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Curriculum

Intent

All pupils will secure firm foundations in English and Maths and this underpins a growing excellence in other subjects. Our child-led and knowledge-based curriculum offers a broad range of subjects from Early Years through to Key Stage 2 (KS2). We believe in bringing learning to life, with an emphasis on engaging and purposeful learning.

Grange Primary aims to provide a curriculum that is engaging, balanced and relevant. While emphasis is placed on children learning core skills of English and Maths, we place great value on developing the ‘whole child’ and provide an engaging programme of study in all curriculum areas.

We are aware of the unique role we have as educators in being able to provide access to concepts which enable our pupils to move beyond their own experience in ways that may not otherwise be open to them. Data shows that learning makes us richer, healthier & happier – something we want for every Great Grange Graduate. Unforunately, we are also aware of the continued gap in attainment between disadvantaged and non-disadvanted pupils which is detectable from before they even join primary school. Standards have proven stubbornly resistant to change. The Grange Destiny Curriculum aims to narrow, and ultimately erradicate, that gap – providing the foundational knowledge and skills that all children need in order to access and understand the curriculum, both during their time with us and beyond. We have a moral responsibility to convey this knowledge to ALL students:

‘Denying access to this knowledge to some pupils, because they find it difficult, is like denying the equivalent of our Hippocratic oath to make available to them the “best knowledge” that we can

Young, 2013

We strive for all pupils to develop resilience and perseverance, challenging and supporting them to aim high. The curriculum will cover specific key areas of knowledge, skills and understanding within and across different subjects so it is focused and concise. Children will be encouraged to delve deeper into their learning, building on knowledge and skills progressively each year which will lead to academic success across the curriculum.

At the heart of their learning, children will develop an understanding of the core character strengths that we believe in, core values that are the cornerstones of respectful, global citizens that all Great Grange Graduates will be. Our caring, inclusive culture will underpin the ethos of the school which will be spread widely through our community by promoting our core values. Children will be equipped with a range of strategies that enable them to access their learning in a variety of ways in order to overcome barriers to learning and achieve success. Children will know how to live a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.

Equally important is the development and retention of knowledge. In order for our pupils to develop high-level skills such as analysing, synthesising and evaluating, they must first have a strong knowledge base. We know from research that knowledge is what we think with and we can only be curious about things we already know something about. We also know, from cognitive science, that a prime focus of educators should be building on information stored in our pupil’s long term memories. Essentially, the more you know, the easier it is to learn new things. Knowledge in pupil’s long term memories will become their toolboxes for reading texts, writing essays, wrestling with complex problems and thinking in general. Our curriculum is what will stock this toolbox and has been carefully planned and organised with the aim of developing dense, well-organised schema in all of our pupils.

Curriculum Principles

ALL Grange pupils will:

Our principles are driven by moral imperative and informed by evidence as describe above.

This curriculum is a continual work in progress and will be regularly reviewed to ensure it meets the needs of our pupils and community.

Adapting the curriculum in response to COVID-19 school closure

As a result of necessary school closure, the children have missed a significant period of time in their education in 2020. We intend to adapt our curriculum coverage during 2020-21, and possibly beyond, to ensure that:

We will achieve this by:

Implementation

Planning for a knowledge-rich, progressive and enriched curriculum that covers the national curriculum and beyond.

At Grange Primary School, we share Tom Sherrington’s beliefs about the important components of a knowledge-rich curriciulum. These fall into four areas:

Knowledge provides a driving, underpinning philosophy: 

The grammar of each subject is given high status; the specifics of what we want students to learn matter and the traditions of subject disciplines are respected.  Skills and understanding are seen as forms of knowledge and it is understood that there are no real generic skills that can be taught outside of specific knowledge domains.  Acquiring powerful knowledge is seen as an end itself; there is a belief that we are all empowered through knowing things and that this cannot be left to chance.  There is also a sense that the creative, ’rounded and grounded’ citizens we all want to develop – with a host of strong character traits –  will emerge through being immersed in a knowledge-rich curriculum.

The knowledge content is specified in detail:

Units of work are supported by statements that detail the knowledge to be learned – something that can be written down.  We do not merely want to ‘do the Romans’; we want children to gain some specified knowledge of the Romans as well as a broad overview.  We want children to know specific things about plants and about The Amazon Rainforest, WWII, Romeo and Juliet and Climate Change.  We want children to have more than a general sense of things through vaguely remembered knowledge encounters; in addition to a range of experiences from which important tacit knowledge is gained, we want them to amass a specific body of declarative and procedural knowledge that is planned.   This runs through every phase of school: units of work are not defined by headings but by details: eg beyond ‘environmental impact of fossil fuels’, the specific impacts are detailed; beyond ‘changes to transport in Victorian Britain’, specific changes are listed.

Knowledge is taught to be remembered, not merely encountered: 

A good knowledge-rich curriculum embraces learning from cognitive science about memory, forgetting and the power of retrieval practice.  Our curriculum is not simply a set of encounters from which children form ad hoc memories; it is designed to be remembered in detail; to be stored in our students’ long-term memories so that they can later build on it forming ever wider and deeper schema.  This requires approaches to curriculum planning and delivery that build in spaced retrieval practice, formative low-stakes testing and plenty of repeated practice for automaticity and fluency.

Knowledge is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently: Beyond the knowledge specified for each unit, a knowledge-rich curriculum is planned vertically and horizontally giving thought to the optimum knowledge sequence for building secure schema – a kinetic model for materials; a timeline for historical events; a sense of the canon in literature; a sense of place; a framework for understanding cultural diversity and human development and evolution.  Attention is also given to known misconceptions and there is an understanding of the instructional tools needed to move students from novice to expert in various subject domains.

As a result of this, we do not have vague ‘topics’ but make links where there is a clear rationale and conceptual rigour. This allows for teachers to think deeply about the curriculum they are delivering, only linking areas within their own year group content where they feel it will aid children’s understanding, build their knowledge or extend their schema.  All teachers are aware of the content taught prior to and after their year group, meaning they can make continual links to prior and future learning, which aids the development of expert schema.

English and Maths are taught daily. In English, Power of Reading texts are used, however teachers are encouraged to develop their own genre-based plans over a 2, 3 or 4 week period. These follow the same structure of text analysis, sentence level practice, planning, writing and editing to develop fluency in all the different genres. Guided reading also takes place daily for 30 minutes. In Maths, White Rose is used to develop deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths. A 15 minute fast maths session also takes place daily.

Science is taught weekly for one hour and forty-five minutes using Rising Stars Switched on Science which places working scientifically at the heart of the curriculum.

Humanities is also taught weekly for one hour and forty-five minutes and this curriculum is bespoke to Grange, developed by Grange staff as part of the Curriculum Working Party. The decision was made to group History, Geography under the term Humanities because we feel it is difficult to learn one without the other. This allows teachers to make links where they aid learning, rather than studying each for half a term or under a watered down ‘topic’ focus. This curriculum has been developed to ensure children leave primary school with a good level of knowledge about the world around them – both in terms of local knowledge but also global knowledge. Children should be able to place themselves within a historical & geographical context and understand how the world has changed or remained the same over the last 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 years. Systematically and coherently building knowledge over time will not only allow our pupils to more easily learn about the world throughout their education, it will also allow them to engage critically with the world around them, using their rich and well-developed schema.

Holding baskets  have been identified as running themes or motifs throughout the curriculum – these are human universals. Children should finish primary school with an understanding that although civilisations are separate in both time and space, there are human universals that hold us together. This understanding should allow them to feel part of a local and global community.

Art and DT are taught in alternate half terms, weekly for one hour and forty-five minutes. This curriculum is also bespoke to Grange, developed by Grange staff. Each half term the whole school covers the same discipline (e.g drawing in art or mechanism in DT) with knowledge and skills in that area progressing as children move through the school.

Spanish is taught weekly for 30 minutes from Year 3 onwards. This curriculum is also bespoke to Grange, developed by Grange staff. Each half term the whole school covers the same topic, with knowledge and skills in that area progressing as children move through the school.

Music and PSHE are taught weekly with thirty minutes for music and one hour for PSHE. Music is taught by Harrow Music Service who follow the Music’s Cool scheme. Class teachers them complete a short follow up activity in class. PSHE is taught by class teachers and we follow the Jigsaw curriculum. Jigsaw is a spiral, progressive scheme of work which aims to prepare children for life, helping them really know and value who they truly are and understand how they relate to others in an ever-changing world.

Computing is taught weekly for forty-five minutes and the Purple Mash curriculum is used to develop children’s knowledge and skills.

RE is taught weekly for thirty minutes and we follow the SACRE guidance and planning.

This subject based approach ensures a broad and balanced curriculum. Children will study each subject in depth, developing strong, well-organised schema to prepare them for lifelong learning.

Where schemes are used, teachers are required to adapt this planning to ensure it meets the needs of their pupils and that it fits with our curriculum principles outlined above. For bespoke Grange curriculum planning, Curriculum Teams have worked to develop yearly overviews which outline the key knowledge in detail in order to support teachers with planning. Example unit plans have also been produced for each key stage and CPD sessions arranged to support with planning.

All curriculum subject overviews have been adapted to allow pupils to revisit, consolidate and secure learning that was missed from 2019-20 before progressing into coverage of the 2020-2021 curriculum. Teachers will continually use formative assessment to gauge where pupils are and how to support them to progress through the curriculum.

Development of English & Maths across the curriculum

Reading is taught discretely through phonics in KS1 (continuing to KS2 where necessary) and in guided reading across the school. In some year groups, knowledge-based guided reading has been trialled – combining development of knowledge in history, geography or science whilst also acquiring and practicing reading skills such as inference and comprehension.

Humanities planning in particular has an emphasis on reading to acquire knowledge  where teachers model reading, pupils discuss what they have read in pairs, acquire new vocabulary and answer comprehension questions.

Children have regular, repeated experience of writing in different genres during their daily English lessons. These skills should be reinforced through other subjects such as science and humanities. Teachers are expected to plan for at least 1 extended piece of writing per unit in these subjects.

Our Science curriculum provides many opportunities for the application of Maths skills. These are identified in the teacher guides and teachers are expected to plan for at least 1 Maths task within each science unit.

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