The Intent of our Curriculum A knowledge-rich curriculum that aims to powerfully address social disadvantage is the heart of our provision. We aim to provide an exceptional education for all; an education that will broaden students’ horizons – intellectually, emotionally and culturally. Our curriculum is designed to provide children with the powerful knowledge they need for success in both education and life as an active citizen in society. Our curriculum is an act of service to the community and young people we serve: the curriculum acts as a vehicle for sensitively introducing the children of our communities to both similar and contrasting lives, empowering our students to appreciate and participate in the full richness of the human experience. With high levels of literacy being the gateway to success in all subjects, we support students in becoming fluent readers and lifelong, ‘word-rich’ learners who can decode, decipher and better navigate the often-complicated world in which they live. We will enable our students to become kind, insightful, and open-minded citizens who can build positive relationships in their professional and personal lives, empowering them to succeed beyond their school setting with a compassionate and well-informed voice in the world.
What is the Curriculum?
Our curriculum is our plan of what we teach our students: what our students need to know in each subject and when they need to know it. It is our framework that sets out what our students will learn, the knowledge and understanding we aim to help our students gain progressively over time — because what we know influences how we see the world, how we think and how we reason. The sequencing of each subject's curriculum has been carefully planned by our subject experts to maximise the likelihood that students will remember and connect the steps that they have been taught, because we know that the order of what is taught is crucial to provide the cumulative knowledge acquisition on which skills can be securely built.
Underlying Curriculum Principles
Our curricula are underpinned by principles which inform our decisions about what we teach, when we teach it, and how we teach it:
An underlying concern with equitable access and progression.
Academic and disciplinary rigour.
The assurance of challenge through ambitious and meaningful learning experiences.
Enabling students to acquire powerful knowledge that takes them beyond their own experiences.
The development of cultural capital to reflect the context in which our students are growing up, and to connect them to a world beyond their current experience.
Personalised opportunities for our students to develop their own interests and uncover otherwise untapped passions.
Our curriculum in each subject is set out on the curriculum overviews and termly plans that can be accessed and viewed on the respective subject pages. On each subject page you will find information about what our students will learn during each year, information about additional opportunities to enhance and extend our students curriculum experience, and resources to help parents, carers and guardians support learning at home:
Curriculum Overviews (curriculum maps for each key stage providing the big picture of the knowledge and understanding we want learners to gain )
Curriculum Termly Plans (more detailed plans of content covered, breaking down the big picture into a structure and narrative which is experienced by learner)
Qualifications and Awards (details about qualifications available and links to syllabi)
Resources to support home learning (a curated list of online resources to support students and families outside of school)
The Super Curriculum (suggested extracurricular activities for the more interested or more able students)
Student Pledge (the range of extra curricular opportunities we pledge to give to all our students from Y7 to Y13)
Implementing the Curriculum
Our teaching aims to ensure that lessons build on prior learning and provide students with sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use the latest research in cognitive science and memory to promote recall, and thereby ensure that our curriculum focuses on the the unifying ideas of the discipline: concepts that come up repeatedly. Moreover, there is strong evidence that we learn things more easily if we know something about it: new information has meaning if we can connect it to things we already know. To inform our teaching we thus use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (2010), which are based on research about how the mind acquires and uses information, the instructional procedures that are used by the most successful teachers, and the procedures established by researchers to help students learn difficult tasks. As such, we:
Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning.
Present new material in small steps with student practice after each step.
Limit the amount of material students receive at one time.
Give clear and detailed instructions and explanations.
Ask a large number of questions and check for understanding.
Provide a high level of active practice for all students (overlearning to free working memory capacity).
Guide students as they begin to practice.
Think aloud and model steps.
Provide models of worked-out problems.
Ask students to explain what they have learned.
Check the responses of all students.
Provide systematic feedback and corrections.
Use more time to provide explanations.
Provide many examples.
Re-teach material when necessary.
Prepare students for independent practice.
Monitor students when they begin independent practice.
Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum
Embedding equality and diversity in the curriculum is the creating of learning, teaching and assessment environments and experiences that proactively eliminate prejudice and discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and foster good relations in a manner that values, preserves and responds to diversity. To this end we are developing a manifesto for equality and diversity in the curriculum that exposes and eradicates a societal culture of exclusion and denial beyond the albeit important acknowledgement and celebration of the intellectual achievements of minority cultures. For example, in addition to discreet teaching through PSHE and citizenship curricula, each subject has reviewed their curriculum to take opportunities to authentically promote diversity within respective disciplines, for example celebrating the profound part Indian and Islamic mathematics has played in the history of mathematics. (See our Equality & Diversity page for more information and detail.)
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., 'the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.' We take inspiration from this and have developed, through work with all our students, a set of 8 character habits, the 'Oke 8'. These habits inform our everyday behaviour curriculum. They are promoted through tutor time and assemblies curriculum and are framed within our CORE ethos values of Community, Opportunity, Respect and Equity, which we live out every day in the way we work and how we treat one another. We strive to develop the 8 habits in our behaviour and encourage each other to keep on becoming the best version of ourselves, by being:
Progress through the Curriculum (Impact)
Our curriculum functions as our progression model: If students attain well within our well-sequenced, well-constructed curricula, they are making progress. We consider progress to be authentic attainment over time as defined a student's security with the taught curriculum, at a point in time, not how well do we think they may be at some point in the future. This authenticity is important. We evaluate what knowledge and understanding students have gained against expectations, using whole class feedback techniques to faciliate a feedback loop, ensuring that feedback is immediate and uducative, understanding in the words of Dylan Wiliam, that 'the shorter the time interval between eliciting the evidence and using it to improve instruction, the bigger the likely impact on learning.' Moreover, and again in the words of Dylan Wiliam, we ensure that 'feedback should be more work for the recipient than the donor.' Whilst we do not confuse curriculum with assessment, our curriculum has a clear purpose for assessment.