How does our curriculum work in the classroom?
The organisation and delivery of the curriculum at Hatch End High School has always been key to our success. Whilst we are an Academy, we value the breadth of the National Curriculum and therefore follow it as a minimum. We believe that effective curriculum design requires essential concepts and knowledge to be “planned” and “sequenced” using carefully thought out “building blocks”. We want to make sure that our students can learn for the ‘long term’ and develop their skills of memory. Our full curriculum policy sets out our CURRICULUM INTENT (the aims of our programme of education, including the knowledge and skills to be gained at each stage); our CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION (how we deliver and assess our curriculum to best suit our students) and how we measure IMPACT (how we evaluate the success of what knowledge and skills students have gained against our expectations).
How do we start?
Each subject is mapped out carefully to ensure we cover the right things at the right time, with an emphasis on how everything “connects”. By starting with Year 13, we have carefully tracked back the required components (or building blocks) to be successful in each subject and curriculum area and produced what we are calling our “Curriculum Narratives.” In other words, the story of the Hatch End Curriculum. This can be seen more clearly in our Curriculum Maps. Thinking hard about “connection and coherence” matters because if we do not, then what is offered to students is bitty. Bitty means that there are many fragments of knowledge floating around without it all being placed within a wider context. We pay careful attention to the underlying knowledge, which students need to progress in each subject, both now, and in later years. We define progress as “knowing and remembering more”.
What do we do next?
Having great plans and lots of good intentions is only the start. We then have to think about how these plans are actually delivered. From our maps, we plan our Schemes of Learning which break down even further, for each unit of work or topic, the essential knowledge that will be needed to learn and progress successfully. We want to make sure that students avoid “cognitive overload” (too much information at once!). So therefore, we break down this knowledge and even more importantly recall “previous knowledge” which will help students to learn better in each new unit and make their own connections to past and future learning.
Our assessment is completely aligned to this curriculum planning and is both “formative” (the methods teachers use in class to evaluate a student’s learning needs and academic progress to inform planning) and “summative” (usually a graded assessment to see what a student knows at the end of a unit of work or year of work or end of course). So, we need to make sure students understand these “end points”.
We recognise that student progress is not always linear or straightforward and can vary during a programme of study.
Click here to see 3 example Schemes of Learning for Geography for Years 8, 10 and 12:
But it doesn’t just stop with separate Schemes of Learning. Within these schemes of learning could be lots of different topics or strands. And one topic could be repeated in different ways in different years. This is what we call our “accumulation of knowledge”, helping us to know and remember more as we get older.
Click here to see an example topic/strand – Urbanisation in Geography.