“Develop people of good character who achieve excellence and make a positive contribution to their communities.”
Our knowledge rich curriculum focuses on, knowledge acquisition, character development and the achievement of excellence. This is achieved through a curriculum that facilitates depth of study as well as breadth of experience. It delivers powerful knowledge rooted in subject based concepts as well as building cultural capital through focused enrichment. We believe in excellence in all areas and that all have a right to access the best that has been said and thought. With a focus on excellence, our curriculum develops the knowledge, skills, and character required to live happy, healthy and successful lives. We ensure our curriculum is challenging, yet inclusive, so that all can work hard to fulfil their potential regardless of background or starting point.
The curriculum outlines the key knowledge that students need to learn over their time with us in order to be successful; this will then drive what and how we teach and what we assess. A knowledge rich, challenging and character-building curriculum will require students to think deeply about subject and lesson content. In other words, the level of challenge in the curriculum sets the level of challenge in our classrooms.
We want our curriculum to be challenging in its depth and breadth so that:
- All students acquire powerful knowledge that takes them beyond their own experiences
- All students are ambitious for their futures.
- All students build their background knowledge and cultural capital to enable them to engage fully in the curriculum content.
- All students acquire academic, subject specific vocabulary. They can talk confidently, accurately and publicly about what they have learnt.
- All students appreciate the value of each subject and content of lessons.
- All students, at every stage, acquire and retain the knowledge they need to succeed and to move forward to the next stage including progression to higher education.
- All students are equipped with the knowledge, skills and experiences to become good citizens and lifelong learners.
In order to achieve this, we have been developing a set of curriculum principles to drive our work with this:
- The academic curriculum provides a map through all key stages that directs what knowledge should be taught and when it should be taught. However, this will also allow some flexibility for teachers to respond to the differing needs of their classes as identified through detailed gap analysis.
- The curriculum is taught in a coherent and step-by-step sequence that allows for the incremental development of knowledge within each subject/topic.
- Core background knowledge and relevant cultural capital required for understanding is explicitly taught enabling students to make sense of the information they are being given.
- When possible, each new unit of learning builds upon the previous unit.
- Broad and deep factual knowledge is usually the prerequisite for skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking, evaluation and analysis.
- Learning and performance are not confused. Curriculum design supports real learning which requires durable changes to long-term memory.
- New academic, technical vocabulary is incorporated into curriculum planning, explicitly taught and referred to often.
- Enrichment broadens students’ experiences, helping them to make sense of the world around them, and enables them to acquire cultural capital.
We are then implementing this in the following way:
- Each subject clearly identifies the ‘threshold concepts’ that are necessary to become excellent in this subject and enable students to progress to higher education.
- Each subject identifies the ‘junior version’ of each threshold concept required to become excellent in this subject each year and enable progression through the curriculum.
- Each subject develops a long-term map that explicitly lays out the knowledge students are expected to acquire in order to achieve the junior versions each academic year. This knowledge builds cumulatively in terms of its breadth and depth.
- Subject teams identify the knowledge required to achieve mastery of each subject with an unrelenting focus on helping students to learn this knowledge.
- Each unit of work is supported by a knowledge organiser that stipulates with precision the knowledge required for mastery. This includes relevant technical vocabulary and is used consistently across each subject.
- Regular retrieval practice and low stakes testing is built into the curriculum to help students form durable long-term memories.
- CPD, specifically CLIC (weekly faculty collaborative learning), maintains an unrelenting focus on improving and evolving the curriculum, and ensures that all teachers are developing their subject pedagogical knowledge.
- Students are explicitly taught strategies for knowledge acquisition (memorisation, revision, self-testing etc.) to support students in self-regulating their own learning of the core knowledge.
- Homework is planned into the curriculum and consistently applied across subjects. It provides students with the opportunity to practise, memorise, retrieve, extend upon or apply the knowledge that they have been taught in lessons, or provide the opportunity to act on feedback to improve a piece of work.