Curriculum Design Statement
Below is our Curriculum Design Statement relating to how we are meeting the National Curriculum requirements within Key Stages 1 and 2 as well as how we tailor our Curriculum to the needs of our school community. For more information about our Early years curriculum please see the Early Years page.
The breadth of our curriculum is designed with three goals in mind:
- To give pupils appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens
- To provide rich diverse and engaging opportunities for learning
- To provide a coherent, structured, academic curriculum that leads to sustained mastery and a greater depth of understanding for those who are capable
1. Appropriate experiences
We have developed three curriculum drivers that shape our curriculum, bring about the aims and values of our school, and respond to the particular needs of our school community:
Citizenship – which helps our pupils to be an active, responsible member of our school, the locality, our country and the world
Ambition – which help pupils to build aspirations and know available possibilities for their future lives
Resilience – which helps our pupils to overcome difficulties and use their initiative to solve problems and further their learning
2. Opportunities for Learning
We incorporate a range of varied learning opportunities to develop children’s interest and engagement including experiences beyond the National Curriculum expectations.
3. A Coherently planned academic curriculum
Underpinned by the three drivers, our academic curriculum sets out:
- A clear list of the breath of topics to be covered
- The ‘threshold concepts’ pupils should understand
- Criteria for progression within the threshold concepts ‘Milestones’
- Criteria for depth of understanding
The diagram below shows the model of our curriculum structure in KS1 and KS2:
This diagram is explained in the next column.
The curriculum structure (as shown in the diagram below left) is as follows
a) The curriculum breadth for each year group ensures each teacher has clarity as to what to cover. As well as providing the key knowledge within subjects it also provides for pupils’ growing cultural capital or background knowledge that is developed through learning experiences
b) Threshold concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated in each topic
c) Milestones define the standards for the threshold concepts and ensure progression across each year group phase of school
d) Depth allows for the building of knowledge over time. We expect pupils in Year 1 of the milestone to develop a Basic understanding of the concepts and an Advancing or Deep understanding in Year 2 of the milestone. Phase one (Years 1, 3 and 5) in a milestone is the knowledge building phase that provides the fundamental foundations for later application. Learning at this stage must not be rushed ad will involve a high degree of repetition so that knowledge enters pupils’ long-term memory. If all of the core knowledge is acquired quickly, teacher create extended knowledge.
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 to main questions:
How well are pupils coping with the curriculum content?
How well are they retaining previously taught content?
The curriculum sets high expectations for all children, however for some pupils with high levels of special educational needs or disabilities then a more personal approach to the curriculum is designed. This is done on an individual basis that targets children personal targets, needs and next steps for learning.
Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; two main principles underpin it:
- Learning is most effective with repetition
- Retrieval of previously learned threshold concepts and skills is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength
In addition to the three principles we also understand that deep learning is invisible in the short-term and 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 or class discussions, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practice 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.