We are in the process of reviewing the content of our curriculum to ensure that there is a much greater emphasis on the ‘powerful knowledge’ that children need in order to not only truly understand concepts, but also to enable them to apply the knowledge, offer informed explanations, make links and spot patterns.
Whilst we will continue to use the National Curriculum as our framework, we will not limit our curriculum content to the knowledge, skills and concepts covered within it. Rather, in order to make good on a desire to ensure that every pupil understands there is no limit to their potential, and that when we learn together we shine together we will raise our expectations and not restrict the depth and breadth of children’s understanding.
We are currently in the process of looking at each subject and identifying the essential knowledge that we feel is the children’s entitlement – and then deciding how best to teach it.
Predictably, these higher expectations are throwing up a range of challenges for us; not least, ensuring that we develop the structures and systems which enable pupils to effectively retain (and then apply) the knowledge we are delivering. Quite often we find that the children’s knowledge just doesn’t ‘stick’ and so we need to look to other strategies which may help with ‘stickability’.
To help meet this challenge, we will be trialling ‘Knowledge Organisers’ which will be the ‘go-to’ documents outlining the essential knowledge that the teachers will be covering across a unit of work. They will include dates, key personnel, vocabulary, definitions, and other contextual or technical information. These ‘Knowledge Organisers’ will be shared with pupils, parents and carers – with the aim that everyone knows exactly what is being taught, and what the children need to learn.
We will continue to develop the use of Knowledge Organisers based on this trial, should they deliver what we expect them to, and the ultimate plan (if they do what we want them to) is to produce them for the full school year and for other subjects too. We will update you with our findings based on the quizzes and feedback from children and teachers at the end of the next half term.