For Art, DT, Science, Geography and History we use curriculum planning and resources that have been designed within RISE Academy Trust. The curriculum was developed collaboratively, with subject leaders from the RISE Trust across coming together to logically sequence and develop materials for teacher to use in lessons. What we want to achieve within each subject is the ability for all children to not only be ready for the next stage in their education, but to have a strong academic foundation in both the substantive and disciplinary knowledge within each subject in order to excel in their continued studies.
Our curriculum is built on the premise of what foundational knowledge and skills would a person need to know in order to have the best chance at studying the subject at university. The academic rigour in the curriculum can be seen through the strong focus on rich knowledge and subject-specific vocabulary developed within and across subjects.
We also want our children to have the ability to engage in near and far transfer of knowledge within each subject, enabling them to make links and widen their understanding of each academic discipline. The design of the curriculum supports this though linear and non-linear links both within and across subjects.
The curriculum has been designed with a 'teach to the top' and scaffold down approach, in that we are ambitious for all our pupils and expect them all to access the learning, other than those with complex needs. Our curriculum is inherently challenging through its content choices, rather than an additional 'bolt on'.
Each subject is designed using the most up to date thinking and research, and is under continual development and review in order to ensure it enables pupils to learn more.
The curriculum is designed to be taught in blocks of learning, so pupils can immerse themselves in a discreet subject area for a period of time, and through the carefully mapped out long term plan of the year, revisit subjects at appropriately spaced intervals in order to retrieve prior learning and embed this in long term memory. (Research Link: Spacing - Bjork & Bjork; Forgetting Curve - Ebbinghaus)
Long term plans are in place for each subject with knowledge, skills and concepts having been mapped back from the end of KS2 down to the EYFS to ensure that progression takes place, highlighting the links between what has been previously taught, and what will be taught in future years.
The long term plan has then been broken down into units of lessons consisting of either 5, 10 or in some cases 15 lessons that are delivered sequentially. Each unit of lessons has been logically sequenced to enable children to build on knowledge in small steps both within and across lessons (Research Link: Small Steps - Rosenshine). Subject content has been specifically chosen to be meaningful for pupils, and also to provide them with a deep understanding of knowledge and concepts within each discipline.
Within the design of the curriculum, knowledge of vocabulary plays a huge part in ensuring children are able to comprehend the information given to them. Each unit of lessons highlights subject specific vocabulary that should ideally be pre-taught to pupils so they can immediately access content. This is taught alongside Tier 2 vocabulary that will also help them comprehend across the disciplines. (Research Link: Vocabulary Prioritised - Hart, Law et al; Tier 2 & 3 Vocab - Beck et al)
To assist in enabling children to remember more over time, interleaved low-stakes quizzes are used across the year to give children the opportunity to revisit key information again from content that has been taught from throughout their schooling, as we know this is one of the most effective methods of learning. The quizzes are subject specific and are made up of content that has already been taught, but not necessarily from within the current, or even previous years learning. (Research Link: Interleaving - Bjork; Quizzes - Dunlosky)
Subject knowledge is fundamental in delivery high quality teaching, and without it deep learning of content cannot occur. Each unit of lessons is underpinned by a teacher pack that outlines the minimum key knowledge that teachers must know to be able to deliver the lesson effectively. The teacher pack also outlines the sequence of lessons, key vocabulary, prior knowledge children should know (including where and when it was taught), and where the unit fits in the progression throughout the subject. (Research Link: Subject Knowledge - Great Teaching Toolkit - Coe)
Within each lesson pupils are given the opportunity to retrieve knowledge that can then be built on. The knowledge being retrieved has been carefully selected so that children can then build on that key information, and therefore not putting additional strain on cognitive load. (Research Link: Retrieval - Rosenshine; Cognitive Load Theory - Sweller)
An element of each lesson is the utilisation of overlearning through cumulative quizzing within the units. Pupils have the opportunity to overlearn key knowledge by revisiting the cumulative quiz each day and adding more questions, while continuing to answer the ones from previous days, even if they have answered they correctly before. This allows for the continued revisiting of core knowledge within the unit of lessons. (Research Link: Overlearning - Soderstrom & Bjork; Christodoulou)
Yearly overview for 2023-24 is below
The Rise EYFS Curriculum
The Rise EYFS Curriculum is ambitious. Our Early Years curriculum values and sequences powerful knowledge (Burns, 2018) in a meaningful way. This supports children to learn more and remember more over time. The curriculum is an interesting, engaging, carefully structured introduction to the world around children whilst enriching and expanding their vocabulary and spoken language.
Within the EYFS curriculum, we have thought very carefully about what we want our children to learn which is then ordered, carefully sequenced in a progressive model so that content and learning can build over time. We believe that ‘depth in early learning is much more important than covering lots of things in a superficial way.’ (Grenier, 2020) rather than jumping from disconnected topics, each part of our curriculum fits into a bigger picture of understanding. This is delivered through a holistic interwoven curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful links and learning experiences.
Our curriculum is built upon and begins with children’s experiences in their family and immediate environment, so learning is meaningful and develops from there. Through our carefully planned curriculum children are presented with opportunities to explore history and culturally based concepts that have an immediate connection to their understanding of their environment and life experiences and the world around them. By the end of their time in the EYFS, it is expected that students will, among other aspects, have developed an awareness of and respect for the lives of others in relation to their own; be beginning to comprehend comparisons of life today and life in the past; and be responsive to their local surroundings. Such understandings contribute to a student’s sense of identity, belonging and social responsibility.
Within our Early Years curriculum for ‘Understanding the World’, we have thought carefully about how our curriculum can teach foundational knowledge which will provide secure foundations and the building blocks to lead into the KS1 curriculum, equipping our children for success later in their primary education. We know that, for example, key science and historical learning does not just take place in KS1 but important underpinning knowledge and understanding takes place in the early years. We are aware of the principles of cognitive science and early childhood and brain development, therefore, throughout the curriculum there will be the opportunity for the children revisit prior knowledge and build on it, adding to their schemas and making links, before building on and introducing new concepts.
Story and high-quality texts are an integral part of our EYFS curriculum. Each of the units we teach highlight key texts, chosen for a purpose, to enhance the curriculum, bring the topics to life and inspire and engage all children. We feel that the rich language experienced in stories and key texts helps children to widen their vocabularies and learn words that are far beyond everyday spoken language.
Our approach is influenced by the work of educationalists, researchers, psychologists and practitioners who have guided our knowledge of how young children learn and how adults can support their learning. “Knowledgeable practitioners appreciate that adult-led learning offers a child something different from, but complementary to, child led learning and it is one without the other that leads to an impoverished educational experience.” Fisher, 2016.
The curriculum is underpinned by learning through play, learning by adults modelling, by observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching - a complementary relationship between adult led, adult-initiated and child led learning. This is then enhanced with suggestions for enhancements to the learning environment to offer extended opportunities for children to revisit, reflect and apply their learning.
Burns R (2018) Applying the ‘powerful knowledge’ principle to curriculum development in disadvantaged contexts . Impact 4. Available at: https://my.chartered.college/impact_article/applying - the - powerful - knowledge - principle - to - curriculum - development - in - disadvantaged - contexts (accessed 6 May 2022).
Grenier, J (2020) Working with the revised Early Years Foundation Stage: Principles into Practice
Fisher, J (2016) Interacting or Interfering? Improving interactions in the Early Years