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Curriculum

Intent

The breadth of our curriculum is designed with three goals in mind:

  1. To give children appropriate experiences to develop as confident, aspirational citizens
  2. To provide links with our local and wider community to make learning relevant and purposeful
  3. To provide a coherent and structured curriculum that blends skills and knowledge

Our drivers shape the curriculum, bring about the aims and values of the school and respond to the particular needs of our community:

Communication: we listen, express ourselves, collaborate and perform with confidence

Exploration: we are curious to dig deeper, make links and have new experiences

Creativity: we are reflective and use our imaginations to problem solve and create something new of value

As a Unicef Rights Respecting School, we promote children’s rights and the British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of others.

Our curriculum is based on research, with three main principles underpinning it:

  1. Learning is social. Children learn best when doing so with others. Lessons encourage interaction and collaboration.
  2. Learning is associative. Children are encouraged to look for links and build on their prior knowledge.
  3. Learning results in a change in long term memory and therefore cannot be assessed in the short term.

Implementation

A coherently planned academic curriculum, underpinned by our drivers, sets out:

  1. A clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered
  2. The ‘threshold concepts’ children should understand
  3. Criteria for progression within the threshold concepts
  4. Criteria for depth of understanding

The diagram below shows a model of our academic curriculum structure for non-core subjects and Science:

curriculum model image

  1. The curriculum breadth for each year group ensures each teacher has clarity as to what to cover. It also provides key knowledge within subjects and has been carefully selected to ensure progression, relevance and purpose.
  2. Threshold concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated many times through different units (breadth).
  3. Milestones define the standards for the threshold concepts and span two academic years e.g. Milestone 2 for Y3-4
  4. Depth: we expect pupils in the first half term of each unit to develop a Fundamental (F) understanding of the concepts and an Advancing (A) or Deep (D) understanding in the second half term. The first half term is the knowledge building phase that provides the foundations for later application. Learning at this stage must not be rushed and involves a high degree of repetition to ensure knowledge enters the long-term memory. If core knowledge is acquired quickly, teachers will create extended knowledge.

Breadth- How we determined our breadth

We determined the breadth of our curriculum by considering the specific needs of our school community and the cultural diversity within it, ensuring learning is relevant and purposeful.

Our breadth includes the study of aspirational role models and it provides opportunities to extend the children’s cultural capital. All subjects within the National Curriculum are included in our breadth with subjects taught discreetly, enabling children to believe they could become scientists, historians or geographers of the future. Our ambition is to provide our children with the best opportunities to become confident and aspirational citizens.

Pedagogy- How we teach

Our children are introduced to new knowledge before being asked to use and apply that knowledge in a purposeful way, at a later stage. Units are therefore repeated. Units are introduced during the first half of a term, and then repeated during the second half of the term.

When units are introduced for the first time, children are provided with increased direct teacher instruction, supporting their acquisition of new knowledge. Children are likely to be working at the fundamental stage of a milestone when they visit the unit for the first time.

When units are revisited, children are given the opportunity to use and apply the new knowledge gained, in a variety of ways. They are encouraged to communicate, explore and create something new of value. By this point, children are likely to be working at the advancing or deep stage of the milestone.

Teaching and learning during the first half of each term is mainly teacher led and is therefore likely to look different to the teaching and learning during the second half of the term, when there is an increased focus on pupil led collaboration, exploration and creativity.

Links and Progression

Links are included in our breadth and are made explicit for the children. These links help children make connections between their prior learning and their new learning. The more links children make the easier it is for them to ‘remember’ new knowledge. Links are made within and across subjects and within and across year groups.

Teaching and learning focuses on the threshold concepts, the key disciplinary aspects of each subject, and these are repeated many times within and across year groups. The milestone statements, defining the standards for each threshold concept, guarantee teaching for progression (knowledge and skills) across year groups.

Knowledge Webs

Subject leaders will be developing and introducing knowledge webs from the start of the academic year 2021/22. Knowledge webs capture the key knowledge and vocabulary taught within each unit and they support prior learning by specifying links to earlier year group units. The webs will be used as a reference document by staff and children for the duration of the unit and they will also be shared with parents. In addition, during the academic year 2021/22, subject leaders will be ensuring progression in the use of vocabulary by producing vocabulary glossaries.

Sustained Mastery

Nothing is learned unless it rests in pupils’ long-term memory. This does not happen, and cannot be assessed, in the short term.  Our assessment process therefore addresses the following two questions: ‘How well are pupils coping with the curriculum content?’ and ‘How well are they retaining previously taught content?’

Impact

Screenshot 2019-07-18 at 10.14.58

The intended impact of our curriculum is that children build knowledge, make connections between different knowledge acquired and use it to explore and create. When pupils begin working within a new milestone they are likely to be working at a fundamental stage. By the end of the milestone, most pupils have sustained mastery of the content, e.g. they have fluency in procedural knowledge (skills) and strong, semantic understanding and they are assessed as working at an advancing stage within the milestone. Some pupils demonstrate a greater depth of understanding. Their use of procedural knowledge (skills) is automatic and they use their semantic knowledge to make connection that are not obvious. These pupils are assessed as working at a deep stage within the milestone.

Assessment 

Assessment in foundation subjects and Science allows children to show whether they have achieved a fundamental, advancing or deep understanding of each milestone.

Formative assessment opportunities; retrieval questions linked to prior learning, low stakehold quizzes, proof of progress tasks. These are used throughout the unit.

Summative assessment opportunities; a ‘big’ end of year quiz consisting of questions from each unit taught throughout the year.

Impact is monitored through:

  • Summative tests
  • Teacher assessment
  • Assessment data tracking for progress and attainment
  • Pupil Progress Meetings
  • Lesson observations
  • Learning walks
  • Work scrutiny
  • Staff collaborative monitoring
  • Pupil focus groups
  • Attendance and Behaviour data tracking – discussed at governing body meetings