We have a distinctive approach at OSA that treats RE, History and Geography as distinct and important subjects in their own right and also acknowledges them as different but also sees them as complementary ways of understanding the human experience.
We believe in easing the transition between Primary and Secondary school by teaching students in mixed ability form groups. Students have one teacher throughout the year for 5 lessons a week. That teacher delivers two units of History, Geography and RE studied in a rotation through the year. Thinking skills and enquiry based topics sit at the heart of the year 7 Humanities curriculum. We have constructed our curriculum around the principles of:
Engaging Lessons – Learning and retaining knowledge, study skills and fun.
Literacy Activities – Structuring essays, writing to time and reading for meaning.
Extended Homework’s – Independence, resilience, time management, creativity & fun!
Group Projects – Team work, time management, research skills & fun!
The students learn to write an answer in essay form, to address the big topic question at the end of each series of lessons. We use this opportunity to put a real focus on developing literacy. Because this skill is common to all three subjects this is the level that we report on because students can see clear and consistent progress throughout the year as they will ultimately write six essays.
Alongside the subject knowledge and literacy; we also want to help the students develop independent learning skills. For this reason, each unit of work has a group project. Students are encouraged to choose a question that interests them before researching it and producing an outcome such as a documentary, a play or a podcast that answers the question. This work is assessed by the teacher but there is also a strong emphasis on the students reflecting on the process of working independently in order to develop the skills they will need as they move towards adulthood.
The last strand we look to develop is our homework projects. Our aim was to make homework’s as creative and inspirational as they could be. We want students to be supported in researching an element of the curriculum and giving them a significant amount of time to produce something which really helps their understanding of the topic and which they can be really proud of. We have been really pleased that parents have been getting involved and supporting the students too. We hope students will be enthusiastically talking about these amazing pieces of work in years to come. Homework is assessed for subject knowledge by the teacher and is also self and peer assessed according to agreed criteria.
Students are supported in all aspects of their work by staff. On Friday evenings until 4pm we have dedicated time where students can come and get support with their essays or models or research. We don’t presume they will necessarily have access to everything they need at home and are happy to provide whatever assistance they require.
HistoryHistory Reading List History A Level Reading List
The History Department at OSA is made up of a small group of vibrant, dynamic and experienced teachers who are committed to student success and the enjoyment of History for all.
The key skills from Year 7 are then developed in Year 8 History with in-depth subject specialist teaching. Year 8 History topics focus on the period 1500 until 1945 covering a vast array of topics ranging from Tudor monarchs and the rise and fall of the British Empire to Conflicts of the 20th Century. The topics are designed to engage all students throughout the year and give them an understanding of how history influences the present and also to prepare them with academic skills required to face the challenges ahead as they move in to their GCSE years. We have speakers and trips throughout the year such as the Sealed Knot, Cinema screenings of Historical films and visiting the Imperial War Museum.
Students follow the Eduqas GCSE History Linear Specification (A), all students sit the same exam and there are no tiers. Students study the GCSE course over Years 9 and 10, sitting a mock exam at the end of Year 10. Based on their mock exam we will then spend Year 11 addressing any final topics that students need to revise and ensuring they are fully prepared before they take their GCSE exam in Year 11.
The 4 topics studied include: Nazi Germany, USA 1929-2000, Crime and Punishment through time (500 – present) and Elizabethan England. This course has been chosen to suit a wide variety of students and allow for the most interesting topic which the students can also access with ease.
History students go on a variety of educational trips. These include: The London Dungeons, Oxford Castle/Prison, a historic walking tour of Oxford and a trip to the Globe Theatre.
Our popular Key Stage 5 offer is Edexcel History. This includes the study of Apartheid in South Africa, the development of the USA 1917-2000 in Year 12. Year 13 includes the British experience of Warfare and the students own Personal Study. The Personal Study element allows students to pursue their own areas of interest by developing their own Historical coursework titles and conducting their own research. By the end of the two years course the students will be well versed in independent study as well as many other skills that History can offer. The students will move into either further education such as university or perhaps into the world of work with a vast range of skills they can utilise for the rest of their lives.
The Geography Department at OSA is made up of a small group of creative, knowledgeable and experienced teachers who are committed to student success and the enjoyment of Geography for all.
Year 8 Curriculum
The Year 8 curriculum offers a wide range of interesting and engaging units of work such as the Geography of Crime, Earthquakes and Volcanoes. The focus is on problem solving; for example, designing urban environments to reduce opportunities for crime.
Students follow the Eduqas GCSE Geography B specification. Students study the GCSE course over Years 9 and 10, sitting a mock exam at the end of Year 10. Based on their mock exam we will then spend Year 11 addressing any final topics that students need to revise before they take their GCSE exam in Year 11. Again, there is a big focus on problem solving as one of the exam papers is on geographical problems and solutions. The specification focuses the minds of students on the geographical issues that are relevant to their generation. Students have the opportunity to consider stakeholder views on a variety of geographical issues and, in doing so; become knowledgeable, yet critical, Geographers.
AS and A2
Our popular Key Stage 5 offer is Edexcel Geography. The A level comprises of a four unit course with an enquiry based approach to fieldwork and learning. It is a popular course enjoyed by learners in centres all over England and Wales for a number of reasons. The course encourages students to understand a global world, its complex challenges and such issues as climate change, shifts in economic power, poverty and deprivation and sustainability. It also provides a great platform for entry into Russell Group universities.
GCSE geographers all go on 1 day long field trip each year for years 9, 10 and 11. A Level geographers enjoy 2 residential field work experiences each 3 days long.
Religion, Philosophy and EthicsReligious Studies And Philosophy Reading List
Religious Education at Oxford Spires Academy hopes to fill children with awe and wonder. Students are encouraged to look at life from other people’s perspectives. This enables them to work together and understand the global community. The RE Department at OSA is made up of a small group of creative, knowledgeable and experienced teachers who are committed to student success.
Year 8 Curriculum
The Year 8 curriculum offers a diverse and stimulating diet for young learners. We provide in-depth subject specialist teaching, with both thematic and religion based units. Year 8 topic elements include Movers & Shakers, New Religions, Buddhidm, and Sikhism.
At year 9 students embark on their GCSE programme. Students follow the Eduqas syllabus Religious Philosophical and Ethical studies in the modern world. They will study; Human Relations, Life and Death, Good and Evil, Human Rights. The students then study two world faiths. We have chosen Christianity and Islam in order to reflect the main faiths of our diverse student community.
AS and A2
At A-level students study Eduqas Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics. The students will look at some of the great Philosophers and how the have shaped many areas of modern thinking. Learners are encouraged to adopt an enquiring critical and reflective approach to the study of religion, ethics and philosophy.