The role of the Subject Leader is pivotal in the successful implementation of our curriculum. Each curriculum subject has a dedicated leader who works alongside the Curriculum Lead on the curriculum design, delivery and impact in their own curriculum area. Subject leaders and leaders at all levels regularly review and quality assure their subject area to ensure coverage, breadth and balance. Regular opportunities are provided to continually develop in their own subject knowledge, expertise and practical skill so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout school. As a school, we make a conscious effort to engage with drivers that will enable further development and excellence in specific areas, e.g. we have been awarded the Science Quality Mark.
WOW Days / The Big Idea
Each curriculum theme begins with a ‘Big Idea’ that gives the purpose and context to the ideas behind ‘why’ we are learning this. Each Big Idea is an enquiry based questions that drives learning within History or Geography (alternating every half term). The children begin their learning with a ‘WOW day’; an emersion into the theme that inspires thought, promotes questions and gives all children, regardless of background and prior experience, the motivation and aspiration to find out more.
Our curriculum is strategically mapped out to ensure pupils acquire and retain knowledge, vocabulary and skills in a well-planned sequence of lessons that allow for concept connections. The Big Idea enquiry questions are carefully sequenced across the phases to ensure pupils acquire the knowledge and skills needed for them to be successful in their next stage of learning. New learning is based upon what has been taught before and links are made in and between subjects over time, ensuring subject depth, coherence and progression. These meaningful links help to fully embed concepts into pupils’ long term memory.
Within individual subjects, Subject Leaders clearly define the sequence of learning. The first lesson within a unit of learning begins with revisiting prior learning to provide a context upon which they can integrate their new knowledge. Knowledge Retention grids are used at the beginning of a lesson, to review prior learning, supporting children to strengthen memory and retention of key knowledge.
High quality texts are used to support the delivery of lessons across the curriculum, e.g. as a hook to engage learners in a concept or using a non-fiction text to extract facts. This allows for a smooth transfer of skills from English lessons into wider subjects, giving learning a real meaning. Key vocabulary is interwoven within all lessons and builds on prior learning.
Educational visits / visitors
Our curriculum goes beyond the experiences of the classroom to ensure that pupils are exposed to the richest and most varied first hand experiences that we can provide. We benefit from the rich history and geography of our local area by embedding our curriculum in the children’s own environment. Relevant and memorable experiences are developed for each theme, such as our WOW days, visits, visitors, fieldwork and residential visits.
Assessment and retention of learning is used routinely in classrooms to inform teaching sessions and sequencing with both knowledge acquisition and application being well balanced. The curriculum is planned and taught rigorously, supporting children to deepen their understanding of key knowledge and skills so that they can be recalled and applied in varied contexts. Regular low stakes tests and retrieval activities are used to strengthen memory and retention of key knowledge, e.g. the use of Retrieval Practice Grids at the beginning of a lesson. This responsive assessment process is used to determine whether pupils are ready to move to the next sequence in the planned lessons and if barriers need to be addressed.