Our curriculum design statement
The breadth of our curriculum is designed with three goals in mind:
1) To give pupils appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens;
2) To provide a rich ‘cultural capital’;
3) To provide a coherent, structured, academic curriculum that leads to sustained mastery for all and a greater depth of understanding for those who are capable.
- Appropriate experiences
We have developed three curriculum drivers that shape our curriculum, bring about the aims
and values of our school, and to respond to the particular needs of our community:
- Real Relevant Rich – to give our children learning experience that are pertinent to their lives both now and in the future and increase the opportunities for first-hand experience
- Danger – children to experience things that are slightly outside their safe environment – from climbing to reading aloud on stage to cycling around our track
- Possibilities - which helps pupils to build aspirations and know available possibilities for their future lives
- Cultural capital
Cultural capital is the background knowledge of the world pupils need to infer meaning from what they read. It includes vocabulary which, in turn, helps pupils to express themselves in a sophisticated, mature way.
- A coherently planned academic curriculum
underpinned by the three drivers, our academic curriculum sets out:
- a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered;
- the ‘essential concepts’ (learning objectives) pupils should understand;
- criteria for progression within the threshold. concepts;
- criteria for depth of understanding.
We arrange the learning in Milestones spanning two year groups to allow time for children to work at a greater depth of understanding.
- Milestone 1 – years 1 and 2
- Milestone 2 – years 3 and 4
- Milestone 3 – years 5 and 6
During each milestone children will work at a range of levels. Pupils by the end of Year 1, 3 and 5 should achieve a ‘basic’ level of work as we are all apprentices when we start new things. Pupils in Year 2, 4 and 6 should achieve an ‘advancing’ level of work, they are qualified (they have met national expectations). Pupils who grasp concepts quickly will be working with greater depth, making broader connections with increased autonomy to become masterful in the subject by the end of the milestone.
A = apprentice = your child is approaching the national expectation
Q = qualified = your child has securely met the national expectation
M = masterful = your child has gone beyond the national expectation and has shown they can get to grips with deeper thinking in that area.
Nothing is learned unless it rests in pupils’ long-term memories. This does not happen, and cannot be assessed, in the short term. Assessment, therefore answers two main questions:
- ‘How well are pupils coping with curriculum content?
- ‘How well are they retaining previously taught content?’
Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science and we are working on a long term plan to integrate three main principles:
1) learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
2) Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.
3) Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both
storage and retrieval strength.
In addition to the three principles we also understand that learning is invisible in the short-term and that sustained mastery takes time. Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach. Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practise for previously learned content.
The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each Milestone, the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the content, that is, they remember it all and are fluent in it; Some pupils have a greater depth of understanding. We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum.