We have devised a knowledge rich curriculum, based on the National Curriculum programmes of study, which sequences knowledge, concepts and skills. We believe it is vitally important that children develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage as insecure, superficial understanding will not allow genuine progression.
We view knowledge as encompassing not only established facts, but also concepts, ideas, themes and theories. These different forms of subject specific knowledge interlink and are mutually dependent.
Through our curriculum, children:
• learn key subject specific facts and vocabulary
• build knowledge developed through the understanding of concepts and generalisations, enabling pupils to identify processes, different perspectives and values
• experience high quality enquiry, having the opportunity to make decisions and problem solve
• have the opportunity to engage mentally with questions about people, society, environment and the planet. This means they identify, assimilate, analyse and communicate data of various kinds, and learn the skills to do so productively
• learn how to think and act like a subject specific practitioner
Reflecting on ‘Learning strategies: a synthesis and conceptual model John Hattie and Gregory M Donoghue’, through our curriculum, we plan to move children through the three phases of the learning process - surface, deep and transfer, with children first acquiring knowledge and then consolidating it.
During the acquisition phase, information is taken into short-term memory. During the consolidation phase, a learner then needs to actively process and rehearse the material and this increases the likelihood of moving that knowledge to longer-term memory. Deep learning allows children to seek meaning, relating and extending ideas, looking for patterns and underlying principles, checking evidence and relating it to conclusions, examining arguments cautiously and critically Transferring knowledge and understanding from one situation to a new situation is a process that requires learners to actively choose and evaluate strategies, consider resources and surface information.
The OECD recognises that knowledge and skills are both interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Researchers have emphasised the growing importance of being able to understand, interpret and apply knowledge and skills in various situations. Over the past few decades, there has been growing emphasis on thinking of the world as made up of inter-related systems, rather than solely as a series of discrete units. Education systems around the world have been moving from defining subjects and required curriculum knowledge as collections of facts, towards understanding disciplines as interrelated systems (OECD Future of Education and Skills 2019). This is why we link some of our subject specific teaching through an enquiry question.
Our use of an enquiry question and built-in opportunities for children to identify aspects of learning they wish to develop, secures pupil engagement and supports knowledge being embedded in long term memory.
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We overcome all barriers to reach our potential, developing a capacity to improve further.
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