The Oulder Hill curriculum is broadly based on the national curriculum, with subject areas taking the following sources into consideration when constructing their Key Stage 3 long and medium-term plans:
- For core teachers, the English and Mathematics primary curriculum and transition data
- The programmes of study from the DfE
- Skills, content and assessment styles included in the GCSE (1-9) specifications
- The backgrounds and demographics of our school community
By adopting this approach, the Key Stage will not exist in isolation, but instead, a continuum of learning will be created from Key Stage 2 through to the end of Key Stage 4. Raising aspirations to acquire knowledge that they may not have access to at home, among their friends or in the communities in which they live.
At Oulder Hill we have always recognised the contribution that CEIAG has in raising achievement and inspiring students from all backgrounds towards opportunities beyond school, this is exemplified by achieving Quality Careers Standard (previously Inspiring IAG Gold Award) since 2010.
It is essential to capitalise and build on the progress made at KS2. The skills and knowledge required for KS3 are delivered as traditionally discrete subjects. The integrity of teaching at KS3 is maintained with subject specialists throughout the EBACC subjects of Science, Languages, History and Geography. The KS3 curriculum remains broad and balanced with students studying a modern foreign language, the full range of expressive arts subjects and technology subjects. We believe this to be essential for students in terms of strengthening their cultural capital and experiences that develop life long transferable skills.
Throughout the school there is a focus on reading and developing tier two vocabulary. Within year 8 Careers advice and guidance is given to enable them to select their chosen options to commence a foundation year 9, for their opted subjects.
PSCHE is delivered within the curriculum and is enhanced by Immersion days where aspects of this curriculum can be further investigated in depth. The programme spirals in nature with core themes taught in every year group and increasing in demand based on age appropriate topics. The topics have been chosen for the national and local context and includes areas which are relevant to Rochdale and building skills that will equip them for their future. At the heart of this is ensuring that our pupils are able to manage their own wellbeing and support others in theirs. As such, we include units on study skills and exam readiness to support our pupils. This is delivered by form tutors who also deliver a form time programme across the week including aspects of literacy, reading and oracy skills.
At Oulder Hill we believe in ensuring that all students regardless of SEND need can access a broad curriculum that is right for them. We offer three pathways for those pupils with SEND needs that support and help ensure success. These are run from our in school Oak Centre which is where specialist support and interventions occur. For the majority of SEND pupils they will access small group interventions aimed to support and improve areas such as literacy, numeracy, gross and fine motor skills to name a few (more details can be found in our SEND documents on the website). We also can offer an alternative curriculum for students where pupils are taught the curriculum in smaller groupings. The pathway is designed to support students that need a greater degree of nurturing and support with the aim to reintegrate the students back into larger classes once there confidence has grown.
We believe that our curriculum gives children real opportunities to develop key social skills, to understand the difference between right and wrong, to explore their own personality, show respect, celebrate difference and diversity and understand the values that underpin a democratic society.
Our curriculum design is broad and balanced and progressively builds on skills, knowledge and conceptual understanding year on year. The school has clear assessment procedures for children in each subject area. In addition to this students target set in every subject and are encouraged to take responsibility to reflect on their attitude for learning. Students and staff are encouraged to demonstrate our high standards for teaching and learning within lessons, around school and within the local community. We believe these characteristics and the development of these within students supports improved character and culture, leading to improved academic and social outcomes.
The content of each subjects’ curriculum has been reviewed by all faculty areas with a focus on KS3 to ensure that pupils are prepared from the moment that they arrive at Oulder Hill in Year 7 for the more challenging studies at Key Stage 4. The curriculum was a key focus of the school in 2020 and continues to be this year to enable Middle Leaders to focus on the needs of learners within their faculty areas. There has been Middle leader training looking at individual subject curriculum intent, implementation and impact at both key stages. There is a focus on how subject curriculum is being implemented and what impact it is having on students’ knowledge and understanding. A further evaluation of current schemes of work takes place as an on-going process to ensure that all students have the best possible start at Key Stage 3, optimising subject curriculum time to skill up and engage in learning for the future.