You are here: Our Curriculum
Motivating our learners for their futures
Our experience of working in our school community tells us that our children are most engaged in their learning when it immerses them in meaningful, creative experiences which works towards an end goal. They are excited when working outdoors or on school visits where the learning really comes to life. As teachers we know that particular focus should be on language development in all that we teach because we recognise that this is the key to closing the gap for our most disadvantaged pupils.
The curriculum we offer at Loseley Fields includes all the experiences we offer our children and extends beyond the requirements outlined in the National Curriculum. We see the curriculum as a progression model which has suitable depth and breadth, building on prior experiences and learning to help make sense of new knowledge and skills. We teach using a topic based approach but also ensure that we give sufficient focus on each subject discipline.
Our high quality curriculum we offer is based on:
a) Proactive thinking
b) Will result from considering the sequence of content necessary for children to make progress and
c) Will provide children with the knowledge they need for subsequent learning e.g. through planned vocabulary development.
We understand that there is a difference between the curriculum we cover and the activities we provide in our classrooms and therefore define it as such;
Curriculum is ‘what is taught ’Teaching Activities are ‘how the curriculum is taught ’and assessment is ‘the desired high level outcomes and the methods used to measure those outcomes’.
It is important that the education we provide at Loseley Fields fully prepares our young people for a successful transition into secondary school and then on to be successful and contributing members of society. In order to achieve this aim, staff at Loseley Fields recognise that the curriculum we provide should develop the following skills: resilience, curiosity, passion, flexibility, creativity, bravery, organisation, problem solving, empathy and tolerance.
Our Curriculum Design
We began redesigning our curriculum by looking at the Civitas Core Knowledge Curriculum model. When developing a curriculum we wanted to ensure that we plan topics which are rich in knowledge and skills which can increase the children’s vocabulary, ensuring that we bridge the gap between the experiences of children from professional parents and those who do not. The Core Knowledge Curriculum was developed in some of the toughest neighbourhoods in America. The project has been proven to ‘boast higher literacy rates, greater pupil and parent engagement and make a significant contribution to closing educational inequality gaps’. The Core knowledge Curriculum was inspired by E.D.Hirsch, who questioned curriculums which focus on skilled based learning in lieu of knowledge. ‘Knowledge does not get in the way of reasoning: it’s what we reason with’.
We chose this model to address our two main School Development Plan targets of closing the gap for our disadvantage pupils, and to stretch and challenge our higher attaining pupils to reach their full potential. We believe that a knowledge-rich curriculum will help us to achieve both these targets: by increasing the cultural capital for all students and by creating a culture of high expectations in terms of knowledge across all subject areas. Our main aims were to design:
- An aspirational curriculum which would both stretch and challenge our higher attaining children (and thus have an impact on the number of children achieving GDS) and which would provide cultural compensation for our more disadvantaged children.
- A spiral curriculum which would build upon previous knowledge.
- A knowledge-rich curriculum which would build the vocabulary of our children.
- A curriculum which would focus on using our amazing outdoor spaces.
The SLT began by mapping out the History and Geography units as the main drivers for the majority of our topics, then allocating the Science, Art & Design and RE units (RE from the Surrey Agreed Syllabus) and assigned broad topic titles to encourage creativity and links across subjects. We then worked with subject leaders and teachers to develop the units in more detail, making links within and across year groups and bringing the curriculum to life. Action plans were written by Curriculum Teams and Leaders, and we have been evaluating as we go – what worked well? What needs tweaking next year? What resources do we need to teach it effectively? How can we ensure the children show and retain this new knowledge? As our curriculum develops, we are looking at developing spiral diagrams linking key themes, use of knowledge organisers etc to support retrieval of key knowledge.