Intent, Implementation and Impact

Intent, Implementation and Impact - King Solomon Academy Curriculum 2019-20 

Our curriculum is best understood through the answers to the following three questions: 

1. Intent: why do we teach what we teach? 
2. Implementation: how do we teach what we teach? 
3. Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it? 

 

1. Intent: why do we teach what we teach? 

Our curriculum is designed to ensure that from the moment each  of our pupils sets foot into our Nursery, we take their individual starting point ‘on the mountain’ and make sure we have mapped out their path through our whole school to prepare them for success at university and beyond when they leave us at 18.  

Our curriculum is therefore the body of knowledge we know our pupils need to learn as they progress from one year to the next. They need to know more, and remember more at each and every stage. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through listening, speaking, reading, writing and maths. 

Many of our pupils arrive well below national expectations for their age. We have to teach them how to learn first. As such, we prioritise social and emotional development and listening and attention in the EYFS curriculum. Throughout both the primary and secondary school, we invest a lot of time and energy into teaching pupils habits for discussion focussing on learning how to listen actively, how to speak with voice, in sentences and with precision and then moving on to sharing thinking and building on others’ thinking so as to ensure we are all learning with and from each other as one team and family.  

Reading is at the heart of our whole curriculum. Phonics is sacred time. We follow the Read Write Inc programme. Each year group has a big question to answer over the course of the year which is broken into a question for the unit and critical questions for each week. The themes are purposefully epic in scope: from “what does it mean to belong?” in Year 1, to “what is trust?” in Year 6. In Primary, we have chosen six high quality rigorous texts to hang our English and humanities curriculum onto so as to learn about who we are as human beings and to learn knowledge about the world we live in now, have lived in in the past and will live in in the future. In Key Stage 3, the curriculum continues to be based around a big question with a citizenship and personal development focus. For example, in Year 8 pupils consider ‘What does it mean to be a hero?’, through interrogating ideas of heroism in World War poetry, a Shakespeare play and Animal Farm. Literature continues to drive planning in Key Stage 4 and 5, where all language and non-fiction texts are themed around literary topics.  

In Primary, the humanities curriculum is designed to complement children’s understanding of the texts they are reading in English so as to build a body of knowledge about the Victorian era when reading Berlie Doherty’s Street Child or about modern Pakistan and global practices of child labour when reading Iqbal. In Secondary, humanities is delivered through one integrated curriculum in Year 7 and 8 and pupils address topics about the world around them. From Year 9 onwards History, Geography and RE are taught as discrete subjects, instilling depth of knowledge. Each unit has a knowledge organiser designed by subject specialists to ensure precision of subject specific vocabulary and contextual knowledge for pupils and parents alike.  

Our approach is similarly rigorous in science. Our pupils are scientists. Units are planned to ensure progression of the body of core scientific knowledge from EYFS through to KS5, with subject specific vocabulary mapped out for each and every unit so there is clarity for teachers, pupils and parents exactly how much depth and detail is required. Every unit has a practical where pupils learn scientific skills of making predictions, ensuring fair testing, analysing and evaluating results and drawing conclusions. We are able to draw on the knowledge and expertise of our all-through science technician when designing and facilitating practicals for children of all ages. 

Every pupil is a mathematician at KSA. We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Primary and - for the first time this year - in Secondary too, with an emphasis on studying fewer areas of learning so that pupils develop a deep understanding of whole number, fractions, geometry and statistics. We prioritise acquisition of mathematical language and use visual modelling to help pupils make links between the concrete and the abstract. 

We harness the music specialism at KSA. All pupils learn to love to sing from Nursery and begin learning either the violin, viola or cello from Year 4 so as to be able to play in the year group orchestra programme which begins in Year 7. We believe that through learning music, we also learn habits of practice, determination and team work. These same habits are at the core of our approach to PE: every child needs to know how to keep themselves fit and healthy through our PE curriculum lessons, through play in the playground, activity and enrichment as well as on a range of trips and residentials where physical activity and sports play a crucial role. 

We teach French to every pupil three times a week from Year 5 through to the end of Year 11. Learning an additional language teaches pupils to love language acquisition, to love communication and to be curious about others and other parts of the world. We also offer Spanish in Key Stage 4 and 5. 

In Primary, the Art and DT curriculum is closely linked to the English and humanities foci for each unit so pupils can make the most of subject specific knowledge in creative endeavour too. In Secondary, the Art curriculum builds on knowledge and skills acquired in primary and hones in on building creative skill and critical evaluation. 

We are proud of our PSHE curricilum which aims to equip pupils with the social and emotional skills they will require to be successful at university and beyond. Key topics are taught throughout each key stage, and revisited to reinforce knowledge at an age-appropriate level as pupils grow older through two drop down days per cycle, morning meetings and assemblies as well as through coherent links into the rest of the taught curriculum, specifically through addressing big ideas questions in English. 

2. Implementation: how do we teach what we teach? 

The curriculum is driven by the leaders of the school through the embedding of long-term curriculum overviews and medium term plans and knowledge organisers for each and every unit. In French, PE, art and music, the curriculum is led by an all-through subject specialist. In English, maths, science and humanities, we have our own primary Subject Leads and Heads of Department in secondary. Primary intellectual preparation and co-planning is always led by a senior leader or a subject lead with the class teachers for the year group working together in dedicated time together every week. In secondary, each teacher meets with their HoD every week and has department training every two weeks. 

All pupils always work to the same learning objective every lesson: we are all climbing the same mountain. Teachers plan for the fact that some team members will need more scaffolding; others will require a greater challenge. We aim to meet the academic needs of all learners every lesson through the use of differentiated questioning and resources as well as through additional support from peers or additional adults. 

In the EYFS, pupils learn through a balance of adult-directed and child-initiated learning experiences which focus on the development of core skills alongside celebrating the unique child. 

From Y1-13, every lesson begins with a Do Now asking pupils to recall knowledge from a previous lesson, practise a skill or prepare for new learning. Learning activities are then planned according to how best to achieve the learning objective of the lesson, culminating in an LO review for pupils to evidence their progress in achieving the LO. 

Pupils learn in a carefully planned mixed-attainment seating plan and teachers have a data-driven well-worn path around the room to assess pupils’ knowledge and understanding quickly and adapt teaching effectively at point of learning and/or misconception using over-the-shoulder feedback to pupils and live class or group re-teaching.  

Pupils are expected to learn from their team mates, as much as from their teacher. Habits for discussion enable our pupils to share their thinking, build on each other’s and act as a team and family.  

3. Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it? 

For teachers to be able to adapt their teaching effectively, they rely on a range of assessment tools to provide data on the knowledge pupils have and how much more they have remembered over time. 

In the EYFS, every member of staff uses observational assessment to baseline children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. These assessments are tracked on EExAT (Early Excellence Assessment Tracker) which enable us to measure our starting points against a national data set.  

Pupils in Nursery – Year 1 are all enrolled on the RWI phonics programme and have a rigorous half termly one to one assessment to inform their progress and our next steps in their teaching. We sit Reading Age tests twice a year from Year 2 to Year 9. 

In Y1-6, pupils sit global assessments in reading and maths three times a year. The PUMA and PIRA tests enable us to track pupils’ age-related progress against a national data set across a range of skills and are therefore useful in terms of tracking progress over time.  

In primary English, we use fortnightly critical essays in Year 1-Year 6 to hone our analytical reading craft.  We focus our writing practice on just one form per unit so as to really hone the craft of writing for that particular form over multiple opportunities. Each unit begins with a ‘Cold Write,’ to assess pupils’ starting points in the form, then moves through several ‘Shared Writes’ to embed knowledge of the form through practice and finishes with a ‘Go Write’ where pupils show off their mastery of the form in their writing progress books. Pupils write a ‘Go Write’ critical essay as the culmination of each humanities unit and a write up of a practical for each science unit. We have developed our own library of ‘how tos’ to identify more precisely the requirements of a particular form of writing for each year group. Writing is rigorously assessed against age-related expectations and carefully moderated internally, with colleagues across the Ark network and externally through Local Authority moderation too.  

Deliberate practice is embedded across all primary subject areas in order for teachers to be able to assess the extent to which pupils are learning and remembering. Maths is also assessed through a half termly arithmetic test and Times Tables Rock stars in Y2-6 to assess progress over time. We are also beginning to experiment with the use of ‘Cold’ and ‘Go’ quizzing in humanities and science against the core knowledge set out in our knowledge organisers. We are constantly looking for ways to prioritise knowledge acquisition, particularly with regards to both subject specific vocabulary and tier 2 words we know our pupils must master to be academically literate. 

In Key Stage 3 and 4, pupils are formally assessed once a term and are awarded age-related grades. Where possible, we use Ark assessments to allow us to compare the data we gather against the network wide data. In Key Stages 3 and 4, teachers also engage in regular formative assessment throughout the term and in Key Stage 4 pupils sit knowledge focused quizzes every 3 weeks, in which they must achieve 70% to pass, as we encourage independent preparation outside of school.  Pupils who do not meet this threshold must resit the assessment after school. The quiz schedule is shared with pupils and teachers in advance of the school year. 

Key stage 5 pupils are assessed every three weeks using tri-weekly assessments, for which they are awarded grades of ‘At’, ‘Above’ or ‘Below’. This score is awarded in relation to their target grade. For example, a pupil who is targeted a C grade who gets a B would be ‘Above’. Pupils sit a range of taught tests and cumulative assessments throughout the year and the assessment schedule is shared with pupils and teachers in advance of the school year. 

The structure of the curriculum enables us to return to core knowledge and skills pupils should have mastered at regular intervals across the year, key stage and across primary and secondary.