Curriculum 2021-2022: Achievement through Aspiration
At Thomas Harding Junior School we provide our children with a broad, exciting and aspirational curriculum that is designed to ensure that all children are motivated to learn and become independent, confident, resourceful individuals who feel a sense of belonging to the school and community as well as ready to make a positive contribution to the wider world.
We are highly aspirational for our children and we aim to engender a sense of personal pride in achievement and provide a purpose and relevance for learning. Through our curriculum, we want pupils to move on to the next stage of their education with a strong sense of self and belief for their future so that they can go on to achieve their full potential.
Whilst the National Curriculum forms the basis for our ASPIRE curriculum, we have designed our curriculum carefully to ensure that that is built on an in depth knowledge and understanding of our pupils.
We understand the importance of building cultural capital, enabling our children to benefit from the best that has been said, thought and done in the wider world. Therefore, our curriculum is enriched by a range of visits, visitors and experiences, which our skilled teaching staff plan in to ensure that children can identify and apply curriculum links and concepts.
We firmly believe that a successful curriculum is underpinned by reading, Our ASPIRE curriculum has reading at its core, and carefully selected and challenging texts are used across the curriculum. This works to ensure that children are equipped with the vocabulary, syntax and communication skills that are required to access learning at a deeper level both now and in the future. Our curriculum allows for fundamental key skills in maths, reading, writing and spoken language to be revisited regularly, and then embedded over time, ensuring that knowledge and skills can be applied in a range of contexts and will remain in children's long term memory to be built upon in the future.
Our ASPIRE values drive the curriculum, and ensure that it is challenging and coherently sequenced to enable all children to succeed to a high standard. All content is carefully sequenced within the curriculum so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before. This then means that children know more, and remember more over time. They also ensure that children develop learning behaviours such as: high expectations, resilience, curiosity, growth mind-set and the ability to self-regulate. These enable our pupils to believe that they can achieve their potential and this then encourages pupils to take greater responsibility for their own learning.
ASPIRE firmly states that self-belief can and will lead to personal success and our curriculum enables pupils to do that. Core British Values and SMSC run through our curriculum to ensure that pupils understand the rights and responsibilities, as well as the roles of law and democracy that they need in life now and in the future. Furthermore, as a culturally diverse school, our children are well equipped with the suitable knowledge, behaviours and attitudes that allow them to live harmoniously in a multi-cultural society.
At the end of the Summer Term 2021, our teacher assessments indicated that pupils left Thomas Harding Junior School at least in line with the national performance of pupils from all schools in 2019. We have had strong feedback from local secondary schools, grammar schools and they tell us that pupils from Thomas Harding go on to secure strong outcomes in Key Stage 3.
Our Curriculum is implemented with our and ASPIRE Values at the heart of all we do at Thomas Harding Junior School. We deliver a coherently planned, ambitious curriculum with progressive development and understanding of key knowledge, skills and concepts, which build over time and are re-visited regularly.
Our curriculum design is based on evidence from principles of learning, on-going assessment and organisation and cognitive research. (EEF research, Cognitive Science, Psychological Science)
These main principles underpin this:
Start from a learner’s existing understanding.
Involve the learner actively in the learning process.
Develop the learner’s overview, i.e. metacognition – this requires that students have a view of the big picture, understand what effective learning looks like, and can also self-assess. (EEF Metacognition and Self-regulation of learning).
Emphasis the social aspects of learning (i.e. learning through discussion) as these make a unique contribution to learning. (EEF research Collaborative Learning).
Curriculum organisation and timetabling enable learners’ opportunities for constant recapping of knowledge and skills with well-spaced reviews. (interleaving and addressing the forgetting curve).
Implementation Curriculum Overview
- Progression grids, overviews and clearly identified learning questions and end points are produced for each year group ensuring clarity of coverage with a strong emphasis on progression of knowledge and skills.
- Carefully selected enrichment opportunities are key to providing all pupils with rich experiences to enhance their learning. These experiences are reviewed annually as part of our curriculum review.
- The use of Knowledge Organisers provide transparency within the curriculum - an overview of pre-teach content and also a means of tracking knowledge, skills and understanding of concepts which are regularly re-visited in the form of a variety of retrieval exercises. This regular revisiting enables knowledge to be committed to long-term memory.
- Monitoring takes place on a regular basis, and is supported in school by the Governing Body.
- Every curriculum area has a linked Governor who visits their subject leader at least termly, supports in deep dives and reports back to the LGB on the progress in that subject.
- Our curriculum is reviewed regularly (at least annually) by Governors, SLT, Subject leaders and teachers. This ensures that it remains relevant, ambitious and that all component parts are as logically sequenced and fit for purpose as possible.
- Developing an understanding of the fundamental British values infiltrates all aspects of the curriculum and assembly themes.
- We have also mapped out opportunities for SMSC and safeguarding throughout our curriculum, and these are available in a separate document.
Implementation of Teaching and Learning
- We have the highest of expectations for ALL learners.
- We do not differentiate by task, Teachers will aim the pitch high and challenge all to get there through scaffolding and support.
- Growth mindset, resilience and ASPIRE underpin all learning, our children are taught how to learn and we celebrate success in this.
- Our curriculum is underpinned by the principle of ‘fewer things in greater depth’ and embedded in an understanding of how memory works. We know that children need to embed learning in their long-term memory, and that children need time to develop mastery of a concept or skill. Therefore, learning questions may be extended over several lessons, and children supported to understand and apply their learning at a deeper level.
- As a school, we have developed 5 memory hacks which support our pupils to know more and remember more over time. These are: retrieval, note taking, chunking, scaffolding/modelling and big picture.
- Teachers begin all lessons by sharing the big picture with pupils, which includes sharing end points and links to previous and future learning.
- Teachers have excellent subject knowledge and are supported to maintain and improve this knowledge through training, observing best practice and undertaking relevant research
- The teaching of key vocabulary is a primary feature in all curriculum areas, with explicit instruction, modelling, scaffolding, pre-teaching and an expectation that it is used in spoken and written outcomes.
- Subject leaders provide colleagues with support for planning, resourcing and teaching
- Lessons incorporate modelled examples; scaffolding, key vocabulary, retrieval practice and, over time, revisit teaching, knowledge and skills
- Pupils are taught note taking skills to support the working memory, and shown how to use these notes to support learning as they apply learning later in a unit of work.
- Materials within lessons are broken down into manageable ‘chunks’ to ensure that learning is easier to access and retain in the working memory.
- Lesson materials are chosen to add value to pupils’ learning, and wherever possible, teachers go back to the highest quality source material for a curriculum subject.
- High quality texts are used across the curriculum, to ensure that children are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary and syntax styles, this will include high quality fiction, non-fiction, poetry and academic texts.
- Leaders ensure that teaching is sequential with teachers ensuring that knowledge and skills are taught in a logical and progressive order.
- A High challenge; low threat approach is used at all times, and in all lessons with teachers aiming high, checking understanding in a low threat way and then applying responsive teaching to impact learning and address misconceptions.
- Challenge for all underpins every aspect of the curriculum, with extension tasks always available and an expectation that all children will be challenged to achieve their potential.
- Opportunities for enrichment are logically and strategically placed in the curriculum in order to ensure that they add the greatest amount of value to the children’s learning.
- Target Tracker is used for the assessment of pupils’ learning for all areas of the curriculum.