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A Pannal-shaped Curriculum

“A collection of learning materials is no more a curriculum than a pile of bricks is a house. What our students need are carefully organised, sequential, structured introductions to school subjects” (Dylan Wiliam)

Why we are developing a knowledge-rich curriculum

A school’s curriculum is the content that is taught, structured thoughtfully into a narrative. Although the national curriculum specifies some knowledge that the children need to acquire, schools need to plan sequences in detail so that there is a coherent, consistent accumulation of the knowledge that a child needs to flourish in the future.

The agreed core content is taught, practised and revisited so that the learning is durable. The new knowledge can then be transferred to different contexts and used in critical thinking.

The planned sequence of learning in the curriculum allows for clarity in definitions and terminology. Through carefully planning links between units of work can ensure that children revisit a concept in different contexts so that the understanding becomes richer. “e.g. the source of a river in geography, a source of evidence in history, a source for a newspaper story in English, a source of light in science”. (Clare Sealey)

How we are deciding what to include in Pannal’s curriculum

A subject should essentially be a story, with each new learning sequence inextricably connected to the last, and indeed, to several other parts of the journey. The story would be continuously referenced when every new piece of content was added, ... a process that would significantly aid their memories as the links would effectively and continuously and unconsciously build a strong schema. (Paul Moss)

Decisions on coverage begin with a close reading of the national curriculum requirements, including concepts, knowledge, vocabulary and skills.

The facts that have been learned need to be applied in context in order to demonstrate understanding. The implication of this is that we can view children’s progress in two parts: recall of key facts, and the application of the facts in a higher-order task (e.g., a written explanation). Improving children’s knowledge allows them to develop skills which can be applied to complex tasks.

How we monitor the development of the curriculum

Year teams plan the teaching sequence for a unit of work, informed by documentation provided by the subject leaders.

Subject leaders have developed statements of the ‘intent’ for their subjects.

The curriculum content is overseen by subject leaders.

How we monitor progress in the children’s learning

“By progress, we mean pupils knowing more and remembering more. Has a child really gained the knowledge to understand the key concepts and ideas?” (OFSTED)

We track progress through teacher judgement, supplemented by frequent informal testing and occasional formal tests.

In Maths, English and Science we have selected key knowledge statements and use these to track whether children are working at the appropriate level for their age. This also enables us to look at where a child has or has not made progress time.

In most subjects, knowledge organisers summarise key vocabulary (with agreed definitions), facts, and concepts. These clarify what has to be taught and are used as the basis of quizzes so that teachers can check the knowledge has been embedded. Content is revisited in subsequent year groups to help with retention.

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