Curriculum Statement

At Co-op Academy Oakwood the core aim of our curriculum is to provide insight, creativity and experience in all subjects. These three main themes dictate how our curriculum has been designed to provide all our children with a broad, exciting and ambitious curriculum that will develop their knowledge and cultural capital so that they are able to succeed in life. In each subject a logical sequence of lessons has been developed so that every child can gain a deep understanding and genuine interest through hands-on practical tasks and first-hand experiences. We know that our children, through no fault of their own, are at a disadvantage (48% have free school meals, 38% pupil premium) and need to be empowered so that they have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society. Indeed, the children we teach come from an area of Leeds that has been historically and continues to be in the top 1% of deprivation nationally (https://observatory.leeds.gov.uk) and has all the associated aspects that this entails such as low life expectancy, childhood obesity and mental health issues. Deprivation Statistics Comparison for Gipton & Harehills, Leeds (ilivehere.co.uk).

This knowledge underpins our drive to provide high-quality learning experiences in all areas of the curriculum, especially PSHE which allows us to confront these challenging issues head on. For example, at the beginning of each half-term we deliver a MINDMATE lesson to support the children’s social, emotional & mental health skills https://mindmatechampions.org.uk/

Wherever possible our curriculum is designed to raise aspirations as the local area has a very high rate of people seeking jobseekers allowance (https://observatory.leeds.gov.uk) so for example, in science we use a scheme of work designed in cooperation with other Co-op schools that serve similarly deprived areas of the country. There are regular opportunities in every year group and subject area, including visits by people working in the scientific field, so that children get to learn about potential future careers and employability.

As a Co-op school we strive to ensure our children develop a strong sense of: self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.

Self help – so that children learn how to empower themselves and by doing this have an insight into how they can contribute positively to society. In our comprehensive D&T curriculum the children have the opportunity to grow their own fruit and vegetables, harvest them and sell the produce.

Self-responsibility – so that they know the importance of taking responsibility for, and answering to their own actions. In our PE curriculum delivered by our own dedicated team the children get the opportunity to play team sports (invasion games such as basketball and football are taught across KS2) and are taught how to remain calm and confident.

Democracy and equality – so they begin to understand the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance. In our history curriculum British history is taught as one strand beginning with recent history and stepping back in time as they progress through the year groups, so they get the opportunity to learn how democracy was hard fought for in this country and how valued it remains today. This is particularly important as our school serves a unique community which brings together children from around the world (46% of our children have English as an additional language).

Equity and solidarity – so that they know how important it is to hear every individual’s voice. In our geography curriculum they get to study not only local places and the lives of the people who live here but also get a chance to compare this to their own home countries and other countries in Africa, South America and Asia. For example in year 6 the children get an insight into the townships of South Africa.

The National Curriculum forms the basis of our curriculum and we cover the full scope of the NC, ensuring that learning follows a logical and natural progression, not only across year groups but across key stages. Subjects such as art & design and D&T, geography and history are carefully interleaved so that all subjects are covered at least every two weeks. This allows for the children to build upon the skills and knowledge they have gained in each lesson, each term and in each year group so that they retain a long-term memory and clear understanding of what they have learnt and what they are going to learn. We use a system of whole class feedback in many subjects as we know that good feedback can ‘reduce discrepancies between current understandings and performance and a goal’ (Sadler 1989) and ensures that the key knowledge the children need to remember is revisited regularly. As a school, we use interconnected subject curriculum groups (Discovery, World, Child and Arts) to ensure coherence and clear progression across all subjects and allow opportunities for a creative curriculum to support learning.

It is important that our curriculum is designed to support our children who come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds (at least 37 different languages are spoken) and to this end it is built around language and vocabulary acquisition and real-life experiences wherever possible. Our focus on equality and diversity allows us the opportunity to create a book spine that supports the children’s wide cultural backgrounds, such as reading books by Mary Hoffman (Amazing Grace), Jessica Love (Julian is a Mermaid) and Ibtihaj Muhammad (Proudest Blue). It also allows us to plan trips to support art & design (The Hepworth gallery), geography (Otley Chevin Park), history (Lotherton Hall) amongst many others. These memorable learning experiences are embedded and occur regularly throughout the curriculum to allow them to explore, investigate and develop a real love of learning.

Our curriculum is built upon solid foundations and uses quality resources but does not remain static. Our staff actively strive to constantly improve our curriculum so that it remains accessible and responds to any changes in the needs of our community, to ensure that every child has the opportunity to leave Co-op Academy Oakwood knowledgeable, confident, empowered and excited about their educational journey that lies ahead.

Follow the links below to find out more about our Curriculum offers for:

To further enhance our curriculum, we have identified core experiences designed to enhance children’s knowledge and understanding beyond subject-specific learning. Through these, we aim to broaden children’s wider experiences of the world and enable them to develop a better understanding of themselves and their role in their community and society.

Our PSHE curriculum is central to our school ethos which places our children and families at the centre of its work. We help our children to understand and value themselves; to be optimistic about the future and life’s possibilities; to develop the positive self-esteem and confidence to take increasing control of, and responsibility for, their lives as well as playing an active part in their community. We teach our children how to keep themselves safe and healthy, considering issues such as online safety, healthy relationships and mental health and wellbeing. We also promote tolerance of others and a willingness to listen and appreciate the views and lifestyles that others may follow.

For religious education, we follow the Leeds locally agreed syllabus for RE.

 It is important that our children achieve high standards, both in the respect and tolerance they show to each other and within society, as well as in their learning and the contribution they make to academy life. We believe that our curriculum motivates our children to work hard, show resilience and problem-solve so that they are ready and skilled to manage whatever the world throws at them.