also choose from a wide range of GCSE and vocational subjects after consultation with parents, senior staff and their form tutors.

Current Year 11 


Year Group

Course Name

Exam Board


Year 10 and 11

GCSE Art & Design


Business Studies

Year 10 and 11

BTEC Tech Award in Enterprise



Year 10 and 11

GCSE Citizenship


Computer Science

Year 10 and 11

GCSE Computer Science



Year 10

BTEC L1/2 Tech award in Built Environment



Year 11

RSL Level 2 Certificate in Performing Arts



Year 10

BTEC L1/2 Tech award in Performing Arts



Year 10

GCSE Engineering


English Language

Year 10 and 11

GCSE English Language


English Literature

Year 10 and 11

GCSE English Literature


Food Technology

Year 10 and 11

WJEC Hospitality & Catering



Year 10 and 11

GCSE Geography


Health & Social Care

Year 10 and 11

BTEC Tech Award in Health & Social Care



Year 10 and 11

GCSE History



Year 10 and 11

GCSE Mathematics



Year 10 and 11

RSL Level 2 Certificate in Performance Music



Year 10 and 11

GCSE Photography


Religious Studies

Year 10

GCSE Religious Studies



Year 10 and 11

GCSE Combined Science

GCSE Biology

GCSE Chemistry

GCSE Physics





Year 10 and 11

GCSE Spanish



Year 11

BTEC Tech Award in Sport



Year 10

OCR CamNat Sports Studies



Year 10

GCSE Design & Technology - Woodwork



Year 10 and 11

GCSE Design & Technology - Textiles


Travel & Tourism

Year 10 and 11

BTEC Tech Award in Travel & Tourism



Assessment and Recording

Student Target Grades

  • Throughout the year students will undertake a range of timely assessments in order to help them embed and use their knowledge fluently and to identify and correct any misunderstandings and inform future teaching.
  • There are 3 types of ‘Red Zone’ assessments that students will undertake – Tier 1 will be low stakes quizzing and recall questions, Tier 2 will require students to reflect on a unit of work and apply their knowledge and skills learnt over the current unit of work. Tier 3 will combine a range of units of study to gain a holistic understanding of the subject studied.
  • As part of the assessment process, students will always complete a ‘Green one’ activity that will allow them to respond to feedback in order to consolidate learning and address any misconceptions.


  • Ongoing attainment in key assessments is recorded throughout the year.
  • The average performance (percentage score) in these assessments is used to illustrate the amount of content that a student has been able to recall and apply in the subject assessments throughout the year in line with the gradings below
Percentage score in assessments KS3 grading

80-100 %

60-79 % Mastering
40-59 % Developing
0-39 % Emerging 


KS4 Student Target Grades

  • Students will be set target grades at KS4 for all subjects based on prior data and CAT4 tests which are done on entry into the school.
  • These tests provide us with an ‘aspirational’ target grade for each subject. As the name suggest this grade represents a target grade for the students to aim for, it is not a grade to which the students are limited and if students reach this target their new target grade will be calculated and will be an increase of the original grade.


Behaviour and Attitude to Learning

To reflect a students behaviour and attitude to learning, the following descriptors will also be reported on termly.

1. A High Performing Learner

  • Extremely resilient, independent and highly motivated to learn
  • Is extremely confident and ask very enquiring questions to extend their learning
  • Always self-regulates and meets all deadlines set for classwork and homework, and regularly attempts challenging tasks 
  • Exceptionally hard working, which is shown in their outstanding level of effort and commitment 
  • Demonstrates a wide range of clear communication skills 
  • Very good at practice with clear and effective responses to feedback, including Green Zone tasks and is able to learn effectively from their mistakes 
  • Regularly tasks risk and is open minded to try out new ideas
  • Promote the learning of others and shows exceptional collaborative skills 
  • An exceptionally positive role model to others 
  • Quality of work in books / lessons is exceptional with exemplary pride in presentation 

2. An Active Learner

  • Resilient and motivated to learn
  • Is confident and enquiring to ask questions to extend their learning 
  • Can self-regulate meeting most deadlines set for classwork and homework 
  • Is hard working shown in their good level of effort 
  • Good, appropriate written communication skills
  • Good practice skills in a range of situations 
  • Is able to learn from their mistakes and respond positively to feedback including Green Zone tasks
  • Will take risks and is open minded to try out new ideas when encouraged or given support
  • Quality of work in books / lessons is good with high level of pride in presentation 

3. A Passive Learner

  • Often lacks resilience and motivation to focus and learn to the best of their ability 
  • Needs support to self-regulate on occasion goes off task, but responds positively to teacher intervention 
  • Variable level of effort and commitment resulting in a lack of hard work 
  • Little consistent practice shown, with minimal response to feedback, including Green Zone work 
  • Reluctant to take risk, try out new ideas or engage positively in lessons
  • Quality of work in books / lessons is inconsistent with limited of pride in presentation 

4. A Reluctant Learner

  • Demonstrates little interest in learning, with little resilience 
  • Not prepared to take risks or try out new ideas 
  • Often displays behaviours disruptive to their own and / or others' learning showing poor collaboration 
  • Does not communicate ideas clearly or effectively, and / or does so in an inappropriate manner 
  • Minimal practice with limited response to feedback, including through Green Zone work 
  • Fails to engage positively in lessons, take risks or try out new ideas 
  • Quality of work in books / lessons is poor with very limited pride of presentation 


Student progress reports

Student progress is continually assessed in their lessons and formal assessments are embedded into the curriculum at key times, to measure the knowledge and understanding students have gained and can recall.

A summary report of student progress, attendance and behaviour data is shared with students and parents / carers three times a year.

In addition, each subject produces a tracking report, which illustrates the results your child is obtaining in specific areas of the curriculum. The report identifies which learning areas your child is performing well within and areas where they may need to improve, refine, or develop.

To support improvement, parents and students are provided with information and links to a rage of useful learning resources that should be used to support this improvement at home.

Parents and students are invited to attend one formal parent’s evening a year which provides an excellent opportunity to meet all subject teachers and key members of the pastoral team, to discuss academic progress and key areas for improvement. In addition, parents find out about how their child is developing as a young person, how they exhibit the Academy’s In partnership Values and their engagement and commitment to the wider life of the Academy, including participation within the Peak Performance programme.

Further more,, parents have the opportunity to attend formal meetings with form tutors and teachers throughout the year and are encouraged to contact the Academy and/or specific staff via the Student Planner, email or phone, to discuss any issues or concerns as soon as they arise.

 Curriculum Overview 22-23 & 23-24

 Click here for our Curriculum Overview 22-23 & 23-24 overview