The Bookend Curriculum

In 2007 we introduced the Bookend Curriculum at Macmillan to address two areas of concern in KS3, the first half term of year 7 and the last half term in year 9 and to create six immersion weeks throughout KS3.

Immersion Weeks

The penultimate week of the academic year is given over to a more immersive experience for students.

Year 9 students take part in CaVEs week where students choose from a wide range of Cultural and Vocational experiences including Adventure CaVe, Carnival CaVe, and documentary filmmaking on Lindisfarne for example.

Students in year 8 took part in Challenge Week, a series of physical and mental challenges such as orienteering or cryptography completed in tutor groups. Students in year 7 discovered more about how we can care for the environment in Decisions Week.

At the same time as bookend week students in year 10 and year 12 had a week-long work experience placement.

 Student voice for all of the Bookend activities is highly positive. Many of the activities have featured as news articles on the academy web site and are still available to be viewed in the News Archive section.

Macmillan has a large range of feeder primary schools, making primary transition difficult to implement. The year 7 Bookend lessons aim to improve transition by teaming teachers together to deliver lessons based on a common theme with an emphasis on Literacy and establishing the generic learning habits students will develop throughout the academy.

The last half term in year 9 was re-vitalised through the introduction of Enterprise Week and CaVE week. In Enterprise week students took part in a range of activities such as “Tenner Tycoon” with the aim of developing their entrepreneurial skills.  For many students CaVE (Cultural and Vocational Experience) week was the highlight of their year. Students selected a CaVE from a wide range of titles such as Computer Games Design CaVe, Adventure CaVE, Bushcraft CaVE, Catering CaVE, or the Lindisfarne CaVE which involved the creation of a media resource to promote tourism on Holy Island.

 Students in year 7 and 8 also experience two immersion weeks in each year each from Sustainability Week and Challenge Week. In the former students explore the science of sustainability. In Challenge week students are asked to compete on a range of physical challenges such as orienteering or Bell Boating and mathematical problem solving activities such as cryptography or “Harry Plotter”. 

During the Bookend fortnight students in year 10 have a two week Works Experience placement. Student voice for all of the Bookend activities is highly positive. Many of the activities have featured as news articles on the academy web site and are still available to be viewed in the News Archive section.

'Love to Cook' CaVE.



The Academy identifies students with lower than average literacy for a range of intervention strategies. This could be being paired with an older student for paired reading, short term withdrawal from certain lessons to receive literacy sessions in small groups, longer term withdrawal from MFL lessons to build literacy skills, or 1:1 assistance in the Learning Support Department.  As students progress into KS4 the support is tailored to their need through morning sessions, enrichments and in some cases students are timetabled into Learning Support lessons instead of a GCSE option.


All students at Macmillan have access to a wide ranging after school enrichment programme that runs during the week.  The programme offers a mix of enriching activities such as sports, crafts, music, rock climbing, mountain biking, archery, etc. Alongside enrichment, Macmillan also has a wide range of Subject Support sessions that provide extra help for students of all abilities on a drop in basis. The enrichment programme is highly popular with students .  

Outdoor Learning

Outdoor Learning at Macmillan Academy had been a specialism from 2006 to 2012.  Since the starting point in 2006 we have striven to give our students an inclusive and progressive adventure learning curriculum.

Every student in years 7 and 8 and is timetabled to take part in a two day intensive programme each year, balanced with three weeks of intensive provision, on residential and during our challenge week programme.  In Key Stage 4 & 5 pathways exist for students within PE for specific sport based development.

Learning Outside the Classroom

Macmillan Academy is considered to be at the very forefront of both the philosophy and practice in Learning outside the Classroom. Every year, within every year group, is a portfolio of opportunity for students to participate in traditional educational visits, trips, sporting fixtures, industrial visits, fieldwork, conservation and international visits. In many instances the Academy subsidizes such experiences. Macmillan Academy was the first school in the UK to be awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Gold Mark for its work in this area.

Students White Water Rafting


Vocational Education

Vocational learning has always played a significant role within the Curriculum at Macmillan. Students in KS4 and KS5 are free to mix and match academic and vocational qualifications to provide a highly personalised programme of study. We consider vocational learning to cover all of the skills that employers would look for including high standards of numeracy and literacy.  This summer saw a year 13 student attain A* grades in Engineering Diploma, A Level Mathematics and A Level Further Mathematics.


The aim to develop an awareness of the issues around sustainability is written into our Mission Statement. The academy has an active Eco council made up of staff and students who meet regularly to keep this agenda in the minds of all staff and students. For example, in recent years the academy has reduced the use of paper by 1.2 million sheets through the introduction of biometric printing. The installation of wind turbines and solar panels has reduced the Academy’s energy usage. In 2010 the Academy was awarded the prestigious green flag award.

Students at Gillet Wood


Global Perspectives

Since 2005 the academy had delivered Learn to Learn and Citizenship courses to students in discrete lessons on the timetable. In 2015 these courses were replaced with Global Perspectives, a course designed to address elements of Citizenship, PSHE, and SMSC while actively promoting the development of generic learning habits and widening the horizons of students by introducing them to global issues. The course is timetabled for 1 hour per week in KS3 and reinforced through an extended tutorial programme that runs from 8:30 until 9:00. A regular studio broadcast presented by students compliments this course.


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