BWMAT Curriculum Statement
A Curriculum for an Ever-Changing World
The curriculum is what ensures that our children have life in all its fullness. It is the structure that ensures that they learn well, that provides life changing experiences, that builds their character, that enables them to choose their paths and shows them what it means to be a human being in this ever-changing world. The Bath and Wells Multi-Academy Trust is determined that all children in our schools will have access to an ambitious curriculum that meets our non-negotiables and expectations.
life-long love of learning.
Each school will have a curriculum statement which outlines their unique approach to the curriculum, how this reflects the context of the school and its community, and the key drivers of their curriculum. These drivers shape the curriculum which will also reflect the vision and values of each school. The curriculum will take the national curriculum as its minimum standard for breadth and will describe clearly the progression in skills and knowledge that will enable all to learn. The four key questions below provide a focus for curriculum development.
What is the breadth of the curriculum? Has the school clearly stated the big ideas, key knowledge and skills that pupils will learn in each subject?
Our school curricula will map the substantive and disciplinary knowledge that will be taught in each subject area. Learning will be deliberately and logically sequenced within each subject so that children can build schema and remember more. The school curriculum will be published on the school’s website for parents and partners. If an school does not have a suitable curriculum in place, or if the Trust has judged the school to be a cause for concern, then the Trust may determine some or all of the school’s curriculum.
The Implementation of the Curriculum
Our aims for the curriculum will only be realised through effective implementation. Subject leaders have determined a clear, coherent and effective subject progression map which builds from the Early Years right through to the end of Year 6. This takes into account the drivers and themes as well as key knowledge, vocabulary and skills. Subject specific, whole school progression maps enable teachers to build upon prior learning and signpost to future learning, thus deepening children’s ability to connect learning over time and see that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Teaching staff use the underpinning knowledge and skills progression documents to plan sequences of lessons that build on prior learning. Elicitation and diagnostic activities are carried out at the start of each new unit of learning to establish children’s prior knowledge and understanding as the starting point. Any identified gaps or misconceptions are addressed before embarking on new learning.
We ensure that our subject-specific curriculum maps and resources provide rigour so that children can, for example, think like a historian or scientist. The use of high-quality resources and learning environments are a fundamental part of the learning process. As a Trust we will support the use of a range of published curriculum vehicles though none of these should be used as an ‘off the shelf’ solution. Schools must tailor and adapt appropriately to meet the needs of the children. As a Trust we use a mastery approach to lesson design across the curriculum. This ensures a small step process where children are guided through their learning to support metacognition and self-regulation.
Subject leaders are at the centre of the learning improvement journey. Their role is to design the progression map for their subject, monitor the quality of education and to improve the implementation through supporting staff professional development. Leaders must be given time to carry out this important role, and be supported in their own development.
Assessment should an ongoing process which informs teaching and improves learning. Gaps in vocabulary or knowledge are quickly identified and rectified. Any arising misconceptions are planned for in subsequent learning experiences. Feedback is a key tool, as children are supported in accurate learning and knowing what they know (metacognition). Assessment, ultimately, enables precision in knowing both the security of learning and next steps. (See also the BWMAT Assessment Statement).
The Impact of the Curriculum
An effective curriculum will impact widely on children’s learning and therefore their achievement; this includes building cultural capital through exposure to a rich and diverse curriculum. Children will gain and retain subject-specific knowledge and skills, which over time takes them from novice to expert.
Academies provide opportunities for overlearning, retrieval and assessment to ensure that knowledge and concepts have been understood and retained. The focus on vocabulary and language acquisition ensures that all children, including those from disadvantaged or vulnerable backgrounds, have equal access to learning and build learning security commensurate with their peers. Monitoring of the quality of learning includes a significant focus on measuring the knowledge retained by children. The quality of teaching is commensurate with the depth of retention. Approaches to this include: quick quizzes; spaced recall; low stakes testing; multiple choice questions; journaling; project work.
All academies ensure that all children take part in all areas of the curriculum (with the exception of those areas where parents have exercised their right to request withdrawal). In addition, there is an agreed approach for how the school enables all children to access the learning, regardless of their individual needs or abilities. This may be through the scaffolding of teaching and/or tasks; the curriculum is not scaled back (differentiated) as this creates and adds to the disadvantage gap. All children are expected and enabled to achieve well. Scaffolding can also includes pre-teaching, pupil conferencing or intervention groups, where, for example, language, vocabulary and key concepts are introduced and/or consolidated. For children who readily master the age-appropriate learning, they are enabled to utilise their subject-specific knowledge and skills through deeper application.
Collaboration is a strength of our Trust. Schools readily share the work they are doing with each other and support one another on the improvement journey. It is an expectation that schools will share their expertise, skills and resources for the benefit of all in the Trust. Where schools are working to develop their curriculum they must reach out to others in the Trust to seek support so that they can benefit from work that has already been completed by others. Through collaboration we will support schools to improve their curriculum and develop resources, such as Knowledge Organisers, that support learning.