- The teaching of knowledge is central to our curriculum. Throughout the curriculum, both substantive knowledge (specific, factual content for the subjects) and disciplinary knowledge (knowledge of the disciplines necessary to study a subject) is specifically chosen and deliberately sequenced to ensure retention over time. The teaching of knowledge is spaced and revisited in order to have long term impact, in line with the research of Foot-Seymour and Wiseheart : ‘If the goal is for students to retain as much information as possible, teachers need to be aware of cognitive strategies like the spacing effect so they can make small changes to their teaching practice to help students become more successful.'
- The curriculum is organised to enable children to build webs of knowledge (schemas), with explicit links being drawn between new and existing knowledge .
- According to Blooms, the teaching of knowledge underpins critical thinking and a child’s ability to go deeper in their learning . When knowledge is secure and links have been made, children are encouraged to take this knowledge deeper and apply this critically in different situations. Oracy development then allows children to express their thinking and views.
Our school’s curriculum is organised in such a way as to enable children to build webs of knowledge (schemas), with explicit links being drawn between new and existing knowledge . Both substantive and disciplinary knowledge is specifically chosen and deliberately sequenced to ensure retention over time. We recognise that new learning is fragile, so our approach is both generative and ‘sticky’, enabling our pupils to make links between new and existing knowledge to aid long term retention, whilst also reducing cognitive overload. This is done through well planned curriculum mapping and sequencing, ensuring a smooth progression of knowledge from EYFS right through to Year 6, which is further adapted for our two Designated Provision classes. The teaching of knowledge is spaced and revisited in order to have long term impact, in line with the research of Foot-Seymour and Wiseheart: ‘If the goal is for students to retain as much information as possible, teachers need to be aware of cognitive strategies like the spacing effect so they can make small changes to their teaching practice to help students become more successful.’  Within lesson sequences we have embedded low stakes quizzes, our road map learning displays in class and recapping over prior learning. Key concepts are identified and progressively sequenced in planning units. Spaced repetition is mapped in to help pupils retain learning.
Within the Designated Provisions, learning is sequences so that children have access to the full curriculum, however progression maps are used to ensure that the disciplinary knowledge is chosen is at the right developmental level for the pupils in the class. Awareness of cognitive strategies is as key to the children in these classes alongside specific strategies used to address individual need.
Cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies are used by staff in delivering the curriculum, as we believe that the children need to know how best they learn in order to improve learner agency. Concepts such as cognitive load, working memory and retained knowledge are explained to the children through the teaching of the curriculum to enable children to build their understanding in this area. For our pupils to be able to achieve well, we know that staff need to promote positive attitudes and mindsets that allow children to engage with their learning and build their confidence. Throughout the curriculum, strategies are used to promote a growth mindset, develop self – efficacy and build intrinsic motivation. We consistently praise growth and willingness to take risks in their learning and support pupils to see themselves of learners with the ability to achieve and grow. The pupils’ achievements are celebrated in daily lessons and discussion of how we can develop and grow when challenges are faced is encouraged. Rosenshine’s principles relating to the aforementioned areas underpin the teaching approach used by staff. We have used his research and adapted it into a bespoke teaching approach for our school: ‘Quality First Teaching at Meadowside’. As a school with a larger than average percentage of children with SEND, we recognise the benefits these strategies have in widening access to knowledge and in promoting retention of learning for all pupils. Staff use these approaches across the curriculum, with the aim of giving each and every child the best possible start to their education.
Subject co-ordinators map out progressive curriculum coverage and year group specific long-term curriculum maps identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. Most subjects are taught discretely, but subject leads working with class teachers make meaningful links across subjects to deepen pupils’ learning. Throughout the topics, Philosophy For Children Lessons are used at the end of topics (Pariticularly in History, Geography and PSHE/RSE) that provides opportunities for pupils to apply knowledge and understanding by actively engaging in oracy based activities linked with real life issues and allowing them to build on the subject knowledge taught in these units.
We aim for our timetabling to provide equity across all subjects. Reading, Writing and Maths remain our longstanding focus, especially since the pandemic. We believe that these contain the keys to unlocking the wider curriculum and to more general prosperity in later life. However, senior leaders and teaching staff also ensure that sufficient, specific time is also allocated to foundation subjects, to allow children to experience the full breadth of the curriculum. Lesson time is organised across a two-weekly timetable for each class.
During COVID related school closures, Class Dojo was used to deliver a full curriculum. Whilst we are proud of the way teachers adapted to this method of delivery, we recognise that it wasn’t always possible for this to be done in the depth we would do in school. We are also aware that, despite our best efforts, not all children accessed the full breadth of the curriculum at this time, for various reasons. We have therefore adapted our approach for this (and subsequent) academic years, where appropriate. Any ‘perceived’ lost learning will be assessed by class teachers (using both QLA and formative assessment strategies) with subject leads advising on when, where and how these key concepts can be revisited. This will also inform interventions, and more specifically the tutoring program. Plans for these are highlighted in each curriculum policy.
 Judging the credibility of websites: an effectiveness trial of the spacing effect in the elementary classroom, Foot-Seymour and Wiseheart (2022).
 Making Kids Cleverer, David Didau
Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, BS Blooms (1965)