‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’
What is our Ambitious Curriculum at Curry Rivel Church of England Primary School
and Little Pips Nursery?
We aim for all our pupils to be ‘Caring, Curious and Confident’ learners. Our curriculum is a ‘knowledge-rich’ and ‘sticky’ curriculum, based on the teaching of core concepts and skills.
What is a KNOWLEDGE-RICH APPROACH?
‘The accumulated wealth of human knowledge, and what we choose to pass on to the next generation through teaching in our schools (the curriculum), must be at the heart of education’ (Amanda Spielman).
Knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills. We strive for children to learn skills alongside knowledge, ensuring that both are developed. At Curry Rivel Church of England Primary School and Little Pips Nursery we see knowledge and skills as intertwined. We believe that this is important for making the curriculum relevant and meaningful to pupils and for putting knowledge into context.
We have looked at every curriculum area individually, as we recognise that each subject is unique and includes its own substantive knowledge, disciplinary knowledge and skills. We are a six-class school and nursery, with mixed age classes. Due to demographic changes and unpredictable in-year admission numbers, our class structure is not guaranteed to be the same year after year. Therefore, we have sequenced the content of many of our subjects using ‘rolling programmes’ which ensure that whatever path a pupil takes through the school, the National Curriculum content is covered. More importantly, our curriculum is a ‘spiral curriculum’ in which key concepts are presented repeatedly throughout the curriculum, but with deepening layers of complexity. School and Nursery plan together to ensure that there is connectedness and progression from Early Years into Reception and Year 1.
‘Substantive’ knowledge’ is carefully ‘curated’ and for some subjects into ‘Knowledge Organisers’. Skills are progressive through the use of our Skills Progression Overview for each subject. We are also deepening our understanding of disciplinary knowledge for each subject so that concepts connected to the topic are revisited across the age ranges. By revisiting the concepts rather than the topics, we are able to embed knowledge and create connections with prior understanding, therefore making the learning ‘sticky’.
High expectations and ‘Cultural Capital’* is gained by:
- Using high quality literature and texts across the curriculum.
- Valuing ‘oracy’ and teaching high-level vocabulary.
- Using ‘authentic’ high quality resources.
- Making links to ‘Primary Futures’ which shows children how what they are learning at school can lead to an interesting, exciting future, job or career.
*Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a pupil can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence; it is one of the key ingredients a pupil will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.
WHAT IS A STICKY CURRICULUM? ‘KNOWING MORE AND REMEMBERING MORE’
‘Learning is defined as an alteration in long term memory. If nothing has been altered in long-term memory-nothing has been learned’ – Sweller et al.
Sticky knowledge (or generative knowledge) is effectively knowledge that will stay with us forever. In other words, an alteration has happened to our long-term memory. Staff are developing their knowledge of Cognitive Learning Theory/Meta-Cognition and the application of this in the classroom. This will improve our own understanding of how children learn and the best approaches we can take to improve their capacity to take on new facts and skills both in the short and long-term memory. Within our curriculum, we are developing this sticky knowledge by:
- Building opportunities for retrieval practice within the topic E.g Through low stakes mini-quizzes, use of flash cards, multiple choice questions or short ‘Q and A’ activities.
- Using ‘Flashbacks’ to retrieve knowledge and skills from last week, last term and last year.
- Using knowledge organisers.
- Integrating new knowledge into larger key concepts.