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Venture Academy

MacIntyre Academies



The vast majority of learners who attend Venture Academy have experienced trauma and have had a wide range of previous learning experiences. Many of them have also experienced failure in one or more schools which has lead them to have:

  • Significant periods of time out of school
  • Negative views about school resulting them in them having significant barriers to learning and lack of ambition
  • Complex social and emotional needs which have impacted on their mental health and well-being

Our Educational Philosophy

Our Educational Philosophy is aligned to our core values:

  • Compassion - We focus on the positives
  • Ambition - We challenge ourselves (pupils, families, staff and schools)
  • Partnership - We are better when we work together

It is also based on our belief that our young people excel when they are happy and feel accepted for who they are. We are ambitious for and on behalf of our young people and are committed to ensuring that all our young people receive a high quality education.

Venture Academy aims to equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to develop key learning and life skills that prepare our pupils for their continuing learning journey. We aim to create:

  • Successful learners who enjoy learning; make at least good progress and achieve.
  • Confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.
  • Responsible citizens who can make a positive contribution to society.

‘Many people go through their whole lives having no real sense of what their talents may be, or if they have any to speak of. Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface’

                                                                     - Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica – The Element: How Finding                                                                                                            Your Passion Changes Everything (2010)

We ensure our curriculum is current, relevant and engaging to the pupils within our school, taking account of British values of democracy, tolerance, mutual respect and individual liberty. A curriculum which:

  • Creates an aspirational high achievement culture.
  • Takes into account individual needs and learning styles.
  • Allows everyone to experience success.
  • Raises standards of attainment.


At Venture Academy all pupils have an EHCP which identifies them as having additional Social Emotional and Mental Health needs. Our admission critieria outlines that we expect all our pupils to have the potential to reach at least reach age related expectations in learning. Our goal is for all our pupils to develop holistically, ensuring progress in both academic learning and in managing their own emotional needs.

‘Working with children requires different ways of observing and listening. The underlying principle is to listen to them, to learn how unique each child is and how each one makes sense of the world in a unique way. The more respectful we are of these characteristics the more we will empower children to discover their own unique personalities and to thrive as individuals.’

                                                                                                                        - Insoo Kim Berg and Therese                                                                                                              Steiner – Children’s Solution Worker (2003)

Entitlement and enrichment.

 At Venture Academy it is every pupil’s basic entitlement to access learning and therapies with specialist staff, in small groups and with access to one to one support too.

At Venture Academy, everything we do with pupils is based upon strong relationships and a sound understanding of the impact of early attachment and experiences of trauma. We ensure that ‘Maslow’s Hierachy of Need’ is central to our approach with all pupils.

‘Quality relationships provide the necessary vehicles for adaptation and recovery…every relationship has power to confirm or challenge everything that has gone before’

                                   - Dan Hughes and Louise Bomber – Settling to Learn (2013)


At Venture Academy, pupils’ access:

  • The National Curriculum that provides both academic rigour and enrichment through visits, visitors and focus days.
  • Theraputic provision, personalised to their individual needs with the outcome of removing barriers to learning.
  • Teaching and learning that takes into account different learning styles and personalisation for pupils.
  • The Arts, to develop skills, interests and confidence.
  • Physical activities, to develop co-ordination and teamwork as well as promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • Off-site visits, activities and residential visits, to develop pupil’s social interactions, independence, self-reliance, confidence and skills for the future.
  • Extra-curricular activities during lunchtime and after school such as art, i-pads, music and sports, to develop their interests.

Breadth and balance.

Our curriculum is developmental, ensuring prior learning is reinforced and new learning increases in cognitive complexity and greater depth.  Pupils will see the same topics throughout their learning journey, with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning. We recognise that our pupils arrive with gaps in their learning which impact on their ability to develop new skills and knowledge. Our school systems aim to identify these gaps promptly and teachers then plan carefully to address these learning gaps, at the same time as building pupil confidence in learning.

Key Stage 2:

The National Curriculum is used to plan, teach and assess pupils in Key Stage 2, in all subjects.

Pupils are taught throughout the week by their class teacher in individual lessons for English, Maths, Science, Computing, RE, Music, PE and French. Pupils are taught History, Geography, Art and Design & Technology through engaging termly learning themes.

Learning themes empower staff to ensure that skills can be taught in the most creative, current and relevant contexts for pupils and can be led by the cohorts’ interests and needs.

Key Stage 3:

We operate a two year Key Stage 3, delivering a broad and balanced curriculum which will be clearly mapped to the National Curriculum. In Year 7 and 8 we maintain a primary learning model to ensure strong attachments are made to key adults over time.  Year 9 will provide a clear transition into both GCSE and a secondary model of specialist teachers. We believe that the essential work around attachment and relationships within Years 7 and 8 will enable pupils to approach Year 9 and the start of their accredited learning with positivity.

Pupils’ are taught English, Maths, Science, Computing, RE, Music, PE, French through individual lessons. History, Geography, Art, Design & Technology are delivered through a Learning Themes focus.

Key Stage 4:

We will operate a three year Key Stage 4. This is longer than in many secondary schools and really does reflect our understanding and recognition of the importance of transition for our pupils and their specific needs, alongside our determination for our pupils to take their learning as far as they can prior to taking their exams. We ensure pupils access enrichment days every half term to ensure breadth of experience in contrast to a narrowing curriculum.

Pupils will access a core offer of working towards accreditations in Maths, English Language, English Literature, Science (Double Award), Computing. Computing is part of our core offer in recognition of our pupils’ interests and strengths. Our core offer also includes RE, PE, Careers and PSHCE. Pupils chose options from accreditation in either: Humanities (or single award History and Geography for those pupils who intend to complete the English Baccalaureate,) Art, Food Technology and PE. It is our aspiration that pupils attain GCSE’s although pathways to alternative accreditations are available for pupils who require this personalisation.

For more information on Curriculum Design, specifically implementation and impact please see our Curriculum Policy  here

You can also contact Emily Hopkins-Hayes (Principal) or James Bowater (Deputy Headteacher) for more information by calling the school on 01564 792514 or emailing

You can also use the 'contact us' form  here