Our curriculum aim is to deliver one that challenges ideas and inspires new learning, developing a thirst for knowledge and and a love of different subjects. Involving the families in our learning opportunities is of great importance and each project will end with opportunities to share their new found knowledge. this gives a hands on understanding of what our children are producing in school. We follow the National Curriculum for all our subjects to ensure our curriculum is robust.
We plan our curriculum through projects to develop knowledge over time building skills through experiences with the central aim to provide engaging, questioning and thought provoking opportunities for all learners to promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development in preparation for lifelong opportunities, responsibilities and experiences.
The following section outlines our curriculum approaches. If you wish to find out more, please do not hesitate to speak to your child's class teacher or speak to a member of our school leadership team - Mr A Booth (Headteacher) or Mrs G Platts (Assistant Headteacher).
Planning our curriculum
"A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there." - H. Stanley Judd
"Planning is critical and it is fundamental in providing the structure and architecture for pupils’ learning. Results are better when teachers are given time to plan together on a scheme. This should identify the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the content to be taught." - Mary Myatt
Our project based learning is driven by an overarching 'big' question which is then broken down into three small questions, known as case studies. Each of these case studies drive exploration across individual subject disciplines. We teach most subjects discreetly with an aim of preserving the unique nature of each subject and allowing children to understand they are developing skills and knowledge in the specific subject area (EG when learning about history, we are thinking as historians). We believe this gives them a better understanding of each subject. The risk, however, is children seeing subjects as disconnected silos. We therefore aim to adopt a measured approach that retains subject disciplines but makes connections where they are appropriate. These can be at the same time of year (for example studying Victorian history and Victorian art at the same time of year).
Each project is has at least one immersion opportunity where the children will have experience of visits or visitors to either begin to drive the curiosity of their project or to help embed knowledge and understanding as well as continue to inspire their love of learning within the subject area. They will be supported to enquire and respond to questions that will then be referenced to throughout the exploration of the project.
SUBSTANTIVE OR DISCIPLINARY KNOWLEDGE?
We also give a great deal of thought to the difference between substantive and disciplinary knowledge. There is more to a subject than the information, facts and concepts that are taught and learned. These things are substantive knowledge. Disciplinary knowledge focuses on what it is that historians / scientists / geographers / linguists / programmers actually do in order to preserve the discipline in each subject and make it about more than substantive knowledge . By following the national curriculum this helps us clarify the disciplinary aspect of each curriculum subject.
As a team we have worked to develop our key concepts in each subject area. This has taken time, a lot of research and educational reading from different sources such as the historical association and leading thinkers in their respective subjects. We like to think of a key concept as an opportunity to create growth of understanding through carefully chosen units of work in each year group. As we are a half form entry school we have thought through how best to deliver each concept over a two year learning cycle and plotted them on to our long term unit planner which in turn has been colour coded to show progression within each key concept. Thinking in this way helps us establish the most important knowledge we ensure each pupil acquires through a specific unit of work.
ENSURING THE CURRICULUM HAS IMPACT
If our curriculum is to be successful and remembered by our pupils, we know we have to make knowledge and behaviours systematic across the school so that every child benefits from them, not just the lucky ones who happen to be in the right classroom. This means whilst staff are not pushed to a use a particular method of delivery we plan each case study (which builds the overall project) in detail to ensure we can check the curriculum is learnt and knowledge retained. Each case study builds on the knowledge that in prior units and provides essential opportunities for pupils to retrieve knowledge from their long term memories
Here are two examples of planning from our geography projects.
Strategies for delivering an effective curriculum
As a school, we have come up with strategies which we feel is required in order to ensure we deliver an effective curriculum for all of our pupils. We have also worked on a teaching sequence which allows pupils to develop their knowledge and skills within a subject while also ensuring they have the correct balance of support for their learning needs.