Academy Curriculum Statement 2019-20
Our ambition for our students; how we achieve the best in
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
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
Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the
heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:
(explanation and modelling) of new material in small steps
prompts and scaffolds (We do)
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.
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.
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
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
By teaching our curriculum well, and delivering
education with character, we bring out the best in everyone at North