Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and you will see differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in different subjects. Standardised written assessments, for example, play less of a role in performance subjects such as music, drama and physical education. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers of the same subject to collaborate and plan together.
With our mastery curriculum, pupils study fewer topics in greater depth, with the expectation that we don’t move on to the next topic until all pupils have a secure understanding of the current topic. A three year Key Stage 3 provides pupils with the time and space to gain this secure understanding. In our lessons we expect to see all pupils grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for pupils who need it. Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers produce work of greater depth and flair.
Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:
- Explanation of new material in small steps (I)
- Guided practice with prompts and scaffolds (we)
- Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from teacher (you)
At each point in this instructional core, teachers check understanding of all pupils by asking lots of questions and providing feedback.
The Rosenshine principles support the implementation of the curriculum by ensuring that pupils regularly recall prior learning. You will often see this at the start of our lessons. When prior learning is committed to long term memory it becomes fluent or ‘automatic’, freeing space in our working memory which can then be used for comprehension, application, and problem solving.
Everything from which children learn in school is considered to be part of the school curriculum. This includes: the taught subject timetable; the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development; the co-curricular provision; and the ethos or ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school. Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense.
We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary play in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing.
The culmination of our curriculum is that pupils leave our school with the confidence and intelligence to thrive. We know our pupils as individuals which enables us to provide curriculum and careers guidance throughout their time with us. We expect all pupils to leave our school with the grades required to progress to their desired destination, and the character required to flourish once they get there.