Hempstalls’ Curriculum for Champions is a concept-driven curriculum where knowledge and skills are embedded and deepened through progressive and sequential teaching and learning, which is inspiring and engaging to empower all children for future success in Modern British Life.
Reflecting our school vision and statement and ethos ‘Come as you are and leave as a Champion’ our aim is to provide our children with an engaging, exciting and empowering curriculum which prepares and equips them with the knowledge, skills and understanding for life in modern Britain and the twenty first century. At Hempstalls along with other schools within our Trust the curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, provide first hand experiences, allowing children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative, critical and highly motivated thinkers.
Our curriculum has been informed by the National Curriculum. Through the inclusion of concepts, subject leaders and teachers have created an ambitious, organised, focused and progressive curriculum, which drives, engages and challenges. The depth of study ensures that knowledge is relevant and to a deeper level and the progression of skills allows for a consistent, progressive and thoughtful curriculum design, keeping the children of Hempstalls at its heart.
Our subject specific concepts act as our ‘coat-hangers’, whereby the children can hook knowledge onto. Overtime, new knowledge will be added to the concept and the children will begin to know more and remember more. At Hempstalls, we use the concepts, based on the research by Jan Meyer and Ray Land (2003) to teach the most important element within the subject area. By exploring and repeating these concepts across each of the key stages, the children’s understanding will develop. We ensure that concepts are delivered at an age appropriate level, this includes the specific vocabulary that has been chosen within each subject area so that it is inclusive to all. Also, the use of icons to represent the concepts supports this. Through revisiting the concepts, children also revisit previous areas of study, widening their breadth of knowledge and understanding as well as building upon previously learnt knowledge - helping to create detailed and purposeful schema which can be further built on as the children move up through the school.
Curiosity, creativity and creative thinking are also extremely important elements of our curriculum and are key components of what and how we teach at Hempstalls. We want our children to reflect critically on information and to see alternative points of view looking for patterns and connections. For this reason, deliberately selected ‘connecting concepts’ are used across subjects to show that knowledge and skills are transferable and by doing so, we allow the children to add a further level of depth and understanding to the knowledge they have already learnt. Our curriculum is three dimensional, focussing on concepts, knowledge and skills, not just skills and knowledge. Subject leaders have developed knowledge organisers, designed with the child in mind, which reflect this and provide the children with the relevant knowledge and skills that they will learn during a topic, driven by the concept selected.
Teaching these foundation subject areas in blocks (PSHE, music, PE and French are taught weekly) allows the children to immerse themselves into the subject area for a sustained period of time. This supports the children’s knowledge development, understanding and allows for children to build upon the knowledge they have learnt quickly as the sequencing of lessons is not disrupted. Being very aware that the children will then not be taught that subject for a longer period of time, we ensure that the concept, knowledge and skills within that subject area is reviewed and re-visited regularly. Through the use of the Champion Learning pedagogy, daily, weekly, monthly reviews take place - helping the children to retain the knowledge into their long-term memories. By weaving in many previously taught subjects, the children then show their depth of knowledge by making connections and showing a ‘flexibility’ to their knowledge. It is this connected knowledge which highlights the child’s ability to understand and process information to a higher level.
We also hold additional experiences in high regard and see the inclusion of trips, visitors from specific fields of expertise, parental engagement, enrichment opportunities as essential to the development of the whole child. By launching our class texts in a stimulating and creative way, children are enthused to read and are given an insight into their new learning - motivating them to want to know more. Performing to parents allows the children to celebrate their strengths and share their journey with their family members. Trips, across all aspects of the curriculum, provide the children with unique opportunities that many of them would not have had the chance to do before. This learning outside of the classroom is critical to the child’s personal development and feeds into the Cultural Capital which we instill into our children. This is further developed through the range of texts the children are exposed to and the vocabulary that they are taught and expected to use. Furthermore, personal development opportunities, British Values, social and emotional development, health and well-being and cultural experiences weave throughout our curriculum.
Assessment is used as a teacher tool to direct their focus during times of review. Having high expectations of success (80%) the children complete assessments, a few weeks after the block has been taught. This allows the teachers to check what knowledge and understanding has remained and which areas needs further revisiting. The concept, knowledge and skills are all assessed and opportunities are also provided to allow the children to show their deeper understanding by making connections to other concepts, subjects and knowledge.