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A Curriculum for an Ever-Changing World – Our Intent
Our curriculum will ensure that our children ‘have life in all its fullness’. It is the structure that ensures that they learn well, that provides life changing experiences, that builds their character, that enables them to choose their paths and shows them what it means to be a human being in this ever-changing world. The Bath and Wells Multi-Academy Trust is determined that all children in our schools will have access to an ambitious curriculum that meets our non-negotiable principles.
Our curriculum is constructed by each school with the following guiding principles:
- Children will be at the centre of curriculum design.
- The curriculum will provide rich and memorable experiences which promote a life-long love of learning.
- It will be the framework to provide for pupils’ academic, social, moral, cultural, spiritual, physical and creative development.
- It will enable all to learn, be ready for the next stage in their education and take their place in the world.
- It will ensure that all pupils achieve the highest standards of learning.
- It will address disadvantage and discrimination, so that all are included as of right.
- It will have trust and relationships at its heart.
- It will extend beyond the what, when and where, to the how and why.
The curriculum in our schools
Each school will have a curriculum statement which outlines their unique approach to the curriculum; how this reflects the context of the school and its community, and the key drivers of this curriculum. These drivers shape the curriculum which will also reflect the vision and values of each school. The curriculum will take the national curriculum as its minimum standard for breadth and will describe clearly the progression in skills and knowledge that will enable all to learn.
Our school curricula will map the substantive and disciplinary knowledge that will be taught in each subject area. Learning will be deliberately and logically sequenced within each subject so that children can build schema and remember more.
The Implementation of the Curriculum
Subject specific, whole school progression maps enable teachers to build upon pupils’ prior learning and signpost to future learning, thus deepening children’s ability to connect learning over time and see that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Teaching staff use the underpinning knowledge and skills progression documents to plan sequences of lessons that build on prior learning. Elicitation and diagnostic activities are carried out at the start of each new unit of learning to establish children’s prior knowledge and understanding as the starting point.
We ensure that our subject-specific curriculum maps and resources provide rigour so that children can, for example, think like a historian or scientist. The use of high-quality resources and learning environments are a fundamental part of the learning process. As a Trust we will support the use of a range of published curriculum vehicles though none of these should be used as an ‘off the shelf’ solution. Schools must tailor and adapt appropriately to meet the needs of the children.
Assessment should an ongoing process which informs teaching and improves learning. Gaps in vocabulary or knowledge are quickly identified and rectified. Any arising misconceptions are planned for in subsequent learning experiences. Feedback is a key tool, as children are supported in accurate learning and knowing what they know (metacognition). Assessment, ultimately, enables precision in knowing both the security of learning and next steps. See here
The Impact of the Curriculum
An effective curriculum will impact widely on children’s learning and therefore their achievement; this includes building cultural capital through exposure to a rich and diverse curriculum. Children will gain and retain subject-specific knowledge and skills, which over time takes them from novice to expert.
Academies provide opportunities for overlearning, retrieval and assessment to ensure that knowledge and concepts have been understood and retained. The focus on vocabulary and language acquisition ensures that all children, including those from disadvantaged or vulnerable backgrounds, have equal access to learning and build learning security commensurate with their peers.
All academies ensure that all children take part in all areas of the curriculum (with the exception of those areas where parents have exercised their right to request withdrawal). All children will be enabled to take part in the curriculum through a range of strategies. This may be through the scaffolding of teaching and/or tasks; the curriculum is not scaled back (differentiated) as this creates and adds to the disadvantage gap. All children are expected and enabled to achieve well. Scaffolding can also include pre-teaching, pupil conferencing or intervention groups, where, for example, language, vocabulary and key concepts are introduced and/or consolidated. For children who readily master the age-appropriate learning, they are enabled to utilise their subject-specific knowledge and skills through deeper application.
Collaboration is a strength of our Trust. Schools readily share the work they are doing with each other and support one another on the improvement journey. It is an expectation that schools will share their expertise, skills and resources for the benefit of all in the Trust. Through collaboration we will support schools to improve their curriculum and develop resources that support learning.