WNAT Knowledge Based Curriculum
Our vision is to create excellence in education, which values and promotes the pursuit of lifelong learning. Children will be inspired, challenged and encouraged, through a stimulating, supporting and caring environment where all achievement is celebrated.
The Vision behind the Knowledge Curriculum
The Knowledge Curriculum was introduced in September 2019 and is a bespoke innovative knowledge rich curriculum that encompasses the following subjects: Science, Geography, History, Art and Design and Technology.
It is a carefully sequenced knowledge rich curriculum which aims to promote excellent outcomes alongside developing pupils; resilience and confidence and overcome inequality of opportunity by inspiring pupils from Reception to Year 6.
Knowledge Curriculum is inspired from the work by E.D. Hirsch and is produced by a curriculum team consisting of West Norfolk Academies Trust leaders and teachers who hold subject specialism qualifications, including degrees in the subject areas.
The Knowledge Curriculum is produced by teachers for teachers.
An experienced Director of Primary Standards, who has revolutionised whole school curriculum, leads the Knowledge Curriculum team. To support the development of the curriculum the Knowledge team have worked in collaboration with other larger MATs. In addition to this, a Civitas Curriculum Advisor provides external quality assurance of the Knowledge Curriculum.
The Pedagogy that informed the vision
The National Curriculum 2014 encouraged schools to place more emphasis on teaching knowledge. Researchers such as E.D Hirsch and Bernstein have influenced how knowledge is considered in the curriculum.
As a Trust, we have asked the questions about what content should be taught, in what order, and also reflecting upon what children remember and how they remember it. Importantly, findings from cognitive science are beginning to influence practice in the classroom. The Knowledge Curriculum is the ‘perfect interruption’ (Bernstein,2000) between what is concrete in a child life and what is abstract. ‘This has to occur if pupils are to enter into the world of powerful knowledge’ (Young 2010) where they can ‘think the not yet thought’ (Bernstein 2000).
What is the Intent?
At The West Norfolk Academy Trust we offer an aspirational Curriculum which is built upon powerful knowledge. The intention of our Knowledge Curriculum is for pupils to have the requisite knowledge, skills and wider understanding to be successful, independent and motivated learners, in readiness for their next stage of education.
This enables pupils to retain high quality knowledge in their long term memory, knowledge that can be applied across the curriculum and from year to year. As a result, the working memory is able to deepen their critical thinking skills whilst learning new knowledge.
Our curriculum, which meets the National Curriculum, is tailored to meet individual needs and aspirations, ensuring all children are interested and motivated to learn. This methodology is underpinned by the Bloom’s Taxonomy theory which uses questioning to develop, secure and deepen understanding.
How is the Knowledge Curriculum implemented?
The Knowledge Curriculum is implemented by the class teachers following high quality short-term lesson plans that follow the knowledge outcomes set in the year overview. These short-term lesson plans are supported by knowledge organisers, which are multi-purpose. They are shared with the pupils at the beginning of each unit, sent home and used as a constant resource throughout. The teachers use them as a reference tool as to the essential knowledge the pupils must learn.
Lessons ensure that teachers present the subject matter clearly, develop a broad and rich vocabulary and promote appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught. The vocabulary content of Knowledge Curriculum is taught with the purpose of addressing the ‘word gap’.
Pupils’ books will demonstrate pupils of all ages study a range of subjects in depth, enabling them to make progress and build up their knowledge and understanding of key concepts.
Pupils are assessed in a multi-faceted manner:
- Application of vocabulary, both within lessons and through written work.
- Skilful questions during all lessons are a vital aspect of assessment for learning. This ensures knowledge has been retained lesson by lesson in order to impact the long term memory.
- Presentations of work links learning to prior learning.
- Key pieces of work are assessed to show retained knowledge
What is the intended impact?
Children’s attainment in core and foundation subjects will be in line with, or exceeding National expectations, due to;
- Improvement in pupils’ long-term memory through high quality knowledge across a wide range of subjects.
- Enhanced pupils’ writing outcomes in all areas of the curriculum.
- Significantly reduced the word deficit in the most disadvantaged communities.
- Providing the foundation and direction of a coherent, cumulative and content-rich curriculum.
- A broad and deep comprehensive curriculum helps pupils to achieve high literacy and academic success.
- Providing teachers with the relevant subject knowledge, enabling them to think more creatively about teaching.
- Creating a common ground for communication, in the classroom and beyond
The 3 year vision plan:
The National Curriculum
Curriculum requirements for all subjects are delivered through the Primary National Curriculum (2014).
We value the important role The Early Years Foundation Stage plays in securing foundations for the future learning and development. Working alongside parents, carers and the community, setting out to promote and nurture moral values within a happy, secure and stimulating environment where everyone is, and feels, valued. Working within the 4 principles -
A Unique Child.
Learning and Development.
Maths is taught on a daily basis. We aim to ensure that all our pupils are confident with all aspects of maths. Significant importance is placed on developing the ability to use maths in everyday situations. Children are taught to use and apply mental and practical strategies to solve problems that they may face in day-to-day life. We aim to make maths as practical and fun as possible, using it in other areas of the curriculum as appropriate, especially in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
In daily lessons children are taught skills in reading and writing through a range of planned activities. Differentiated activities support the less able and extend the more able pupils. Skills and techniques are demonstrated and shared by the teacher through role modelling, shared class work, group and individual activities. Regular guided group work in reading and writing is led by the teacher or another adult in the classroom, including the use of the Letters and Sounds programme in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Speaking and listening skills are taught through circle time activities and developed across the curriculum. The school teaches phonics through RWI and uses the Oxford reading Tree.
Essentially science is about exploring, investigating and discovering things to gain knowledge and understanding about the world we live in. We aim to provide children with the skills needed to investigate and explore ideas independently. As science is such a practical subject it is taught using a hands-on approach wherever possible. Consequently we have built up a full range of equipment and resources for children to use. Science is taught through as a discrete subject every week and activities make the subject more meaningful.
Extra Curricular Opportunities
A number of clubs are held each week to allow children to follow particular interests and develop skills, including Football, Music and Art. Voluntary activities are an important part of school life and encourage involvement and commitment on the part of children, staff and parents. All classes take part in regular curriculum linked school trips. Full risk assessments are carried out for all school trips and visits – and only take place when approved by the Headteacher and the Local Authority. Trained first aiders are always in attendance on all school trips and visits.
How do I find out more about what my child will be learning?
Every term, teachers send out knowledge organisers, explaining what children will be learning about during this period. If you require more detail, please speak to your child's class teacher who will be happy to help you and supply you with more information.