Curriculum Design Statement: Intent, Implementation and Impact

Intent

The breadth of our curriculum is designed with three goals in mind:

  1. To give pupils appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens;
  2. To provide a rich ‘cultural capital’ that gives children knowledge and skills for employment and life experiences;
  3. To provide a coherent, structured academic curriculum that leads to sustained mastery for all and a greater depth of understanding for those who are capable.

Appropriate Experiences

We have developed three curriculum drivers that shape our curriculum, bring about the aims and values of our school, and to respond to the particular needs of our community:

Community – which helps pupils to belong and be an active member of our school, the locality, our country and the world.

Possibilities – which helps pupils to build aspirations and know available possibilities for their future lives.

Responsibility – which helps pupils to understand the purpose of our curriculum and the part they play in achieving their full potential.

Cultural Capital

Cultural Capital is the background knowledge of the world pupils need to infer meaning from what they read. It includes vocabulary which, in turn, helps pupils to express themselves in a sophisticated, mature way.

Coherently Planned Academic Curriculum

Underpinned by the three drivers, our academic curriculum sets out:

  1. a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered:
  2. the ‘threshold concepts’ pupils should understand;
  3. criteria for progression within the threshold concepts;
  4. criteria for depth of understanding.

The diagram below shows a model of our curriculum structure:

The Curriculum Breadth for each year group ensures each teacher has clarity as to what to cover. As well as providing the key knowledge within subjects it also provides for pupils’ growing cultural capital. For more details on curriculum breadth, see the Year Group Long Term plans and Topic Overviews.

Threshold Concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated many times in each topic. For more details, see the Whole School Curriculum Progression document.

Depth: we expect pupils to meet the end of year expectations. All year group expectations focus on knowledge building and application of skills, as the go hand in hand and at Sitwell we believe you cannot have one without the other. Learning is not rushed and it involves a high degree of repetition of threshold concepts so that knowledge enters pupils’ long term memory. Skills are developed throughout the key stage, allowing the children to apply their knowledge to different contexts and to independently extend their knowledge.

Sustained mastery

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?

Implementation

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 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 mastery takes time.

Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach. Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provided retrieval practise for previously learned content.

English

At Sitwell Junior School, English is at the heart of the curriculum. We aim for all of our children to develop a lifelong love for reading of both fiction and non-fiction books. Through carefully planned sessions, which cater for every child, children explore a range of literature, ranging from the classics and historical fiction to those by modern day authors. These quality texts are used to develop the children’s rich language and communication skills; both orally and in writing. Included in our writing sessions are activities that aim to develop grammar, punctuation and spelling skills, as well as to further our children’s imagination and creativity. In addition to daily English sessions, reading and writing plays a pivotal role in our wider curriculum.

Maths

We strongly believe that all children, no matter what their starting points, can become confident, competent mathematicians. The importance of children having a secure understanding of the foundations of number cannot be underestimated, and so we implement a watertight approach to ensure all children acquire this knowledge at the earliest opportunity. By breaking concepts down into small, manageable steps, children are given time to consolidate and deepen their understanding through various forms of practice, so that they can become true masters of the Primary Mathematics Curriculum.

Impact

The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each phase (Y3/4 and Y5/6), the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of content, that is, they remember it all and are fluent; some pupils have a greater depth of understanding. We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectation of our curriculum.

Long Term Curriculum Plans

Please click on the links below to view our Year Group Long Term Plans:

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Topic Overviews

Please click on the links below to view our Year Group Topic Overviews:

Year 3 Autumn Term 1

Year 3 Autumn Term 2

Year 4 Autumn Term 1

Year 4 Autumn Term 2

Year 5 Autumn Term

Year 6 Autumn Term

Whole School Curriculum Progression

Click here to view the above document