“There is an impressive range of courses on offer at GCSE and in the sixth form. Leaders make sure that all pupils study the full range of subjects in Years 7 to 9, including two languages.” – Ofsted 2019
At Oriel we put students at the centre of our curriculum decisions, putting their needs above that of the school.
- Create successful learners who enjoy learning, make good progress and achieve their potential.
- Prepare all students for the next stage of their education and for a successful adult & working life.
- Provide students with the widest range of experiences possible, building cultural capital; inspiring and enabling them to make a lasting and positive contribution to future societies.
We believe our curriculum should:
- Be broad, balanced and appropriate and remain as broad as possible for as long as possible regardless of demographic or starting point.
- Be coherent and sequential so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught, to secure strong student outcomes.
- Allow all students to develop their potential, achieve and experience success.
- Be informed by evidence, theory and research e.g. utilising cognitive science strategies to help students retain and recall knowledge to allow future learning.
- Acknowledge our contextual needs by giving high priority to increasing students’ mastery of functional literacy, vocabulary and numeracy to maximise students’ opportunities for future learning and employment.
- Ensure effective transition at all key stages; from Y6 to Y7, Y9 to Y10 and Y11 to Y12.
- Provide opportunities to develop SMSC, Character, Careers and Equality/Diversity education.
- Make explicit links to future career pathways alongside a programme of advice and guidance based on the Gatsby benchmarks to prepare students for life and work.
- Provide opportunities for learning outside the classroom; increasing cultural capital, raising aspirations and increasing students’ appreciation of subjects beyond just examination content.
- Meet statutory National Curriculum expectations.
Curriculum Construction Principles
- Our curriculum is structured in a logical and chronologically appropriate manner.
- Leaders carefully plan to ensure that appropriate knowledge and skills build upon what has been taught previously and are carefully developed before application into more challenging and complex situations, appropriate to the different curricular end points.
- Our understanding of cognitive psychology is used to maximise potential learning gains. For example, opportunities to regularly revisit knowledge are carefully planned to allow the best opportunities to improve student retention and recall.
Key Stage 3
All students follow a broad and balanced curriculum at Key Stage 3 comprising English, Maths, Science, Art, Drama, Music, x2 Modern Languages, Geography, History, Religious Education, Computing, Design Technology, Physical Education, & our Personal Development Curriculum (PDC).
A flexible approach is given to the study of languages for those students who we deem require more support with literacy. All students receive explicit numeracy lessons; the delivery of which are based on the premise that numeracy approaches that support students with maths difficulties benefit all learners in the classroom.
All subjects are valued in equal measure and prepare students for making informed curriculum choices in Year 9. We believe that good careers guidance widens students’ horizons, challenges stereotypes and raises aspiration and our extensive programme starts in Y7 providing students with opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace.
Key Stage 4
The key tenet of our Key Stage 4 curriculum is one of personalisation and maximising choice, and we strive to ensure that all students follow a curriculum that is both appropriate and relevant and most importantly one of which they can take ownership.
At Key Stage 4, students have enhanced time for the core subjects of English and Maths reflecting both the importance we place on functional numeracy and literacy but also on ensuring that our students are well placed to progress onto future pathways. Both triple and combined science are offered and whilst the science pathway a student follows is both informed and evidenced, it also considers student preference and promotes a love of the sciences. All students study RE and PE and both can be taken as either an examined or non-examined subject which offers further choice.
Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum Options offer is wide and varied both in terms of the subjects on offer but also in the nature of the qualifications available. Many subject areas offer both academic and vocational qualifications (such as Technical Awards), allowing choice, challenge and to give variety in learning and assessment styles. We are proud that in recent years our curriculum offer has expanded rather than contracted as a direct response to student and community needs following national curriculum and qualification change.
Our Y9 Options process is a completely free one, with no pre-populated blocks; and is highly regarded by parents and students. Option blocks are created after student choices have been submitted to best match students’ choices. Students select three options allowing them to keep a broad curriculum experience as we believe it is unwise for students to narrow down their options before the age of 16. In creating our offer, we are careful to listen to student demand and where possible we will find creative ways to facilitate courses where student numbers are small for example combining the disciplines of Textile and 3D Art.
Our careers guidance programme at Key Stage 4, based upon the Gatsby benchmarks, includes statutory work experience for all Year 10 students and a range of activities and opportunities to support students in making good choices post 16.
Oriel Sixth Form
Our Key Stage 3 and 4 principles continue into the Sixth Form enabling clear and well understood lines of progression. Students can study three, with some scope for four, A level equivalent courses. The curriculum offer includes a range of A Levels and Technical Awards (many offered as either single or double options to provide a mix and match approach) alongside other qualifications such as the Extended Project, Core Maths and Arts Awards all designed to offer breadth and variety.
Our curriculum offer post 16 is built upon and informed by a destinations-led approach. Our Y13 students leave us to follow a wide range of pathways including apprenticeships, university places and employment; and we ensure that our curriculum reflects this; with (as at Key Stage 4) many subject sectors offering more than one qualification type.
Advice and guidance are high profile and ensure that curriculum choices are informed and appropriate. A wide variety of opportunities are offered to support and prepare students for transition post 18 and study programmes include structured work experience, volunteering and personal development.
Learning Outside the Classroom
Equally important as our taught curriculum is the menu of experiences and opportunities that Oriel offers to enable students personal and social development, develop citizenship and community work and encourage students interests and aspirations outside of the classroom.
Work experience, school trips and a wide range of extra-curricular clubs are all high profile, alongside the D of E award scheme, fundraising events, peer-mentoring and volunteering. A well-established Youth provision in the form of the Oriel Youth Wing is at the heart our provision and is an important part of our school and our wider local community.
Guide to the National Curriculum
For further information and a broad guide. Parent/carers and members of our community can find an overview of the national curriculum at Key Stage 3 & 4 on the Gov.uk website. https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum/key-stage-3-and-4