Our aims are to ensure that our children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.
Curriculum Intent Model
Curriculum drivers shape out curriculum breadth. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our children, out beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure that we give our children appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.
Cultural capital gives our children the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtfulmembers of our community who understand and believe in British values.
Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and out ambition for children to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.
Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘threshold concepts’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are being studied.
Threshold concepts tie together the subject topics in to meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through the ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, children return to the same concept over and over and gradually build understanding of them.
For each of the threshold concepts three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural and semantic knowledge children need to understand the threshold concepts, provides a progression model.
Knowledge categories in each subject give children a way of expressing their understanding of threshold concepts.
Knowledge webs help children to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.
Cognitive science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high is children are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long term memory. Cognitive science also tells is that in order for children to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time.
Within each Milestone, children gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. The goal for children is to display sustained mastery at the advancing stage of understanding by the end of each milestone and for the abler to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage. The time-scale for sustained mastery or greater depth is therefore two years of study.
As part of our progression model we use a different pedagogical style in each cognitive domain of basic, advancing and deep. 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 on approaches later. We use direct instruction in the basic domain and problem based discovery in the deep domain. This is called the reversal effect.
Also as part of our progression model we use POP tasks (Proof of Progress) which shows our curriculum expectations in each cognitive domain.
Diagram of Curriculum Intent model:
Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:
Learning is most effective with spaced repetition
Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long –term retention.
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.
Our content s subject specific. We make intra-curricular links to strengthen schema.
Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practice for previously learned content.
Because learning is a change to long term memory is it impossible to see impact in the short term.
We do, however use probabilistic assessment based on deliberate practise. 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.
We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the tasks we set (POP Tasks, see point 12) and in comparing children’s work over time.
We use learning reviews to see if the pedagogical style matches out depth expectations (see point 11)