Supporting your curriculum development

Attigo have a guiding set of principles when constructing the curriculum for all our schools but each one has a bespoke programme of study that reflects their values and characteristics.

Our intent’s starting point is the National Curriculum as although we are an academy and have the freedom to choose, we knew that the aims stated within the NC are what we believe in too i.e. to give the essential knowledge to be educated citizens. However, we see the National Curriculum statements as the outcomes not the programme of studies – the end points not the staring points.

First each school decides on its drivers. It is then the drivers that influence the aspect of what each school will study within a topic. Houndsfield have taken the drivers of reading, well-being and the environment as theirs, whilst Worcesters hold community and reading at the forefront of their curriculum. These are reflected in the content of a unit of work. For example, both Houndsfield and Alma cover the Anglo-Saxons but one focuses on environmental aspects within this period whilst the other focuses on British Values, and in this particular unit, individual liberty.

We start by looking at each subject in the National Curriculum on its own and consider how the school’s drivers fit in to the content of the subject. We then work backwards from the National Curriculum outcomes and start to plot the progress towards the final outcome.

Each subject has its own progression map. These outline progression in skills, knowledge and vocabulary. They show how they build on previous learning but also where new concepts are taught thus embedding learning in the long-term memory. We know that learning only takes place when there is a change in the long term memory and that new knowledge is added to existing knowledge to create and extend schema. The key to developing the schema is vocabulary and a clear understanding of the vocabulary involved with each topic, subject and lesson. As Sherrington states:

it’s hard to form a strong schema, to practise retrieval, or to evaluate the true extent of our knowledge if you are unsure what the knowledge is meant to be…”[1]

Our progression documents clearly define the knowledge to be taught and support the development of knowledge, skills and vocabulary to develop complex schema. The documents show a final outcome for each unit of work so the children have the opportunity to apply known or new knowledge/ skills. An example of this can be illustrated with one of our geography units in Year 4 on biomes which refers back to the knowledge and skills the children covered in Year 2 about countries and continents and on their previous geography unit in Year 4 where they studied the vegetation of a European county in detail. At all times we are mindful of showing representation from a range of backgrounds, heritages and ethnicities.

Sherrington, T (2019), Rosenshine’s Principles in Action, John Catt Educational[2]

We then bring all the subjects together into overviews. Explicit links are made to other subjects where appropriate. For example, in one school, when studying Spain in geography, children study the work of Picasso whilst honing their painting skills by looking at colour to create mood. However, in year 6, there is a stand-alone unit on Manga art which looks at female artists but also at the skill of drawing movement.

If you are interested in finding out more about one of our school’s curriculums or how we can support your school in developing your own, please email: