Designing, Planning and Delivering the Curriculum at Raynham
Our intention is that all of our children will, by the time they leave us, be able to access the broad range of learning opportunities open to them as they move into secondary education. We recognise our impact on their future through building confident, successful learners and our curriculum, alongside high-quality teaching, is the tool through which we do this.
Our overarching Trust Curriculum Intent has been drawn together across all five schools within the Trust and reflects the importance for our children to develop the skills, knowledge and ambition that they will need to be successful citizens of the future. We are a very local Trust with shared needs and demands, and therefore our overarching intent for the curriculum is shared.
Reading is the key driver for us since successful readers will lead to successful learners, and standards must be improved. Therefore, creating a love of reading, teaching the skills of reading, and early reading interventions are paramount within our curriculum.
We work to the National Curriculum (Early Years Foundation Stage Profile in Reception) in all areas to ensure that coverage is broad and balanced and that key knowledge is securely understood, enabling our children to make links across their learning as they progress through the school. This starts from the time our children join us, ensuring that learning is a cohesive journey from early years through to year 6.
At the same time, we need to ensure that our curriculum is meeting the specific needs of our children, given their experiences, backgrounds and their starting points; with many of our children speaking English as an additional language, a significant number of children with special educational needs and many coming from situations of deprivation.
As a result, in each subject area, we are intentional about building in learning opportunities that build cultural capital and introduce children to previously unknown vocabulary. Our expectation is that teachers will adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of all learners, ensuring challenge and scaffolded support for learning wherever necessary. We also provide a wide range of extra-curricular activities that enable our children to learn in different situations and beyond the curriculum subjects.
Our values of respect, equality, kindness, responsibility, resilience and courage thread through our curriculum. The quality of our teaching, the positive relationships between children and adults and peer to peer as well as the embedded high expectations, ensure that our children receive a balanced curriculum where they can develop resilience, ambition and confidence in themselves that will remain with them into their future.
Each subject Intent has been created together across the schools, ensuring that it is firmly based on the National Curriculum and identifies the key concepts through which we teach the subjects.
Clear progression documents for each subject area have been created to ensure that learning is built upon as children move through the school from Early Years to year 6. These documents outline progression in the expectation of knowledge learned through each subject. They also identify the direct links to our Intent documents in terms of the cultural capital, rich experiences and vocabulary development which are key across our curriculum.
Within each subject, we identify the key concepts that will drive the planning and teaching, and these concepts remain the same as the children grow through the school. They enable teachers to plan based on past learning and also show how they build the composite knowledge that a child will be developing at each stage. This is the subject specific knowledge and understanding that we expect the children to retain in their long-term memory, which will make their learning joined up and memorable. The planning for each subject is, therefore, concept-driven. Teachers understand the key ‘nuggets’ of knowledge that they need to teach to enable their children to develop their composite knowledge within that subject, drawing on their previous learning and making links with other areas of the curriculum.
Once these documents are complete, we create our year group overviews that identify the knowledge areas being taught at each stage that will build on prior learning and support future learning. Teachers will often link their class storybook to the subject being taught and will also link across subjects where appropriate. For example, where Family and Relationships are taught in PHSE and the Science topic is Rock and Soils, the storybook may be ‘Pebble’ by Susan Milord. In this way, we can be confident that there is clear progression of knowledge and skills through the curriculum whilst enabling and encouraging children to link their learning across the curriculum.
It is important to ensure that the intended learning takes place. We know that children learn through repetition over time, regular recall and through making links with their other knowledge and understanding. It is therefore important that we provide regular opportunities for children to practise, repeat and build links in their knowledge and understanding so that they know more, can remember more and are able to do more. It is through our careful curriculum design, from Early Years to Year 6, that we ensure the children make good progress in their learning across all subjects. Teachers must recognise their role in linking new teaching to past learning and understand where their teaching fits into the bigger whole school picture within each subject and across our curriculum. It is in this way that we can be confident our curriculum meets the needs of all of our children and ensure that they make good progress in their learning as they move through our schools.
For more information about how we design, plan and deliver our curriculum at Children First Academy Trust click here.