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Curriculum

"The Curriculum Gifts that we give to our children"

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We hope that you find the subject pages useful in getting to know our curriculum. Click the gift to explore each subject area.

To teaching children to read and write by blending and segmenting individual sound and to build children's speaking and listening skills. 

To ensuring our children can read easily, fluently and with good understanding. To read to themselves or to others (peers and adults) To read to a variety of audiences and to hear adults and children read to them. To read regularly and to develop a respect for books, language and literature.

To articulate and communicate ideas, organising them to be easily read. To have an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly deep knowledge of spelling ,vocabulary and grammar.

To be surprised by what happens and excited about what they discover when working practically and to ask ambitious questions.

To provide  a solid foundation in mathematics, gaining a deep understanding of mathematics and enjoy solving mathematical problems whilst fully embedding key skills and mathematical facts 

Take part in role-play and drama activities using a foreign language . Read foreign translations of books they know and  versions of familiar films and TV shows, to both support language acquisition and

intercultural understanding.

Take part in adventurous, outdoor activities, such as climbing, abseiling, raft building or orienteering.  Be introduced to local clubs and training centres through in-school taster sessions. To Play sport in front of spectators (through inter school events and our Sports Days) 

To enable pupils to develop religious literacy and conceptual understanding of what it means to be a person of faith or no faith. To encourage pupils to articulate their own ideas and experience of religion, belief and spirituality.

Outdoor Education

To promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. Offering learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves..

Outdoor Ed

Heart

PSHE

To take on positions of responsibility and leadership

within school.  Meet local leaders in a range of fields (councillors, faith leaders, business people etc.) and learn about their role and the skills they need to be successful.

Have regular opportunities to discuss personal views,

ideas and beliefs in an open, trusting environment.

Microphones

To develop the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak, underpinning  the development of reading and writing enabling pupils to build vocabulary knowledge, articulate and justify views and give well structured descriptions and explanations.

Children in Playground

To  prepare  pupils for what’s to come throughout their school years and to instil positive attitudes towards learning through enabling, warm, positive , creative and inspiring objective driven, play lead learning environments.

EYFS

Our Curriculum Vision

Intent

The curriculum at each school within the Federation is designed to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all children. It provides opportunities for children to develop as independent, confident and successful learners, with high aspirations, who know how to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society. The curriculum ensures that academic success, creativity and problem solving, reliability, responsibility and resilience, as well as physical development, well-being and mental health are key elements that support the development of the whole child and promote a positive attitude to learning. The curriculum celebrates the diversity and utilises the skills, knowledge and cultural wealth of the community while supporting the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain. 

The Cornerstones curriculum that we have adopted provides an excellent foundation. We have worked with children, parents and staff to develop curriculum drivers . These enable further personalisation of the curriculum for each school.

Dove Drivers, Peak Dale Drivers, Taddington Drivers ( click to enlarge) 

We believe our curriculum supports and reflects values of each individual school and the motto of the Federation : Whatever you do, do it well !

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Big Ideas

The intent of the curriculum is led by
ten central Big Ideas, or macro concepts, that provide the overarching aims of the curriculum. Conceived by careful analysis of the national curriculum subjects, and drawing out common themes in primary education, the Big Ideas put significant transferable concepts at the heart of the curriculum and support its horizontal, vertical and diagonal organisation.

Concepts and aspects

Each Big Idea links directly to the subjects of the curriculum and is broken down
into smaller parts that we call disciplinary concepts (micro concepts) and aspects (non-concepts). The concepts and aspects identify essential strands of each subject and help to organise the specific knowledge and skills of the curriculum.

 

Progression framework

In the final tier of the curriculum, we set out the essential knowledge and skills of the curriculum to build on the previous, so children’s understanding of concepts and aspects develops over time. The organisation of the knowledge and skills also allows for planned retrieval. Each subject page above outlines the knowledge and skills, concepts and aspects that we want children to know and remember by the time they leave our schools.

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Every class will experience 6 projects in a year through a  range of Knowledge Rich Projects. In addition there will be ‘companion projects’. Each individual project is split into four stages of learning: Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express.

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Curriculum implementation

Projects
 

The progression framework is implemented through a series of engaging and knowledge-rich projects. The projects are organised so that curriculum content, knowledge and skills are taught in a well-sequenced way that allows children to learn and do more as they progress throughout each year group. Each project is subject-driven and contains high-quality teaching resources.
 

Lesson plans
 

Each project is delivered through a series of well-planned lessons built around Cornerstones’ four-stage pedagogy Engage-Develop-Innovate-Express. 
 

Teaching resources
 

Each lesson is supported by the best primary resources available. Each resource is meticulously researched and designed for maximum learning benefits. We insist on using only the best quality images and refrain from using cartoons or simplified imagery. This ensures that all children can see authentic representations of people and places.

 

Knowledge organisers

Each project has a knowledge organiser that sets out the core information children need to know. Unlike more secondary-based offerings, our knowledge organisers present information in a fluent, engaging and age-appropriate way and can be used flexibly across the curriculum. Each knowledge organiser is rich in vocabulary and includes a project glossary. All EYFS projects contain an age-appropriate version of our knowledge organisers entitled ‘Did you know?’

For students to succeed in a particular area, they must have a foundation of factual knowledge, understand those facts in the context of a conceptual framework and organise knowledge in order to facilitate retrieval and application (Bransford et al., 2000). We can see knowledge organisers as a way to enable this, in a much more systematic way than traditional revision guides and textbooks.

When making decisions about what must be included we have to consider that not everything can be included on an A4 piece of paper. So we must balance the need to use concise space-saving definitions while still including meaning enough for it to be useful. The finite space also leads to choices about which knowledge we deem most important and which we exclude. Powerful knowledge, as defined by Young (Yong, 2013), is specialised rather than general knowledge, and is differentiated from the experiences of students. Finally, we have to decide which knowledge is most useful for the understanding of the domain and which is important for the sample of the domain – the assessment. For example, the continued development of the USSR post-1945 would be useful knowledge for students studying Animal Farm but would not be assessed, so should it be included on the KO?

As well as what to include, we also need to think about how the material is presented. In knowledge organisers, information is commonly presented in list form, which not be the best way to depict it in terms of showing links between ideas. It is therefore important that information is organised in such a way as to facilitate further organisation. Material should also be presented in such a way that it can be easily tested, to maximise the opportunity for retrieval practice.

The use of knowledge organisers needs to be integrated into teachers’ practice and students’ habits. This includes using the following strategies regularly and routinely.

Regular retrieval practice is important, because active retrieval aids later retention (Roediger et al., 2011). This can take various forms, e.g. low-stakes quizzes during lessons, or writing down the dates for key events in a timeline from the KO. It could be free recall, where students write down everything that they can remember on the topic, before checking the KO, or perhaps filling in a blank (or partially blank) knowledge organiser. Testing will also identify gaps in knowledge, lead to more learning on the next study session and produce better organisation of knowledge (Roediger et al., 2011).

We ensure that the material included in knowledge organisers is elaborated upon, by relating it to additional knowledge associated with it, often in the form of ‘why’ questions. There is an element of retrieval practice contained in this strategy, known as elaborative interrogation, but it works by ensuring that there is some sort of active understanding and meaningful consideration of what is being learnt (Willingham, 2014). Building complex schemas requires knowledge to be connected, so that this can be used when learning X by asking, ‘How does concept X relate to concept Y?’

All of these strategies are regularly used by teachers, but we must ensure that students are aware of how and when to use these strategies themselves, something that won’t happen without explicit instruction (Zimmerman, 2010). When using knowledge organisers in class, teachers can articulate why the particular strategy being used is effective and model its use with the KO. For students to get the most out of this, we can encourage them to use the metacognitive regulation cycle: plan how to undertake the task; monitor the effectiveness of the strategy; evaluate the overall success (EEF, 2018). For example, students might wish to learn a series of events and dates, so they might plan to use flashcards in several ways. They know that retrieval practice is effective so they use them to self-quiz. They know that elaborative interrogation is important, so they consider why each event was important and how it contributed to ultimate outcomes. They understand that knowledge may stick better if organised in different ways, so they organise the dates chronologically. They monitor which dates are known, then retest those not yet learnt. They reflect, following this, on tricky dates and then place each in turn in the centre of a concept map and consider how each relates to the other dates.

Curriculum impact

Testing and low-stakes quizzes

Most projects have a question-and-answer sheet or low-stakes quiz to help assess children’s learning. These can be used at the end of a project or for retrieval practice at different points across the school year.

Assessment and monitoring

The curriculum is fully integrated with Cornerstones comprehensive assessment system, enabling  assessment of children’s learning in all subjects. With the dynamic assessment of class, group and individual progress, the assessment system  provides us with immediate data on any gaps in children’s learning and progress overall.

Strengthening subject leadership across our schools remains an important priority. Subject leaders follow the ABC model ( Analyse, Build, Cultivate) in order to evaluate and further develop the curriculum. More information can be found on the subject leadership page and on individual subject pages. 

Cornerstones Curriculum

 

As a group of schools within the Federation, we were delighted to introduce a new curriculum in January  2023, as part of our exciting school developments, to make sure we are providing the best quality of education possible for your children. As a leadership team, the driver for these developments was the ‘voice’ of pupils, parents and staff- so thank you for your ongoing feedback. 

The ‘Cornerstones Curriculum’ is based on inspirational, fully sequenced and interconnected learning activities which take place in a classroom environment that allows children to learn in a way that motivates and interests them. Cornerstones will provide our children with challenge, giving them opportunities to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding across the curriculum.

Broad, balanced and ambitious coverage

Subject skills and knowledge endpoints

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Sequenced and connected learning

Live monitoring of curriculum impact

Enlivening learning through authentic & relevant experiences

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Each half termly theme begins with a motivating Entry point, often a visit or experience to immerse the children in the topic. To celebrate learning at the end of a topic, we like to invite parents to come into school to share some of our learning. We take an innovative approach to learning and are responsive to needs and opportunities that arise, so every term we will adapt and update our curriculum plans. Wherever possible, we also link English learning to these topics to give writing a genuine purpose and real-life audience. Real-life math’s opportunities are also implemented e.g. data collection or planning an event with a given budget.

The topics are enhanced by home learning projects which are fun and practical for families to do together e.g. build a volcano or construct a medieval castle.  All topics culminate in a landing which pulls together all of the learning. Once a term, there is a real-world outcome which has an impact beyond our immediate school community of pupils, staff and parents. Examples of a real world outcome may be the screening of a film in the cinema to the public, a museum in a pop-up shop which is open to the public, the creating of an electronic nature trail for the public to use or a workshop and puppet show/presentation to pre-school children.

Growth mindset

In school we have worked hard to promote a growth mindset which underpins our approach to teaching and learning. Growth mindset is based on the belief that everyone can change and grow through application and experience. This links with our  curriculum driver 'Possibilities'  We teach pupils that changes occur in the structure of the brain as they learn to do new things. When they first start to challenge themselves it may seem hard but if they keep persevering then challenges become easier. Praise is focused on the effort children have given, rather than their achievement. Feedback, even if critical, is seen as an opportunity for learning and children respond positively accepting the fact that their first try isn’t always the best. Children are given opportunities to continuously review and improve their work with purple polishing pens.  Rather than being seen as a failure, mistakes are seen as an opportunity for learning. We have tried to embed that there is no such thing as “I can’t do it.” Instead we say that “I can’t do it …yet”

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