Curriculum design statement: intent, implementation and impact
At St. Gabriel’s Catholic Primary academy our curriculum is designed to cater for the range of needs that our children bring to our school. We adopt fully inclusive practice which means all children are able to access the curriculum we offer, regardless of their learning requirements.
The breadth of our curriculum is designed with two main goals in mind:
1) To give our pupils appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens.
2) To provide a coherent, structured academic curriculum that leads to a sustained mastery for all and a greater depth of learning for those who are capable.
1- Appropriate experiences
We have developed three curriculum drivers that shape our curriculum and reflect the unique needs of our children. They complement the Core Values that are at the heart of our school and reflect our Catholic Ethos. These drivers are used to also give the children aspiration as they become the citizens of the future.
Our drivers are identified as:
Faith and Spirituality: This helps to show our children how the faith we have impacts upon our lives. We aim to develop a strong connection with God through prayer and reflection and allow the children to demonstrate this in a variety of ways. We value the beliefs of others and understand how they have an impact upon the community we live in.
Possibilities: This helps our pupils to build aspirations and know available possibilities for their future lives. We allow children to explore and experience the world around them and make positive decisions which may impact their future lives.
Initiative: Throughout each year group we want to create independent and inquisitive learners who use their own initiative to problem solve and find creative solutions to complex problems. They will be able to apply a range of skills to a variety of contexts.
2- A coherently planned academic curriculum
Our Curriculum is underpinned by our Core values and the three drivers. We use both the EYFS framework and the National Curriculum to shape the content and expectations of our curriculum. The Chris Quigley Essentials curriculum is used to help us structure this in each year group and look at progress within each phase. We have structured this so that each year group has:
a) A clear list of what must be covered.
b) The threshold concepts pupils should understand.
c) Criteria for progression within the threshold.
d) Criteria for the depth of understanding (Basic, Advancing and Deep)
The Diagram below shows a model of our curriculum structure:
The curriculum map for each year group ensures that each teacher has clarity as to what to cover. Threshold concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject that will shape pupils (as, for example historians or geographers). Milestones define the standards for the threshold concepts. Finally, we expect pupils in the first year of each milestone to develop a Basic (B) understanding of the concepts and an Advancing (A) or Deep understanding in Year 2 of the Milestone. A secure ‘Advancing@ understanding of each milestone is the expected standard at Years 2, 4 and 6.
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 sustained 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 some aspects of the curriculum (e.g. four clocks principle) and in other cases provides retrieval practice for previously learned content.
The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each milestone the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the content, that is, they remember it all and are fluent in it; some pupils have a greater depth of understanding. We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum.