Our Curriculum is led by our Head of School – Mrs McLean.
Curriculum Intent Statement
Our amazing schools are unique in the way that they operate. Although we are technically two separate schools, we actually function as one!
- Our curriculum is rooted in our core Christian values of: Friendship, Respect and Perseverance. These values support our children to blossom into inspirational, resilient, responsible, well rounded individuals ready to take their next steps in the world.
- Together, with our churches and the wider community, our schools provide a safe place of learning – a happy sanctuary for children where EVERY unique individual will be nurtured to grow and flourish, to achieve their full potential with confidence.
- Our children enjoy engaging in a wide range of opportunities both within school and beyond and are encouraged to recognise and celebrate everyone’s differences. We ensure that our children are equipped to continue their lifelong love of learning.
This is underpinned by the ‘Parable of the Mustard Seed’ and summarised by our motto:
Together may we give our children: Roots to grow and Wings to fly.
Basic Pedagogical Principles
- As Ofsted state, learning is a change to long-term memory and we know sustained mastery takes time.
- Our aims are to ensure that our pupils experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each phase/key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.
Curriculum Intent Model
- Our unique, creative curriculum is underpinned by four Curriculum drivers: Spirituality, The Arts, Sport and Possibilities. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our pupils, our beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our pupils appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.
- We use a range of metacognitive approaches to support children with their learning and promote a growth mindset.
- Cultural capital gives our pupils the vital background knowledge to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in our Christian and British values, thus preparing them to take their next steps in the world.
- Curriculum breadth is shaped and underpinned by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for pupils to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars. We also ensure that we follow the children’s interests.
- Our curriculum identifies Topics which often draw on a big idea or key question. Specific aspects of subjects are taught, within the topic framework, which include coverage of the National Curriculum.
- Key concepts tie together the Topics into meaningful units of work. The same key concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, pupils return to the same key concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them. As cognitive science tells us, learning is most effective with spaced repetition and when retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
- For each two-year phase (KS1, Lower KS2, Upper KS2) progression models include the procedural and semantic knowledge pupils need to learn within each subject. These identify the key concepts and also key vocabulary for each phase.
- For each two-year phase (KS1, Lower KS2, Upper KS2) long term planning identifies an overarching theme; Literacy units and texts; Science; ICT; History; Geography; PE; Music; Art/DT; Financial Education; PSHCE; RE; Christian Values; Outcomes to share with parents and enhancements to learning in terms of visits and visitors. There is separate planning for maths.
- Each topic starts with a ‘launch’ which inspires learners through an event to ‘hook’ their interest and imagination. Each topic ends with a celebration ’landing’ of the learning and a showcase of work, which often includes parents and members of the community.
- Topic webs help pupils link their learning between subjects and across the topics. These are shared with parents on a termly basis.
- The pace and sequencing of learning is framed within our knowledge of cognitive science. This tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if pupils are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for pupils to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time.
- Within our teaching, we use Proof of Progress or ‘POP tasks’ which show our curriculum expectations in terms of the three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep which we share with the children as: ‘Do it, Use it, Own it’. The tasks progress from direct instruction in the basic domain, which often include specific success criteria, to a problem based approach*.
- The aim for pupils is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each phase and for the most able to have greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage. The time-scale for sustained mastery or greater depth is therefore two years of study.
- Our curriculum is implemented in line with our intent. Staff utilise the long term planning and progression models to create sequences of lessons to enthuse and motivate the children.
- Whilst our content is subject specific, we make both intra and cross-curricular links to strengthen procedural and semantic knowledge.
- Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practice for previously learned content.
- In terms of classroom practice, English and Maths are taught as discrete sessions in the morning, but wherever possible they will link to the Topic. Foundation subjects are generally taught in the afternoon. The foundation subjects are taught in depth and English and Maths skills are applied across the curriculum. Weekly science sessions link to the topic wherever possible. Teaching is rigorous and children are challenged in all subjects, as they are in English and Maths. Teachers ensure a clear progression for all and have high expectation for children’s achievements in all subjects.
- Children’s work is recorded in a numerous of ways. We use specific books for Writing, Maths, RE and Science. However we also share and celebrate all aspects of children’s work on our School Blog; on Seesaw; in Class Big Books and on display throughout the school.
- We have an eclectic approach to assessment. Whilst we focus on children’s academic achievements, as our vision states, we endeavour to ensure our children are well rounded child and ready for the next stage of their education.
- Teachers regularly use Formative assessment in terms of both verbal and written feedback. Pupil progress meetings
- The SLT, phase leaders, subject leaders and governors all use lesson observations; learning walks; book scrutiny; pupil conferencing and data analysis to see if the pedagogical style matches our depth expectations (see point 11).
- We use comparative judgement in the tasks we set (POP Tasks) and in comparing a student’s work over time.
- We use summative termly and end-of-year assessments based on deliberate practice. This means that we look at the practices taking place to determine whether they are appropriate, related to our goals and likely to produce results in the long-run. Termly assessment is reported to both governors and the Trust.
- Impact is reported to parents at parent teacher consultations and in end of year reports.
* This is based on the research of Sweller, Kirschner and Rosenshine who argue to direct instruction in the early stages of learning and discovery based approached later.