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North Oxfordshire Academy Curriculum Statement 2019-20


Our ambition for our students; how we achieve the best in everyone

Our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life.  Our curriculum is designed to provide children with the core 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. We aim to educate children into, for and beyond their community and to allow all children to become active and economically self-sufficient citizens aware of the world around them and how their decisions impact upon it and their responsibility to participate in the democratic process.

North Oxfordshire Academy is part of United Learning. The United Learning Curriculum is a core academic curriculum, founded on these key principles:

  • Entitlement - We believe that all children have the right to learn what is in the United Learning Curriculum; we have a duty to ensure that all children are taught the whole of it. The vast majority of our students follow the full EBacc curriculum to the end of KS4.
  • Mastery - We want all students to achieve a full understanding of the knowledge specified in the curriculum for each year, and teaching should not move on until this is achieved.
  • Stability - We will not constantly amend the curriculum: whilst we should make occasional adjustments in the light of feedback and experience, we will aim for stability over many years, so that teachers can develop expertise; we constantly build assessments and teaching materials to support the curriculum.
  • Concepts not context - The united learning curriculum is intended as a concise specification of knowledge and content to be taught and learned; our school, departments and teachers decide how to teach and bring it to life.


How we expose our students to powerful knowledge and provide education with character

The curriculum in each subject can be accessed via the subject tabs in the curriculum section of our website. Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and you will see there are differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in different subjects. Standardised written assessments, for example, play less of a role in performance subjects such as music, drama and physical education. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers of the same subject to plan together and collaborate to undertake subject specific training and to work with the team of United Learning subject advisors. These advisors are subject experts who help teachers link the subject discipline to our students’ daily experience in the classroom. Subject advisors meet regularly with Heads of Department across United Learning and provide curriculum resources to support the implementation of the subject curriculum.


As a mastery curriculum students at North Oxfordshire Academy study fewer topics in greater depth, with the expectation that we do not move on to the next topic until all students have a secure understanding of the current topic.  A 3-year Key Stage 3 provides students with the time and space to gain this secure understanding. In our lessons we expect to see all students grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for students who need it.  Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers produce work of greater depth and flair.


Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use

Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:


  • Demonstration  (explanation and modelling) of new material in small steps (I do)
  • Guided practice with prompts and scaffolds (We do)
  • Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from teacher (You do)


At each point in this instructional core, teachers check understanding of all students by asking lots of questions and providing feedback.

The Rosenshine principles support the implementation of the curriculum by ensuring that students regularly recall prior learning. You will see this at the start of our lessons. When prior learning is committed to long term memory it becomes fluent or ‘automatic’, freeing space in our working memory which can then be used for comprehension, application, and problem solving.


In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch-up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support students who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.


Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum.  Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense. Each subject has mapped cultural capital opportunities into their curriculum plan, maximising opportunities for students to broaden their horizons in subject specific contexts. We offer a wide range of enrichment opportunities in particular through our successful PE, music and hospitality  departments and strong participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.


How we measure and secure continuous improvement for all

With thousands of students across United Learning following the same curriculum, we have been able to devleop common assessments in most subjects.  These are summative assessments which allow students to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and enable teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. These summative assessments are typically taken once or twice a year, allowing teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson.


We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing. Knowledge organisers provide students with key information that they are expected to learn and recall with fluency, enabling them to develop their understanding of key concepts outside of their lessons.


The culmination of our curriculum is that students leave our school with the confidence and intelligence to thrive. We know our students as individuals which enables us to provide curriculum guidance and careers guidance throughout their time with us. We expect all students to leave our school with the grades required to progress to their desired destination, and the character required to flourish once they get there.

By teaching our curriculum well, and delivering education with character, we bring out the best in everyone at North Oxfordshire Academy.

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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