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Chesswood Junior School

Chesswood Junior School

Curriculum

Welcome to the Chesswood Curriculum pages. For subject specific information; examples of work and year group pages, please use the menu on the right - please note subject leaders are currently developing their subject pages.

The Chesswood Curriculum

The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that we plan for our pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum. While the aims and structure of the National Curriculum do not change, the curriculum itself cannot remain static. It must be responsive to changes in society and the economy, and changes in the nature of schooling itself. Teachers, individually and collectively, have to reappraise their teaching in response to the changing needs of their pupils and the impact of economic, social and cultural change. Education only flourishes if it successfully adapts to the demands and needs of the time.

Chesswood Community Consultation

Before developing a whole school curriculum, all staff, governors, parents and pupils were consulted on two key questions, with the following responses noted.

  • What would you like Chesswood to be known for in the local community?

  • What qualities would you like to see developed in the children as a result of their experiences at Chesswood?

The full responses and discussions formed a fundamental part of the development of the Chesswood Curriculum.

Chesswood Curriculum Vision

The Chesswood Curriculum is alive and constantly seeks to entwine knowledge, skills, concepts and vocabulary from the national curriculum subject areas, with the prime aims of securing academic achievement and ensuring personal fulfilment. All children will experience a highly coherent and challenging learning journey where they are encouraged and guided to reflect on past learning and develop the courage to take the next steps.

Learning Experiences (in and outdoors; on and off site) will be used to constantly inspire and excite children’s minds using real, relevant and exciting learning opportunities so that children know the impact and relevance their learning has on them now and for the future.  

Knowledge provides a driving, underpinning philosophy; where teachers are the experts whose role it is to convey their knowledge and expertise to children. We believe that all children are entitled to learn about ‘the best of what has been thought and said’. The curriculum is designed to develop memory so that children can recall core knowledge, concepts and vocabulary. This provides a basis for children to be confident in their application of knowledge and to be more creative in their thinking and work. Children, individually and collaboratively, will be challenged by learning experiences intended to lead to highly creative and individual outcomes for all, recognising the possible risk of failure – from which they can learn.

An outstanding curriculum is bigger than the sum of individual subjects. We recognise that children’s achievement in foundation subjects is enhanced and enriched when English, maths and learning skills are organised to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge, skills and concepts within them. Ultimately, our curriculum will secure higher achievement than thought possible, as the learning philosophy engages children to learn for themselves and for the sheer thrill of it.

Curriculum Drivers

Curriculum drivers are the core principles that underpin the whole school curriculum, so that it is truly personalised to Chesswood. They have been chosen through the consultation process outlined above - with children, families and staff; identifying the needs and interests of the pupils at Chesswood. There are two whole school drivers–

Life Opportunities

Life Opportunities are promoted through - 
  • Cultural Capital – ensuring children are equipped with the essential knowledge to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best of what has been thought and said
  • Solar School ACRO learning skills
    • Embedding learning skills
    • Self-assessment of learning skills
    • CV development – children knowing their skills
    • Enterprise education
    • Promoting and celebrating learning skills – awards
    • Careers library
    • Careers aspirations – eg visitors sharing their jobs / roles / skills
    • ACRO Champions
  • Community Involvement
    • Seek to be regularly involved in community events
    • Promote Chesswood in the community
    • Promote local clubs and charities
    • Seek to involve community role models in the life of the school
  • School Motto – Dream, Aspire, Achieve
  • Pupil leadership roles – whole school and within the classroom. Developing responsibility, collaboration and leadership skills 
  • Wide range of school clubs – especially promoting performance and competition

Creativity Confidence Competence

  • Specialist teaching –
    • Specialist music (performing arts) and PE provide children with high quality learning experiences which develop creativity and confidence
  • Seek to engage pupils in performances and competitions on a regular basis
  • Develop pupil choice and independence
  • Develop a mastery curriculum which broadens and deepens learning – promoting the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy to deepen thinking
  • Providing children with the essential knowledge to be able to think and form their own views and opinions
  • Cultural Capital – ensuring children are equipped with the essential knowledge to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best of what has been thought and said. With a secure knowledge, children will move from novices towards levels of expertise, developing confidence and competence which will underpin real creativity.

Chesswood Curriculum Principles

Balanced

The time available for the curriculum will balance with the content (KSCV) that children are expected to learn. The curriculum promotes intellectual (KSCV), moral, spiritual, aesthetic, creative, emotional and physical development as equally important.

Coherent

It respects subject disciplines, focusing developing progression within a subject. It makes explicit connections and links within and between the different subjects, within and across year groups. Knowledge, skills, concepts and vocabulary are coherently planned and sequenced progressively. There is clarity about what getting better at the subject means, moving children from novice to expert.

Real and Relevant

It seeks to connect learning to real life; applying knowledge, skills and concepts to the real world. Children know why they are learning. It responds to the needs and diversity within the local community.

Knowledge Rich

The Chesswood curriculum is a knowledge-rich curriculum; it provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge they need to be educated citizens.

  • knowledge provides a driving, underpinning philosophy
  • knowledge content is specified in detail
  • knowledge is taught to be remembered, not merely encountered
  • knowledge is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently

The curriculum is designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in life.

Cognitively challenging

It seeks to include content – text and tasks – that are chosen / designed to stretch children cognitively.

INCLUSIVE

It is constructed in a way that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) or high needs, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.

curriculum strategy

Balanced

Curriculum timings, as laid out in the long-term plan are set by leaders and agreed with governors. They are designed to support delivery of the full curriculum and enable the school to prioritise curricular areas in response to school priorities and the curriculum principles set. Overall percentage timings and timings within a year group are set and cannot be changed without senior leadership written approval.

  • Timings within a year group and between terms can be moved to ensure the right amount of time is available at the optimum point. It is, however, essential that allocated and planned time are in line and they are within 1- 2% of the actual time available within any given term.
  • ALL subjects must have been taught by Spring 1 onwards i.e. History, for example, cannot commence after January.
  • Most importantly, the reality must match the allocation and plan, all school staff are expected to make every professional effort to comply with the curriculum timings ensuring children secure the curriculum entitlement Chesswood has set out for all of its pupils.
  • Individual personal professional decisions to cut out or extend beyond what is set out within this guide are not permitted without written agreement from senior leaders.

Coherent and progressive

Coherency is developed through giving autonomy to subject leaders to plan the journey of their subject through the school.

  • The curriculum is built by subject leaders – not year teams. Any changes must only be made through consultation, and agreement, with the subject leader.
  • Planning follows the ‘Ladder Curriculum’ principle – ensuring knowledge, skills, concepts and vocabulary build on prior learning. Links across subjects enable a rich web of knowledge to be developed through the curriculum.

On the Medium Term Overviews, subject leaders plan progressive units of work, focusing on the Knowledge, Skills, Concepts and Vocabulary children are expected to acquire / demonstrate at each stage of their journey through the subject.

Real and Relevant

Subject Leaders complete 'Medium Term Overviews' which outline the relevance of their subject, including –

  • What is a ‘geographer’ ‘artist’ ‘historian’? etc
  • What careers paths would the subject support?

For example - 

Subject leaders are responsible for ensuring these elements are planned in to units of work.

Class teachers are responsible for bringing learning to life by focusing on –

  • Why are we learning this?
  • Where / how would this help us in the future?

Knowledge Rich

  • knowledge provides a driving, underpinning philosophy
    • The Trivium Model approach to the curriculum places knowledge at the fore of all teaching – underpinning all learning within a unit / series of units
  • knowledge content is specified in detail
    • Subject leaders plan specific knowledge children are expected to know within each unit of work on the medium term overviews
    • Knowledge organisers are used (where appropriate) to specify knowledge required – these are shared with children and families
  • knowledge is taught to be remembered, not merely encountered
    • teaching and learning strategies focus on current research, especially regarding cognitive science; seeking the best ways to ensure learning sticks and children are able to remember in the long term (retrieval practice, cognitive load theory, spacing theory, interleaving etc.)
    • Revisiting knowledge through the ladder curriculum principle supports long term memory
  • knowledge is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently
    • Subject leaders use the medium term overviews to sequence knowledge, with the focus on knowledge (including skills – procedural knowledge) building upon prior knowledge. The ladder curriculum principle supports this process.

Cognitively Challenging

Content (including texts and tasks) is chosen to stretch children cognitively. 

Texts must increase in complexity throughout a child’s learning journey. ‘Just as it's impossible to build muscle without weight or resistance, it's impossible to build robust reading skills without reading challenging text.' (Shanahan,Fisher,Frey 2012)

Text complexity takes in to consideration – Vocabulary, Sentence Structure, Coherence, Organisation and Background Knowledge.

In order for students to feel pride and accomplishment in work, it should be work that they deem as challenging.  Cognitively Challenging Tasks are important to engagement because they allow for long term internal interest that provokes higher level thinking.  Four categories to use when designing cognitively challenging tasks are;

  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Experimental enquiry
  • Investigation

Inclusive

A knowledge focus is an inclusive approach. Knowledge is selected deliberately, focusing on the best of which has been thought and said in each subject, ensuring ‘cultural capital’ is developed for all. A knowledge focus has significant advantages for disadvantaged children as it ‘enables students to acquire knowledge that takes them beyond their own experiences.… Knowledge-led curricula attempt to provide young people with a school experience that enables them to be socially mobile, for this is at the core of what social justice is: enabling all people, regardless of socio-economic background, to be provided with the opportunities to succeed in life.’ (Young 2014).

Knowledge is embedded through retrieval practice, ensuring knowledge is remembered in the long term.

Curriculum Models

Ladder Curriculum

Building a web of knowledge

 

The Trivium Model