DISLEY PRIMARY SCHOOL’S CURRICULUM DESIGN STATEMENT – INTENT, IMPLMENTATION AND IMPACT
“Education should be about broadening minds, enriching communities and advancing civilisation. Ultimately, it is about leaving the world a better place than when we found it.”
– Amanda Spielman, June 2017
1. SUMMARY DESCRIPTION
Our curriculum is at the heart of education at Disley Primary School. Our curriculum at Disley Primary School is a knowledge-led progression model. We teach for long-term life learning. Through our curriculum we intend to teach the key concepts within each specific subject progressively upon secure previous knowledge within a broadly context based framework (i.e. through a topic, a theme or a key question). This will enable children to revisit and build upon the key concepts at an increasingly deeper level as they move through the school. In this way, children will have the opportunity to make increasingly complex connections in their learning across a range of contexts, resulting in rich and deep learning that is transferable.
2. KEY DRIVERS
Our curriculum is underpinned by our core values of:
3. CULTURAL CAPITAL
This is the range of experiences that enable our children to understand and discuss the world through trips, visitors, hands-on tasks and other relevant activities. These should help them to develop as independent, informed and inquisitive learners.
The core purpose of education at Disley Primary School is to provide our children with rich, deep and durable learning that is transferrable across a range of contexts. It is built upon a strong emotionally literate and morally responsible foundation. This will equip them with the knowledge, skills, understanding behaviours and attitudes necessary for success in their next stage of education, their future employment and for their adult life within an ever changing world.
At Disley Primary School, our unique curriculum design and curriculum approach is aligned to our specific local context and our pupils’ particular needs.
Our curriculum should enable our children to:
- build strong, knowledge-based semantic memories, store them in their long-term memory and be able to retrieve and use them as a situation arises
- make strong connections within their learning that are durable and transferrable between contexts
- think creatively and critically
- innovate, solve problems and generate solutions
- develop strong analytical skills
- become emotionally literate and morally responsible citizens.
Our curriculum includes a strong focus on growth mindset, which threads throughout all areas of the curriculum.
5.1 Bespoke Curriculum
Our curriculum is a bespoke curriculum. We have designed it around the specific needs of our pupils using our locality, where applicable, and it is continually responsive. Consequently, our school curriculum is not static, it is continually building and reconstructing in response to our pupils’ changing needs. Our school staff are reflective practitioners, they consider what works and what does not.
5.2 Knowledge-led approach
- Through our knowledge-led approach, children are taught to master subjects through subject specific knowledge, where skills are an outcome not its purpose (i.e. skills are the outcome of the repeated practical application of knowledge).
- The development of knowledge and consequent skills are delivered contextually where appropriate, such as through a particular topic/theme or key question. This helps children to store and retrieve their knowledge and skills. Staff help pupils to make connections in their learning between different topics/themes/key questions. This strengthens learning and makes it more durable and transferable.
- Staff use intelligent repetition of key concepts to enable deeper understanding and stronger connections to take place. Intelligent repetition is used to promote the acquisition of core knowledge, efficient recall, to practise, to deepen understanding and to make connections.
- Staff provide children with ‘knowledge organisers’ at the start of each topic that sets out the important, useful and powerful knowledge on a single page.
- Time is built into lessons to re-visit information that has been forgotten. Staff understand that for knowledge to embed in the long term memory, it needs to be learned over many different interactions and that it takes effort. Staff understand that greater effort results in stronger connections.
5.3 Progression and Mastery
- Our curriculum recognises that children need to be taught the key concepts within each subject in a way that minimises overload and maximises retention.
- Our curriculum recognises the importance of progression. We understand that this is not a superficial movement from levels or stages. It is an understanding of the concept of Mastery.
- Through the Mastery approach new knowledge is built upon secure previous knowledge. Mastery includes making connections between different aspects of learning or different contexts for in order to create a rich web of knowledge. This results in the construction of strong semantic memory.
- Our curriculum grows progressively more and more complex through sequential and spiral learning, giving our children the capacity to learn more, make connections and deepen their understanding.
- As our school’s bespoke curriculum grows progressively more and more complex and sophisticated over time, and our children move from year to year, our children have the opportunity to think more deeply about important concepts and apply them to within other contexts.
5.4 Local Context, Educational Visit & Visitors
- Our curriculum makes good use of local and other areas, school visits and school visitors to close gaps in our children’s experience. It also provides wider opportunities and experiences that will enable our pupils to apply their: knowledge, skills, values and understanding in much wider contexts.
- At our school we teach critical thinking skills in context, we give pupils the information and the opportunities to think critically about the subject matter and use it to solve problems and generate creative solutions.
- We teach children how to keep themselves and others safe.
- Assessment is interwoven throughout the curriculum. Summative and formative assessments are used well by staff to check pupils’ understanding of key concepts. This supports staff in identifying gaps in knowledge and understanding and enables them to respond appropriately by adjusting their teaching.
- Assessment information is also used by staff to identify gaps in knowledge and skills, identify the depth of understanding and to inform and improve future curriculum design.
- At Disley Primary School we also recognise the value of assessment as an important learning tool which provides opportunities for children to strengthen their memories through concerted effort.
- We make good use of the value of assessment tasks (recall starters at the beginning of lessons, rapid recall of knowledge, supported through the use of knowledge organisers and end of topic quizzes) in strengthening memory by providing children with opportunities to ‘struggle’ and make sustained effort in trying to retrieve information, the process of which strengthens their memory. We understand that it is through the concerted effort within such tasks that strengthen memory recall and creates the strongest connections in their learning.
5.7 Leadership and management of the Curriculum
- At Disley Primary School our Senior Leadership team and subject leaders are passionate about our curriculum and their subjects and share their vision with confidence.
- The Senior Leadership Team continuously work alongside subject leaders to ensure they have an up-to-date account of what is being covered and how well it is being covered.
- We work together, listen to each other, evaluate and identify strengths and areas to be developed.
- Subject leaders monitor the delivery and coverage of their subjects well.
- The Senior Leadership Team strive to always support subject leaders helping them progress within their subject areas.
- Subject leaders strive for specialism and are confident in describing the impact of their particular subjects. They know the quality of their own curriculum design and understand that their subject is important.
- Subject leaders understand that in depth understanding of fewer, but high dividend concepts is more important than surface level understanding of more content.
As a result of our curriculum, most children who leave our school:
- have a strong web of knowledge across the curriculum subjects that is deep, durable and transferable from one context to another
- can retrieve knowledge and make connections between contexts
- can apply their skills across a range of subjects
- can think deeply about important concepts
- can apply their knowledge and use it to solve problems and generate creative solutions
- are creative, innovative and can think critically
- are sympathetically aware of other people's feelings; they are tolerant and forgiving
- are able to make deeper connections in their learning as a result of their access to experiences through our school that they would not otherwise have had
- are able to think critically about the knowledge they have gained and make emotionally literate and morally responsible decisions/choices
- have the knowledge and resilience that they need to resist potential risks in order to keep themselves and others safe.
7. EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE
The curriculum that we teach in Reception meets the requirements set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Characteristics of Learning, Development Matters and Early Learning Goals expectations.
Our school fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well planned and structured activities. Teaching in the Reception class builds on the experiences of the children and progress within the phase is carefully planned for and tracked.
The practitioners assess the skills development of each child and record this in the Learning Journey books and on the school tracking system. This assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child. We are proud of the strong relationship we have with parents and use this positively to ensure that children have a joint support approach to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child, by keeping them informed about how the children are being taught, and how well each child is progressing and engaging them in their child's learning journey.
The curriculum in our school is designed to be accessed by all children who attend the school. If we think it necessary to modify some children's access to the curriculum, in order to meet their needs, then we do this in consultation with parents.
If children have special needs, our school does all it can to meet the individual needs, and we comply with the requirements set out in the new SEND Code of Practice. If a child displays signs of having a particular learning or physical need, then his/her teacher makes an assessment of this need. In most instances, the teacher is able to provide the resources and educational opportunities that meet the child's needs, within normal class organisation. If a child's need is more severe, we may involve the appropriate external agencies to support and in making recommendations and assessments. We always provide additional resources and support for children with special needs.
9.1 APPENDIX A: Research, Tools and other Useful Resources:
9.1.1 Curriculum research: assessing intent, implementation and impact – DfE/Ofsted:
9.1.2 Curriculum research: Memory not Memories – Claire Sealy:
9.1.3 Speech from Ofsted Leader - Amanda Spielman:
9.1.4 Article: Organising Knowledge: The Purpose and Pedagogy of Knowledge Organisers
9.1.5 Article: What is a ‘knowledge-rich’ curriculum?
9.1.6 Article: A practical guide to Ofsted and cultural capital for primary schools