Our curriculum is designed for sustained mastery. It is inspired by the work of Chris Quigley.
At Fernvale Primary School, the curriculum is specifically tailored to meet the needs of our children. All young people are individuals and our curriculum recognises that. We aim to offer our children the best educational experience possible. We want our curriculum to be exciting, interesting and engaging so that children are curious, inspired and enjoy learning. We believe it is important that our children receive the basic entitlement of the National Curriculum and more.
Please also see the information curriculum maps in the Year Group pages.
The breadth of our curriculum is designed with four goals in mind:
- To give pupils appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens;
- To provide a rich ‘cultural capital’;
- To provide a coherent, structured, academic curriculum that leads to sustained mastery for all and a greater depth of understanding for those who are capable.
- Appropriate experiences
We have developed an interconnected curriculum that brings about the aims and values of our school, and one that can respond to the particular needs of our community. Our interconnected curriculum is designed to ensure that our children are personally successful, independent thinkers ready for their journey of lifelong learning. Life is not a straight line, therefore we want our pupils to be prepared to overcome their challenges and embrace new opportunities.
It is important to us that all members of our school community are healthy - physically and mentally. Throughout life, our children will face many difficult challenges and need to have the mental and physical strength to be successful and happy.
We believe our children need to develop an understanding about where they live and the wider world. Through learning about the world, we want them to understand their role in society and develop respect towards the environment, communities and religions.
Our children need to become resilient to be able to deal with different challenges across the curriculum and in the wider world. They need to develop the ability to solve problems without giving up. Developing the skills to work independently to become resourceful.
We believe our children need to develop the skills to work well with other people. Children need to know how to speak and listen with respect in a variety of different situations.
- Appropriate experiences
We have developed curriculum drivers that shape our curriculum, the drivers bring about the aims and values of our school, and responds to the particular needs of our community:
Diversity – which helps pupils to develop an understanding of the world and its people, to recognise and celebrate similarities and differences.
We celebrate our values each month
Values Cycle A
Values Cycle B
- Cultural capital
Cultural capital is the background knowledge of the world pupils need to infer meaning from what they read. It includes vocabulary which, in turn and alongside our oracy approach, helps pupils to express themselves in a confident, mature way.
A coherently planned academic curriculum underpinned by the curriculum driver, our academic curriculum sets out:
a) a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered;
b) the ‘threshold concepts’ pupils should understand;
c) criteria for progression within the threshold concepts;
d) criteria for depth of understanding.
The diagram below shows model of our curriculum structure:
The curriculum breadth for each year group ensures each teacher has clarity as to what to cover. As well as providing the key knowledge within subjects it also provides for pupils’ growing cultural capital.
- Threshold concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated many times in each topic. We share these with pupils as “learning hooks” which underpin learning in each milestone. This enables pupils to reinforce and build upon prior learning, make connections and develop subject specific language. This provides the vertical accumulation of knowledge and skills
- The curriculum is starts with the EYFS and then travels through 3 Milestones.
- Depth: we expect pupils in first year of the milestone to develop a Basic (B) understanding of the concepts and an Advancing (A) or Deep (D) understanding in the 2nd year of the milestone.
Nothing is learned unless it rests in pupils’ long-term memories. This does not happen, and cannot be assessed, in the short term. Assessment, therefore answers two main questions: ‘How well are pupils coping with curriculum content? and ‘How well are they retaining previously taught content?’
Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:
- Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
- Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.
- Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
In addition to the three principles we also understand that learning is invisible in the short-term and that sustained mastery takes time.
Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach.
The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each Milestone, the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the content, that is, they remember it all and are fluent in it; Some pupils have a greater depth of understanding. We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum.
Secrets of Success
At Fernvale Primary, we have implemented Chris Quigley’s approach to learning. One element of this is the ‘Secrets of Success’. Chris Quigley believes that there are many elements needed for children to become successful and independent learners, not simply academics. Below is the ethos behind ‘Secrets of Success’:
What is success?
Success isn’t just about money. It is about happiness, choices and feeling good about yourself. Successful people feel good about:
- How hard they have tried
- Who they are
- What they spend their time doing
- The choices they have made in their lives
- Upholding key values and showing those to others