Great Smeaton Academy Primary School
Inspiring excellence to create, discover and succeed together.
Respect, Community, Individuality and Aspiration.
We have developed a bespoke curriculum for our school, informed by the main curriculum drivers that we have identified to promote our children's learning:
- developing communication and language (including a focus on ambitious subject specific vocabulary development)
- personal social and emotional skills to prepare our children for life in modern society
- promoting diversity and providing experiences which develop cultural capital and inspire children to explore the wider world and all it has to offer
We define our curriculum as the knowledge our pupils are expected to learn (including spiritual, moral, social and cultural) through the teaching, learning and experiences provided in our children’s primary schooling.
We define knowledge as the facts, concepts and rules (declarative knowledge: to know that…), and procedural knowledge (to know how….) acquired through experience and education.
Our Knowledge-rich Curriculum and Learning for Life
The curriculum lies at the heart of education in our school. It determines what our learners will become, what they will know and understand, and what they will be able to do by the time they leave us to progress to secondary school. We incorporate and maximise opportunities to develop Personal, Social Health and Citizenship education in all subjects, as we aim to develop our pupils holistically and prepare them for further learning and life in the modern world.
As such, we aim for our knowledge-rich curriculum to enable:
(i) Sustained mastery (and a greater understanding for those who are capable) of subject specific key knowledge that we want the children to acquire;
(ii) Sustained mastery of knowledge that pupils will need to be able to make sense of the world by providing rich cultural capital.
(iii) Sustained mastery of knowledge that pupils will need as independent and responsible adults and global citizens
We deliver the National Curriculum 2014 throughout Key Stage 1 and 2 and the Curriculum Framework for EYFS, providing pupils with ‘an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens and to the best that has been thought and said, helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement’.
Coherence and Progression
We regard the curriculum as the progression model. We focus on knowledge progression mainly through subject specific models within the context of themes or topics. Hence, our long term aim is for our curriculum to be coherently planned, organised and structured with key concepts identified and prioritised, built upon and revisited.
Key principles of our curriculum design are illustrated below:
Wiliam D. (2013) Principled Curriculum Design (Designed by Oliver Caviglioli)
Whilst we ensure that there is a broad and rich curriculum, we prioritise and regard the mastering of foundational knowledge as crucial in the younger years, i.e. phonics, reading, writing, maths and understanding the world.
Reading and Vocabulary
Reading and vocabulary development is an integral part of our curriculum. We aim to develop Tier 1, 2 and 3 vocabulary (Isabel Beck 2002) and that every child is a reader as soon as possible and all by Year 6. This improves their life chances in many ways and maximises their access to and learning in all other areas of the curriculum
Pupils from all backgrounds, including those who are disadvantaged, are provided with the tools to access a broad curriculum within a language rich environment.
Attitudes, Attributes and Dispositions
We also aim for our curriculum to develop attitudes, attributes and dispositions which enable our children to:
(i) develop as confident, responsible citizens;
(ii) be prepared for future learning and life e.g. resilience, perseverance and a growth mind-set.
Our Context and Curriculum Drivers
Our curriculum reflects our local needs and context. The curriculum meets the particular aims and values of our school by ensuring our children have a wide range of experiences which broaden their knowledge of their locality, nation and world, including learning about inspirational people from modern times and history, who ‘inspire excellence’ in many areas of life and celebrate the diversity and reflect the resilience of people.
We have developed a bespoke curriculum for our school, in response to our context and informed by four main curriculum drivers that we have identified to promote our children's learning.
These are related to being:
- Confident Communicators
- Caring Collaborators
- Inquisitive Investigators
- Ambitious Explorers
Click on the link below for further details about our curriculum drivers:
‘Learning is defined as an alteration in long-term memory. If nothing has been altered in long-term memory then nothing has been learned.’
Sweller et al. 2011
The Science of Learning
In line with cognitive load theory we aim, through our teaching, to develop understanding by building well-developed schema: well organised, connected knowledge as opposed to a handful of unconnected facts. We, therefore, favour spaced and distributed learning, where knowledge is rehearsed for short periods over a longer period of time. We aim to ensure retrieval practice is built in to strengthen memory by:
· Providing overviews
· Outlining content to be covered and signalling transitions between different parts of the lesson;
· Calling attention to main ideas;
· Providing daily, weekly and monthly reviews.
· Re-teaching when necessary.
Our Pedagogical Approach
We regard teaching as effective when underpinned by Rosenshine’s ‘Principles of Instruction’ (see our Teaching and Learning statement). Key to our pedagogical approach are:
· clarity and focus on key learning within a lesson
. retrieval practice and activating prior learning
· engagement of children in aspiring to learn and understanding their own learning
· effective modelling, scaffolding and oral rehearsal
· effective questioning by staff and pupils
· effective use of formative assessment
· adaptive, responsive teaching
To facilitate this, we regard the following as essential for our teaching staff:
· pedagogical knowledge: teachers’ knowledge of effective teaching methods;
· content knowledge: teachers’ subject knowledge;
· pedagogical content knowledge: teachers’ knowledge of how to teach the particular subject / topic e.g. knowing the misconceptions that arise prior to teaching specific key knowledge.
Leadership of the curriculum is distributed to ensure effective subject leadership where subject leaders are given the autonomy to lead on their specific subject curriculum within the shared vision and accountability framework of the school.
· an overview of the subject across the school
· opportunities to develop and share expertise in the subject (content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge)
· opportunities to monitor the curriculum impact and effectiveness of curriculum implementation
We measure this by the extent to which our aims, curriculum defined end points and strong outcomes are achieved as a result of our curriculum intent and implementation.
The vast majority of our pupils will have sustained mastery of key, detailed knowledge identified and some children will have a greater depth of understanding.
‘If a student has learnt the curriculum, they have made progress.’
Impact is measure in a tailored way, relevant to each subject and is defined in the subject curriculum statement document.