How we achieve the best in everyone
Our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life.
Our curriculum is designed to provide children with the core knowledge they need for success in education and later life, to maximise their cognitive development, to develop the whole person and the talents of the individual and to allow all children to become active and economically self-sufficient citizens.
By teaching our curriculum well we develop pupils’ cultural capital: “the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.” (DFE National Curriculum, 2014)
We draw on Michael Young’s distinction between ‘the knowledge of the powerful’ and ‘powerful knowledge’: “Powerful knowledge ensures that people are not trapped by the limits of their experiences.” Yet we also want all pupils to be able to see themselves in our curriculum. Our recent review into the Diversity and Inclusion of our curriculum included a commitment to this dual function of curriculum: that all pupils see themselves in our curriculum, and our curriculum takes all pupils beyond their immediate experience. This, and the other guiding principles for our curriculum, are stated here:
- Entitlement: All pupils have the right to learn what is in the United Learning curriculum, and schools have a duty to ensure that all pupils are taught the whole of it.
- Coherence: Taking the National Curriculum as its starting point, our curriculum is carefully sequenced so that powerful knowledge builds term by term and year by year. We make meaningful connections within subjects and between subjects.
- Mastery: We ensure that foundational knowledge, skills, and concepts are secure before moving on. Pupils revisit prior learning and apply their understanding in new contexts.
- Adaptability: The core content – the ‘what’ – of the curriculum is stable, but schools will bring it to life in their own local context, and teachers will adapt lessons – the ‘how’ – to meet the needs of their own classes.
- Representation: All pupils see themselves in our curriculum, and our curriculum takes all pupils beyond their immediate experience.
- Education with character: Our curriculum – which includes the taught subject timetable as well as spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development, our co-curricular provision, and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – is intended to spark curiosity and to nourish both the head and the heart.