Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community


The 5-year OCL secondary curriculum aims to develop character, competence and community in all of our children and young people.

Focused learning is the foundation of every lesson and our OCL curriculum is designed to ensure the very best academic outcomes for our children and young people using the latest research in cognitive science.

Our curriculum is ambitious and allows students to develop a deep understanding of the world around them because:

  • It goes beyond the National Curriculum. All Key Stage 3 and 4 National Curriculum expectations and exam board specifications are exceeded in all subjects, so that the curriculum is challenging for all (including the most able and higher prior attainers).
  • Academic reading is introduced throughout the curriculum which develops student’s vocabulary and increases their subject specific knowledge.
  • Our aim is that at least 90% of students will study Geography or History and a language at GCSE by 2025.

Our curriculum is broad and balanced because:

  • All students study History, Geography, MFL, DT, Art and Music until the end of year 9, and study Maths, English, Science, PE, RE, Citizenship and Computer Science until the end of year 11.
  • Our students do not select their GCSE options until the end of year 9 and are not assessed using GCSE assessments until year 10.
  • Our fundamental offer includes a promise to all children and young people for opportunities which further broaden the curriculum, including playing an active part in a hub project, playing a musical instrument, attending a residential trip, visiting theatres, art galleries, museums, universities and places of work.

Our curriculum is rigorous because:

  • It is planned in line with the latest research into how the brain and memory works.
  • It places significant emphasis on the importance of knowledge, which is gradually introduced and increases in difficulty over time to expand learner’s schemas by connecting this to prior knowledge held.
  • It also recognises the importance of skills and aims to support children and young people to access and apply their schema in the real world, developing deep learning and creativity.
  • Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do and is an essential part of the Oasis ethos, which is reflected in the OCL curriculum design and delivery.

Our curriculum is inclusive because:

  • It is a vehicle for inclusion because it provides a strong foundation of knowledge and finely develops skills, which brings advantage to the disadvantaged, where barriers to learning are successfully overcome and there are no limits to the achievement and ambition of our children and young people.
  • It intentionally builds character through the Oasis ethos and 9 habits. This prepares our children and young people to be the best version of themselves not just for today but for their futures too, by helping them discover who they are and who they are becoming.
  • Every opportunity is taken to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • It is adapted by teachers across the Trust to reflect students starting points, prior knowledge and needs, so that barriers are removed and so that it can be accessed by all children and young people (including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).
  • It is adapted by teachers to reflect the local context of each academy, including heritage and experience of the local community.

Our curriculum is sequenced to support deep learning. Our curriculum is a spiral curriculum, where knowledge and skills are carefully sequenced across 5 years. Learning is spaced, and vertical links between knowledge and skills are deliberately constructed within subjects so that key concepts are repeatedly encountered. Horizontal links between subjects reinforce knowledge and provide further opportunity for deliberate practice of skills. Each subject has the following:

  • A Subject Statement of Intent, which outlines how their curriculum develops character, competence and community. It also identifies the core concepts for that subject, which exist in each academic discipline and can be defined as concepts that, once grasped, allow new and previously inaccessible ways of perceiving and thinking about the subject to emerge (Meyer & Land, 2003). Content builds on students’ learning at Key Stage 1 and 2, and the core concepts build on those developed in the OCL Primary curriculum and prepares students for Key Stage 5 study and life after secondary school.
  • A long-term plan, which outlines the 5-year learning journey and explains how the core concepts develop over time. Year 9 is a foundation year, where the expectations outlined in the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum are exceeded. In some cases, some relevant KS4 content is also introduced to prepare students for the options process and the next step in their education where appropriate. This balance will look different in different subject disciplines, dependent upon the progression and development of core concepts, knowledge, and skills across the curriculum. KS4 content will only be covered when this is appropriate for sequencing and core concept progression.
  • Medium term plans outline how character, competence, community and core concepts develop within each unit of work.

Our curriculum is planned to support recovery, as students have lost significant learning due to COVID-19. We support recovery by:

  • Enhancing literacy by continually developing reading skills so that all children and young people become fluent readers, whilst also developing their written communication and oracy. We want every student to have the skills to access a minimum of age-related reading materials by the time they leave.
  • Taking every opportunity to develop our children’s numeracy skills, so that they are fluent mathematically, enhancing their economic wellbeing and strength in functional content.
  • Using the most up to date guidance from the DFE and findings from research into recovery to prioritise the highest leverage knowledge, skills and concepts in each subject discipline which will best support recovery. Academy leaders then further adapt the curriculum to account for the learning loss for their children and young people.

Please see the academy subject curriculum guides below for 2021-2022. It is important to note that these have been written specifically to allow students to catch up on work missed during academy closure and to secure prior knowledge. 

Subject Guides

My Learning Journey

Learning Journey Geography

*Please note - the Learning Journey section is currently under construction.

Curriculum Timetable

The academy operates a one-week timetable cycle, with two breaks.

In Years 7, 8 & 9 students are taught in mixed-ability groups for tutor lesson, LiFE and Humanities lessons. Students are set according to their ability in core subject Maths, English and Science to best provide appropriate support and extension fir all. All students are expected to read extensively as part of the curriculum, through the Reading Plus platform. Additional support is offered in phonics, literacy and numeracy through our recovery programme for those students requiring additional support.

All students in the academy follow a LiFe course with their tutor weekly and a range of outside specialist speakers. This programme develops our students as well-rounded and citizens of a modern Britain and global community.

There is no narrowing of the curriculum for students in Years 7, 8 and 9 with all students studying the full national curriculum. All students then complete the Guided Choices process in Year 9 ready to begin their option subjects in Years 10 and 11. In addition to the core subjects, students select up to four option subjects through the Guided Choices process at the end of Year 9. This is a broad and balanced offer, but with an emphasis on the EBacc subjects (English, Maths, Science, Geography/History and a Modern Foreign Language) to raise students' aspirations. A full range of subjects within the creative, performance and design subjects is also offered.

In Years 10 & 11 students continue to study the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, where students are set to support and accelerate their progress.

There are additional lessons for students with English as an Additional Language taught by our specialist EAL Community Coordinator. Students are tested on entry to ascertain their level of English and placed according in groups to support their development of English. The Academy liaises closely with families on these students’ progress.

Our curriculum offer changes annually, dependent on the interests and unique talents of our students. A typical range of subjects offered is outlined below.

The Academy typical subject offer