We want all children to master the powerful knowledge necessary to excel, not only in public examinations, but in their interactions with the world, ensuring they are prepared for their next pathway and for them to lead happy, successful lives.
Curriculum design is the cornerstone to delivering a quality education to all children.
We believe in having a knowledge-rich curriculum that delivers broad, diverse and ambitious knowledge, invaluable for ensuring all children are ‘in the know’ and are taken beyond their everyday experience.
When we choose what to include in our curriculum, we are always aware that we are choosing not to include something else. As such, our subject team leaders begin by fixating on ‘what’ to teach and the intent of their curriculum, before thinking about ‘how’ they will deliver it. With this in mind, we believe in selecting ‘better’ or ‘more powerful knowledge’ in every subject discipline, which is specialised and takes its authority from leading academic institutions.
It is every child’s right, regardless of their academic ability or prior attainment, to access this powerful knowledge to ensure they are not only able to perform well in public examinations but develop the disciplinary knowledge and cultural capital necessary to successfully navigate and interrogate the future world they will encounter. For staff at Harris Academy Ockendon, this is a matter of social justice.
• In English, we want students to experience the majesty of Shakespeare, and to create deep, cognitive connections in their knowledge by exploring the origins of Greek tragedies and its impact on drama across societies, cultures and time periods.
• In history, students will develop a good understanding of the lessons to be taken from the Holocaust, but we also know their knowledge and understanding will be richer if they have an appreciation for the impact of genocide more widely by studying other global events in Bosnia, Rwanda and Cambodia.
• In music, students will develop competent performance skills across musical instruments such as the piano, keyboard, guitar, and using their voice, as well as learning to appreciate and interpret the diverse origins and cultural heritage associated with music by studying Gamelan music of Indonesia or Reggae and Blues music.
Our subject team leaders have designed and planned their curriculum according to the following 5 principles:
1. The curriculum is driven by powerful knowledge with the challenge ‘pitched up’;
2. The curriculum is sequenced logically so that new knowledge builds upon old and prepares students for the next stage;
3. The curriculum is specified in detail so that teachers and students are clear on what needs to be learned and in what depth;
4. The curriculum is taught to be remembered, not merely encountered;
5. The curriculum is supported with a homework strategy that supports the delivery of knowledge to long-term memory.
Our curriculum is unashamedly broad and ambitious both in key stage 3 and key stage 4 and there is no narrowing until students choose their options at the end of year 9.
Students in years 7 to 9 study the National Curriculum, which has been interpreted, designed and sequenced by subject leaders to prepare students for their next steps.
Subjects such as Drama, whilst not forming part of the National Curriculum, are core parts of a weekly timetable for our students at key stage three as we understand how it contributes to the personal development of students in areas such as communication, empathy, discipline and emotional intelligence.
Students go on to study a rich and varied key stage 4 curriculum which is exemplified by the increasing numbers of students entered for the English Baccalaureate, and the large numbers of students accessing more creative subjects at key stage 4 such as art, design technology and music.
The curriculum offer at key stage 5 has a variety of level three qualifications at A-level and vocational level that meet the needs of students and enable them to achieve successfully.
We designed the post 16 curriculum with the overall intent of providing the right qualifications for students to access the most competitive universities and apprenticeships.
Students are able to study a variety of level 3 academic and vocational qualifications, with the option to study purely academic A-levels or A-levels in combination with vocational disciplines.
Our curriculum includes only the vocational qualifications which we believe offer students the right knowledge and skills to access further education or the labour market.