WAT Moral Purpose
‘To unlock the academic and personal potential of all our learners’
Our Aspire Curriculum Vision
Pupils’ curriculum experiences will be exceptional and memorable. They will explore and understand the world from their classroom and beyond. Our young people will have the knowledge, skills and attributes to be successful and aspirational learners. Our ambitious curriculum will help them to gain an advantage, so that they can make most of their next journey in education and in life.
Our Aspire 2020 Curriculum Journey
WAT’s Aspire Curriculum has been in place for several years.
In the spring and summer term 2019 leaders and staff across our WAT family worked in close collaboration
to review the impact of our Aspire curriculum and plan to make it even better. Consequently,
we have two clear phases to developing our curriculum, so that it can be truly exceptional for our young people:
How is the Aspire curriculum designed?
All leaders and staff have worked together to refine the Aspire long-term curriculum map (shown below).
The Aspire curriculum has different themes across the academic year. Each theme has a lead subject with other subject foci within the same theme. Other subject links are only made where the subject content is not diluted. We took the decision for the following subjects to be taught discretely: Mathematics, aspects of English, Science, RE, PSHE, MFL and Computing.
The aim of the lead subject theme is to deeply immerse pupils in subject content so that key knowledge sticks in their long-term memory. As each term progresses key knowledge and skills will be re-visited. While the autumn term lead subject is history, key geography knowledge and skills will be introduced, so that pupils go into the spring term theme with some foundational knowledge. Consideration has been given to progression from theme to theme and within themes. This is also something that will be further developed in phase 2 of our 2020 Aspire programme.
In the spring and summer term of 2019, all leaders and staff across the trust worked collaboratively to re-design the medium term plans for the autumn term. Our medium terms plans use the NC aims and programmes of study to guide the learning and define end points. However, we also seek to extend and enrich the curriculum to meet local context or to excite and challenge our young people.
The medium term plans have set out the end-point knowledge required for each theme. This is depicted by the NC and also the key knowledge and skills that staff have planned for each year group. Consideration has been given to the order of when content is taught, so that there is progression in the planning.
Structure of medium term planning:
While the themes have trust-wide medium terms plans, it is currently schools’ responsibility to ensure effective curriculum planning is in place for subjects taught discretely.
Other trust-wide medium term plans have been produced for art and music (by our music and art specialist Lead Practitioners) aligned to the Aspire curriculum. Examples are shown here:
Our Knowledge Organisers
‘The real power of knowledge organisers is that they make us think hard about what we are going to teach.’
Mary Myatt, The Curriculum: Gallimaufry to Coherence)
Staff and leaders have worked collaboratively to produce knowledge organisers for the Aspire themes. They give the ‘bigger picture’ of the how key knowledge links together. They make knowledge and language explicit, supporting implementation and assessment.
How will the curriculum vision be implemented?
Our curriculum intent will be implemented through ‘engaging, enthusing and inspiring every lesson, every day.’ Our WAT teaching and learning cycle, through which our ten teaching and learning principles are embedded, ensures that the curriculum is delivered effectively so that all students make progress regardless of background and ability.
How does the teaching of English fit with the Aspire Curriculum?
We have been clear that writing across the curriculum is vital - writing opportunities must be exploited within the themes. Our Lead Practitioners (LPs) for English have also matched fiction and non-fiction novels alongside themes so that the curriculum can be connected to the teaching of reading. During the summer term, all leaders and staff received CPL (continued professional learning) on the importance of the different tiers of vocabulary. Medium terms plans and knowledge organisers now explicitly plan for and teach tier 3 subject-specific vocabulary.
How do our Aspire learning behaviours fit into our curriculum?
Our Aspire curriculum vision can only be realised if it is well taught and if the pupils have the right learning behaviours to be successful. Curriculum activities and experiences should seek to exploit the Aspire behaviours, so that pupils build an understanding of how to be a successful learner in a wide range of subjects. For example, we want our young people to be imaginative when creating historical questions or developing their own piece of art. Equally, we want them to be resilient and bounce back when a science investigation doesn’t go as planned or when they find a partner balance challenging in PE.
These behaviours will not only help our young people to tackle ambitious subject content, but they will also help shape them as human beings.
Our Aspire Curriculum Display
Purpose: To inspire pupils and support their learning across the theme
The Aspire display may have:
- Key questions
- Subject specifically vocabulary, which could be added to over time
- Key knowledge that needs to stick
- The journey of the theme as it progresses
- High-quality examples of pupils’ Aspire work
- Subject specific resources, e.g. maps, artefacts
- Subject text examples, e.g. non-fiction texts
Our approaches to assessing reading, writing and mathematics are robust, established and clear. We use mixture of summative tests and teacher assessment to make accurate judgements of how well pupils are doing and where they need further support.
The new Education Inspection Framework (EIF 2019) makes it clear that assessment should support the teaching of the curriculum but not increase teacher workload. The handbook goes on to say that inspectors will evaluate whether collections of progress and attainment data are proportionate and sustainable.
Consequently, we must be proportionate about assessment in science and the foundation subjects (particularly in a primary school where teachers have multiple subjects). We will fully review this area during phase 2 of our journey to ensure that assessment is manageable and highly effective. For example, we will explore whether some foundation subjects could have comparative judgment in the same way that writing does.
In the meantime, our assessment in the Aspire curriculum needs to be simplistic and focus on impact. As we implement our intended curriculum, look at how well pupils ‘know more and remembering more’. Use learning checks in lessons, the evaluation of pupils’ books during and after lessons, or any low stakes quizzes (or other checks) to see if learning has ‘stuck’ for pupils. If it hasn’t and there are areas of weakness, then consider staying on a particular area longer or revisiting through a smart start. Be flexible and adaptable to ensure that pupils can successfully learn our intended curriculum.