The aim of the curriculum at Macmillan is to give all students the right mixture of knowledge, skills and experiences that they need to be confident, successful learners both now and throughout their future lives.

Macmillan College was set up as a City Technology College in 1989 with the aim to improve the economic prospects and social opportunities for students in inner city Middlesbrough. In 2006 we converted to an academy and currently have over 1500 students on roll including 260 in Post 16.

Our mission statement is represented by our motto 'Inspiring every student to succeed ' and is founded on the following key values:

  • Pursuit of excellence
  • Developing a whole education
  • Promoting student health and wellbeing
  • Inspiring students for future employment
These four concepts combined with our aim for an ambitious, coherent, progressive, equitable and engaging curriculum; and knowledge of the local employment market, have driven our plans to create a principled curriculum.

main school uniform

We aim to give all students opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and experiences in order to be confident, successful learners both now and throughout their lives. We believe strongly in the transformative power of education and seek to empower young people to meet future challenges throughout their lives and to foster a love of learning.

Use the links below to navigate the curriculum section.

Curriculum Links
Teaching & Learning Overview
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 5

Pursuit of excellence

We intend for students to experience an ambitious curriculum that provides a breadth of knowledge and skills as well as depth in key subjects such as English and Mathematics. We have taken the National Curriculum as the minimum standard and added elements such as Outdoor Learning, a Global Perspectives course, and immersion weeks to enhance and broaden our offer to students.

We have recently undertaken a large-scale review of our curriculum, our schemes of work now follow a consistent format with consideration given to threshold concepts, knowledge, skills, prior learning, misconceptions, mastery, key language, and assessment. A yearly cycle of curriculum review meetings has been created to ensure that we have a high-quality curriculum that continues to develop and improve over time.

In our curriculum review meetings, we were keen to explore the coherence of the curriculum as a whole and within each subject. We identified a number of opportunities to construct more in depth, high quality cross curricular links that are more than a passing refence to learning in other subject areas. We will be working to develop these links over the coming year.

Literacy is an important part of our Optic teaching & learning model. As well as giving careful consideration to the development of subject specific vocabulary and use of academic language, we plan to enhance our curriculum with core texts that serve as opportunities to further broaden student knowledge and tie together cross curricular links.

Our links with local primary schools have helped us to plan a curriculum that builds on the prior knowledge our students in a progressive way and provide a level of challenge from the start of Year 7. In curriculum review meetings we explore the sequencing of concepts and progression throughout the curriculum to ensure this is well planned and documented.

We aspire to offer a high level of personalisation, especially at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 and a responsive curriculum that meets the changing needs of students and employers. We believe every student has the right to access the full curriculum and support students in order to achieve this. A good example of this is our offer in PE and sport to SEND students, who contributed to our recognition by School Sports Magazine as being in the top 10% of schools for sporting achievements.

Staff at the academy work in partnership with local universities, employers and primary schools to strengthen the experiences offered to our students. We have strong links with Teesside University, guest speakers regularly augment the delivery of our curriculum, we work with York University through their SHINE programme for gifted and talented students, and organise numerous trips to Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland universities.

We have also benefitted greatly from working with local primary schools, particularly nearby Archibald Primary. Staff meet regularly to share curriculum plans and for collaborative training. Macmillan Art, MFL and PE staff deliver lessons and enriching activities to Archibald students. Our Greater Depth Maths project has been very successful in engaging Year 6 students across the town.

Until this year, students and parents had the freedom to choose whether or not they studied the full English Baccalaureate Certificate. Whilst many students studied EBacc subjects and followed an ambitious academic curriculum, the percentage of entries for the full Ebacc. Certificate was well below national average. This year in response this we have identified a cohort of approximately 50% of our Year 9 students who must study the full Ebacc. In order to extend our offer, we will offer Mandarin in addition to French and Spanish from September 2021.

Developing A Whole Education

Our vision for education is about more than just passing examinations. Our students are exposed to diverse and distinctive experiences through a range of curricular and co-curricular activities which help to develop lifelong interests.

Layered on top of Macmillan’s timetabled curriculum are a number of features that provide rich experiences for our students. These include activity days and immersion weeks, outdoor learning, an enrichment programme, trips and visits, and our own Global Perspectives programme.

Our Global Perspectives course combines citizenship with current affairs and global issues to encourage our students to be more outward looking and to develop cultural capital. The course is timetabled for 1 hour per week in KS3 and reinforced through the tutorial programme. A regular studio broadcast presented by students compliments this course.

All students at Macmillan have access to a wide ranging after school enrichment programme that offers a mix of enriching activities such as sports, crafts, music, drama, rock climbing, mountain biking and archery. Macmillan also runs regular subject support sessions that provide extra help for students of all abilities on a drop-in basis and through targeted intervention. The enrichment and subject support programmes are highly popular with students.

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 they 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 take part in Challenge Week, a series of physical and mental challenges such as orienteering, or cryptography completed in tutor groups. Students in Year 7 discover more about how we can care for the environment in Decisions Week. Students in Year 10 and Year 12 have a week-long work experience placement. Feedback for all these 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.

The academy offers a wide range of opportunities for students to participate in educational visits, trips, sporting fixtures, industrial visits, fieldwork, conservation and international visits. In many instances the Academy subsidises 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.

Macmillan has had a long-standing commitment to widen the horizons of our students, our Outdoor Learning Department play a key role in this. Every student in Year 7 takes part in a two-day intensive Kick Start programme. Students can then choose to get more involved in rock climbing, mountain biking, hill walking, or participate in the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme. Macmillan students make up two thirds of all D of E completions in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland. In Key Stage 4 & 5 opportunities exist for students within PE for specific sport-based development.

Students at the academy benefit from the opportunity to work in our media studio. Working alongside our studio staff they produce regular interactive broadcasts on topical issues, celebrate achievements of their peers and mark historical events. These broadcasts strengthen our PSHE delivery and provide our community with a window into the diverse activities going on in the academy. Our production on remembrance was a collaboration with our Drama department and students of Archibald Primary and can be viewed here.

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 2018 the Academy was awarded the prestigious green flag award for a second time.

Promoting Student Health and Wellbeing

We want our students to be healthy and understand how to stay healthy, so we empower them to make the right choices to achieve this. Our students are safe, happy and valued. They feel well supported and have a sense of belonging.

The academy employs a variety of strategies to deliver PSHE. As well as the content delivered in subject lessons, it is a feature of the tutorial programme and the global perspectives course in KS3. In year 10, Health Day gives students a wide variety of experiences while KS3 students take part in Sports Day.

We will provide students with an education that develops all four aspects of the SMSC agenda. We strive to embed SMSC within our culture and ethos, ensuring that all students are treated equally and as individuals. All staff work together to create a happy, challenging, stimulating and caring environment in which students can enjoy their time at school and celebrate their achievement. The academy staff and students aim to build a community which encourages all its members to develop a healthy respect for each other, whilst providing an environment where there are opportunities, encouragement and stimuli to develop each student to their full potential.

We will ensure that every student enjoys the life-changing benefits that come from an active lifestyle and introduce them to a variety of sports and activities that improve students’ physical health and wellbeing, giving them a brighter, healthier future. We will teach young people about healthy lifestyles, including hygiene and nutrition to educate them on how to stay healthy in the modern world.

We will support the mental health and wellbeing of students throughout their time at Macmillan by promoting positive mental health. We aim to promote a culture of calm, structure and dignity through having clear behaviour expectations for all students. We will also put appropriate support in place for those suffering from mental health problems and work closely with outside agencies to provide specialist advice when required.

We will provide students with the opportunity to develop and understand an appreciation of the diverse community within which they live. Equipping the students with the necessary skills and attributes to be able to make a positive contribution towards it. We will also develop their awareness of the wider world through the study of Global Perspectives and the Academy Broadcast. We will actively promote fundamental British values and sustainability as part of this agenda.

Inspiring students for future employment

Our students develop essential skills and receive clear guidance to prepare them for their lives beyond school. We ensure that all students receive face-to-face careers advice and support throughout their time with us.

We take great care to make sure students are given the advice and guidance that allows them to make informed choices about the subjects they study and their future careers. Every student in Year 9 and Year 11 has an appointment with a senior member of staff to discuss their future plans. All students have access to a full-time careers advisor and a well-stocked careers library.

The principled design of our curriculum offers a wide experience to all students and is responsive to their needs as well as those of local employers. The Tees Valley Combined authority published their prediction for future demand in the local employment market in their report titled UKCES-Working-Futures-Summary-Report. The report identifies future demand in the following sectors: Health & Social Care, Professional & Business Service, Culture and Leisure, Construction, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Digital. Our curriculum has been designed to address the skills gap in these sectors.

We are proud of our destination data, 96% of leavers in 2016/17 stayed in education or entered employment compared with the local average of 91% and national average of 94%. We invite former students to speak at our annual awards ceremony and share their career paths in order to raise the aspirations of our students. We aim to be more than just a school. This video from 2019 aims to capture some of the highlights of the year.

Wherever possible we engage with local employers to enhance the delivery of our vocational courses. We organise an annual Jobs Fair to give our students direct access to over 50 local employers.

We consider work experience to be highly valuable in providing our students with an insight into their future employment. We offer every student an internal work experience in year 9, all students in Year 10 and Year 12 have a work experience week.