Whole School Curriculum Statement


Distinctive Features and Curriculum Rationale

The curriculum sits at the heart of Oswaldtwistle school life and is the key driver behind the quality of education our students receive and the associated cultural experiences they gain. It is specific to our ‘short stay’ context and the needs of the diverse groups of students’ we work with, many of whom are disadvantaged and have not had their needs met by their mainstream curriculum offer. They are often lacking in self-esteem and confidence and present as vulnerable for a number of reasons. Their literacy and numeracy skills are often poorly developed and they have significant gaps in their learning and more often than not display an entrenched dislike for education.

Our overriding aim is to ensure that all students secure an appropriate destination to move on to, be it a return to a mainstream setting, moving on to a special school setting, heading off to college or entering the world of apprenticeships and work. In strong support of this aim and central to our ethos is the support we offer in respect of the personal development and wellbeing of each of our young people. This is positively promoted by all staff and stakeholders and is the cornerstone of our community. Given the disadvantaged position of most of our students’  we place great emphasis on wider curriculum experiences, that is experiences beyond the classroom, including mentoring and key worker sessions, and cultural enrichment activities in the hope that these opportunities will help propel them further in their education, careers and social development. Furthermore social emotional literacy (Steiner, 1997) is central to our understanding of how best our children learn

It is against this back drop that the curriculum has been carefully crafted and as a team we work tirelessly within this context to help our students develop the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become responsible, resilient and productive citizens.



The curriculum is broad and balanced and carefully personalised to meet the individual needs of all students across the key stages. It has been planned and sequenced towards cumulative sufficient knowledge and skills and encourages students to make the most of their interests and talents.

The overarching themes of SMSC, British Values, the rights of the child as promoted through the Rights Respecting School Award, careers information and guidance, ‘Beyond the Curriculum, mindfulness, emotional wellbeing and nurture are incorporated into all subject curriculum planning in an attempt to support the personal development of our young people. This is further enhanced by subject related enrichment activities and trips in an attempt to address social disadvantage.

Subject leaders are responsible for the content and sequencing of their own curriculum which usually comprises of the subject matter that is identified as the most useful and engaging given the short stay characteristics of the school. They ensure that this content is taught in a logical progression, to enable students to develop the necessary knowledge and skills from simple to more complex and abstract ideas. Subject plans are sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before with the ultimate aim being the transfer of key knowledge and skills to the long term memory. In all subjects it is clear what end points the curriculum is building towards and what pupils need to know and be able to do to reach those end points. These end points are represented on academic trackers that are differentiated according to ability and shared with students.

Subject leaders also incorporate the above listed personal development themes, enrichment activities and trips in to their planning along with elements of literacy and numeracy. Furthermore, they promote the development of resilience (Ella Woods) and keenly encourage students to adopt growth mindsets (Carole Dweck). In particular there is a drive to expand students’ vocabulary banks and their reading and writing skills. As a staff we firmly believe in the work carried out by Hart and Risley and that expanding vocabulary banks help improve a young person’s reading ability and wider types of communication. A salient feature of all curriculum areas is the whole school literacy policy which is embraced by all subject leaders given the barrier it presents to a majority of our students. This includes the promotion of literacy skills in both form time and registration time which also feature the development of numeracy skills. ‘Newsround’ clips and RRSA weekly powerpoints are also an important component of our curriculum during registration time.

Cross curricular links are also planned for and are seen as valuable learning opportunities when trying to embed learning to the long term memory, especially given the short stay nature of the school and the difficulties faced when trying to secure the vertical sequencing of knowledge and skills. All these links can be observed on the Medium Term overview.

This is the overriding intent of all sites however the curriculum content/model may vary slightly according to the specific needs of the students in that group.


Implementation – Pedagogy and assessment

Excellent subject knowledge is encouraged and attendance of courses and coaching by both in-house staff and external providers is promoted in the hope to secure all round excellence in this area.

Our approach to teaching and learning fully embraces Rosenshine’s 10 principles of instruction for several reasons. Firstly it represents a highly accessible bridge between research and classroom practice and a recognisable set of ideas that skilled teachers can finely demonstrate. Secondly his theory and advocated practices incorporate aspects of cognitive science and research on the classroom practices that get the best results and thirdly it offers guidance on how students’ learn complex tasks.

The 10 principles; Start the lesson with a review of previous learning, present the new material using small steps, ask questions, provide models, guide student practice, check for student understanding, obtain a  high success rate, provide scaffolds for difficult tasks, independent practice and weekly and monthly reviews, provide all teaches with a simple Bible of instruction. When grouped in to 4 strands it becomes even more powerful and easy to follow.

Strand 1: Sequencing, concepts and modelling – present new material using small steps, provide models, provide scaffolds for difficult tasks.

Strand 2: Questioning – ask questions, check understanding

Strand 3: Stages of Practice – guide student practice, obtain high success rates, independent practice (I, We, You)

Strand 4: Reviewing material – daily review and monthly review.

All teachers have a shared understanding of this approach to teaching and learning and a shared belief that if fully embraced success, will meet with success. In particular there is an appreciation of the need to embed learning in order to allow new learning to take place effectively. To this end each student has a retrieval book in each subject which acts as a place where practice, and more practice leads to the embedding of knowledge and skills and ultimately the securing of points.

Teachers use SEN data and IEPs for support at the planning phase of their work in an attempt to ensure that individual needs are met. Information from the SEN team disseminated through inclusion and forum meetings is also used to support with this phase of practise.



We fully appreciate the importance of assessment as an integral part of the implementation process and to this end we have introduced the use of base line assessments at the start of units to help teachers to identify gaps, and even strengths; and impact assessments at the end of topics so to enable staff to see what has been successfully learned and which areas students’ require more practice in through retrieval work.

Differentiated Academic trackers are used by all teachers and contain the end points for each of the topics being taught. These are used by teachers’ and students’ to measure the degree of mastery/fluency in each of the identified areas. Data capture points occur 4 times a year because of the transitory nature of the students.



The impact of our curriculum is measured by not only the academic progress of our students’ but equally by their personal  growth in terms of gains in cultural capital and personal development, especially by disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND. Quality assurance exercises along with the voice of all stakeholders’ and data analysis will be used to help assess the success of the curriculum in both these areas. For example curriculum content, its sequencing and methods of implementation, including the timing and frequency of retrieval practice and interleaving/spacing methodology may have to be amended. As pupils are being prepared for their next stage of education, training or employment any data linked to these transition phases will be used to help assess the success of the curriculum in this area.

Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum – Main Site

On entry students are interviewed in terms of their aspirations and future career intentions, this along with their current academic standing, is then used to identify the most appropriate Learning Pathway for them as an individual; Academic, Vocational or Combination. The curriculum they follow will be balanced, accessible and relevant in an attempt to help each and every student to reach their potential. We also provide our students with the most up to date information, advice and guidance on post 16 opportunities in the local area, in an attempt to help secure meaningful destinations for them upon leaving School. This is done jointly by school and our CIAG tutor.


Our KS4 Core curriculum offer

  • Maths:  5 lessons a week (GCSE and functional Skills are both options- dependent on ability and needs)
  • English: 5 lessons a week (GCSE and Functional skills are both options – dependent on ability and needs)
  • Science: 4 lessons on the weekly timetable (A single science, namely Biology or Chemistry is offered at GCSE level or units linked to WJEC’s Learning Pathways – dependent on ability)


Our KS4 Foundation curriculum

  • BTEC Personal Development: 2 lessons per week
  • PE or Cultural Enrichment – 2 lessons a week
  • PSHCE – 3 lessons a week (This includes PSHE, Citizenship, Careers and incorporates aspects of religion and RSE)


Furthermore, students select up to 2 of the following courses, each subject occupying 3 lessons a week.

  • GCSE Half- Course PE
  • GCSE Religious Studies
  • GCSE History
  • BTEC Construction
  • BTEC Health and Social Care
  • BTEC Food
  • BTEC Looking after Children
  • BTEC Outdoor Education

Alternatively, they choose to study either GCSE Citizenship or Art for 6 periods a week.

In addition, all students have 1 form period a week where reading and literacy skills are the focus.

Information, Advice and Guidance: This is available throughout the academic year to all KS4 students. We go to great lengths to help our students to find the right post 16 destinations and stay in touch with all our leavers for the whole of their first year in post 16, tracking their progress and supporting them when needed.


Our Key stage 3 Curriculum Intent –

We have two KS3 Groups, Pendle and Winter, each with very different needs. As such the curriculum intent and content varies slightly at KS3.

The Pendle curriculum is designed to support students’ with their return to a mainstream setting and as  such follow a largely mainstream curriculum with an additional focus on addressing the reasons why they are no longer in their previous school. Prepare KS3 pupils for reintegration back in to a mainstream school or other appropriate educational centre


KS3 Pendle Curriculum Offer

Our students in Pendle study a broad and varied curriculum,

  • Maths
  • English
  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Art
  • PSHCE – 3 lessons a week (This includes PSHE, Citizenship, Careers and incorporates aspects of religion and RSE)
  • Wellbeing
  • Design & Technology
  • Physical Education/Outdoor Education/Forest schools




The Winter curriculum has been created for students who present developmental concerns and anxiety whose needs require daily routines operating in a safe classroom environment with a focus on building positive relationships amid praise and positivity. Many of these students go onto receive an EHCP and move on to a special school setting.

  •  Maths
  • English
  • PSHCE – 3 lessons a week (This includes PSHE, Citizenship, Careers and incorporates aspects of religion and RSE)
  • Design & Technology
  • Physical Education
  • Forest Schools

The remainder of Winter’s timetable is devoted to the development of personal, social and emotional skills through a Project Based Approach to Learning, underpinned by the principles of Nurture. It incorporates elements of science and the humanities with Art being central to its delivery. PIVATS and Personal Development Skills provide the framework for assessment for this component of the Winter curriculum.


Heys’ Site we offer a bespoke Medical provision for KS3 and KS4 Students

The Heys is located on the edge of Oswaldtwistle in its own grounds and provides a

pleasant and peaceful base for those students who are struggling to access their

mainstream education


Curriculum Intent – Medical specific at The Heys

Our aim at our Medical provision is to ensure that all children who are referred to

us by ELCAS are properly supported in terms of their physical and mental health,

and can play a full and active role in school life and achieve their academic


In support of the above all school leaders and teaching staff are aware of the

each student’s condition and consult with health and social care professionals

and parents to ensure that their needs are properly understood and effectively



The Intent of The Heys provison is the same as the Intent for KS3 and 4 on the main site.

Medical Curriculum Offer

All students in both KS3 and KS4 study the following subjects.

• Maths

• English

• Science

• Art

• Citizenship

• Well Being

• Physical Education

At KS4 students study the following subjects at GCSE level: Maths, English, Science

(Dual Award), Citizenship, and Art. In addition Information, Advice and Guidance

forms part of the curriculum.


Our Alternative Provision

Our Alternative Provision Intent –  To help individual students to identify and modify the behaviours that stand between them and their primary provision, with the aim being for them to return to this provision.

Our Alternative Provision Offer

A very small number of our students struggle to engage with their allocated provision and we provide a bespoke provision that is more suited to their needs and involves them either meeting daily with a member of staff for 1:1 tuition at the Civic Hall or small group tuition at The Hippings. This is always a temporary time-limited (usually 4-6 weeks) provision that is reviewed with students, parents/carers and staff regularly. Numeracy and literacy form the backbone of this offer along with targeted intervention to help remove the barriers that are stopping the student from being able to access their primary provision. In some instances students may find themselves accessing this provision for a longer period of time and if this is the case they will commence studies in BTEC Personal Development