The aim of our curriculum is to ‘Broaden Horizons’ to improve children’s life chances so that they become true citizens of the modern world.
The breadth of our curriculum is designed with three main goals in mind:
- To give children appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens;
- To provide a rich ‘cultural capital’;
- To provide a well-constructed, well-taught curriculum that leads to sustained mastery for all children, including disadvantaged and special educational needs, ensuring that all children are prepared for their next stage of education.
Our curriculum has been developed around four key curriculum drivers. These help to shape our curriculum, bring about the aims and values for our academy, and respond to the particular needs of our children and community:
Curiosity – This helps our children to explore, ask questions and investigate, creating a thirst for learning and fostering independence.
Citizenship – This helps our children to know more about and respect their community and uphold our British Values where respect and tolerance underpin the high moral standards that we encourage and support.
Contentment – This helps our children to self-regulate and to become happy, confident learners who understand how to keep themselves safe and are skilled at looking after their own and others’ mental and physical well-being.
Communication –This helps to show our children are supported with their reading and develop into effective communicators both orally and in written form.
Cultural capital is the background knowledge that helps our children navigate culture and alters the experiences and opportunities available to them. We believe that a structured approach to reading will develop children’s language and comprehension so that they can express themselves in a mature and sophisticated way.
‘The explicit teaching of vocabulary can enrich children’s knowledge and understanding of the world and vocabulary is a useful proxy for a great deal of general knowledge in a range of subject domains.’ Quigley, A (2018) Closing the Vocabulary Gap. Oxon:Routledge,
A Well-Constructed and Well-Taught Curriculum
Our curriculum is underpinned by our four drivers.We use the EYFS framework and the National Curriculum 2014 to shape the content and expectations of our curriculum.The Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum is used to help us structure this and look at progress within each phase.It is structured so that each phase has:
- a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered;
- the ‘Threshold Concepts’ children should understand;
- and criteria for progression within the threshold concepts.
- The curriculum breadth for each year group ensures each teacher has clarity with regards to coverage. As well as providing the key knowledge within subjects, it also provides the growing cultural capital.
- Threshold concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated over different and within breadths of study.
- Milestones define the standards at key points for the threshold concepts.
Nothing is learned unless it rests in pupils’ long-term memories. This does not happen, and cannot be assessed, in the short term. Assessment, therefore answers two main questions:
‘How well are pupils coping with curriculum content?’ and ‘How well are they retaining previously taught content?’
‘The end result of a good, well- taught curriculum is that pupils know more and are able to do more. The positive results of pupils’ learning can then be seen in the standards they achieve.’
Ofsted (2019) Inspecting the Curriculum.
At Waddington Redwood Primary Academy, our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:
1) Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
2) Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term memory retention.
3) 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.
Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach to develop schemas. 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.
The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each milestone, the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the content, that is, they remember it all and are fluent in it; some pupils have a greater depth of understanding. We monitor carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum.