Our curriculum approach is to teach knowledge and skills based content through cross subject learning expeditions. Each expedition is rigorously mapped against the National Curriculum Standards and Early Years Foundation Stage framework to ensure coverage and depth. Expeditions are carefully planned and sequenced to build on prior learning and experiences thus giving the children the knowledge and self belief they need to succeed in life and become well educated citizens.
The curriculum at Norton Junior School is three dimensional In short, our students achieve academic success which is enhanced through character growth and is expressed through the beautiful work they produce.
Much of our curriculum is taught through cross curricular learning expeditions that are multi disciplinary and wide reaching in their connectivity, contextualisation and relevance.
This is evidenced through our primary trust standards map that outlines the subject specific knowledge and skills that are needed for students to access a progressively demanding curriculum thereby achieving academic success.
The sequence of our curriculum is apparent in our expedition overviews that we have for each phase on a two year cycle. These individual maps allow us to build on highly successful expeditions whilst allowing flexibility and creativity to respond to new opportunities. They also allow us to plan carefully for, and consider deeply, progression.
We formally review each expedition through our Expedition Review process. We rigorously assess the quality of provision in terms of challenge, the acquisition and progression of subject knowledge and skills, the connection of the learning to the world and the academic outcomes achieved by learners. This process allows us to iterate each learning experience by recommending changes and consolidating success.
Our children engage in learning that is made public to heighten accountability. This is manifest in the outward facing work they create which always has a public audience.
Because our children’s work is relevant, purposeful and authentic, this encourages students to craft their best work and grow their character. Our approach encourages the development of socially responsible citizens who care about each other and understand their agency for positive change in the world.
Our curriculum is designed to have a positive and enduring impact.
We deliver three phase specific Expeditions per academic year. One high energy expedition – culminating in a tangible product e.g. A video, book, signage, comic etc to celebrate learning and 2 low energy expeditions culminating in public celebrations of learning such as an assembly or workshop for parents and members of our school, trust and local community.
Each expedition follows the same format in terms of planning, execution and evaluation. Curriculum mapping, which is standards based, knowledge rich and teacher led, guides each expedition. Immersion/hooks provide a visceral experience for all learners, where they are immersed in a learning environment that will pique their thirst for the upcoming expedition. This leads into the guiding question, which will be answered by working through usually 3 case studies (subjects) and key texts as well as engaging in fieldwork, working with experts, engaging in family learning culminating in a product created by the children that is exhibited during a celebration for all to see.
Staff follow Jeff’s Law at the start of the planning process which involves one expedition leader, the communicator for the expedition, a narrative and overview of the expedition as well as the first week planned. Staff have to create the product first before they launch their expedition. Toby’s Law concludes the expedition process. There are regular check-ins and reviewing of the expedition, assessments are carried out, misconceptions are addressed, products are finished, exhibitions are completed and products curated where necessary.
Crew is a key driver within our curriculum. It links very closely to our REACH values. Crew is a planned practice that brings our school community together and promotes shared understanding. Its structure allows for relationship building, monitoring of academic progress and character development. Crew allows our children to build positive relationships with each other and their crew leader. Crew ensures our children and staff look out for one another and no one is left behind. We believe it is everybody’s job to look out for one another, especially those who need support academically or socially. Crew enables children and staff to have courageous conversations and challenge each other in a supportive way.
As a school within the XP Schools Trust, we have adapted the EL Education Core Practices to guide our own practice within our UK and school context. We believe that as our children move through their school life and into adulthood, they will be judged for the rest of their life not just by their academic performance in tests or exams, but also by the quality of their work and the quality of their character. Therefore, our vision of achievement for all our children has three dimensions: Academic Success (mastery of skills and knowledge), Beautiful Work (high quality work) and Character Development.
How this will translate into our classrooms:
|Learners||Teachers and Leaders|
|– will demonstrate proficiency and deep understanding of knowledge and skills across subjects||– will ensure that curriculum, lessons and assessments are rigorous, meaningful and aligned with standards.|
|– will apply their learning e.g. transfer knowledge and skills to meaningful tasks||– will use assessment practices that encourage children to be leaders of their own learning|
|– will think critically by analysing and evaluating ideas as well as considering other points of view||– will use meaningful data to track progress towards learning goals|
|– will communicate clearly e.g. write , speak and present ideas effectively in a variety of ways||– will engage all learners in daily lessons that require critical thinking about complex ideas, texts and problems.|
Beautiful, High Quality Work
|Learners||Teachers and Leaders|
|– will create work that demonstrates higher order thinking and transfer of understanding||– will design tasks that ask learners to apply, analyse, evaluate and create as part of their work|
|– will demonstrate craftsmanship by creating work that is accurate and beautiful in conception and execution||– will use models of excellence, critique and multiple drafts to support learners to produce work of exceptional quality|
|– will create authentic work that demonstrates original thinking and voice, connects to real world issues and where possible, create work that is meaningful to the community beyond our school||– will connect learners to the world beyond school through meaningful field work, expert collaborators, research and service learning|
|Learners||Teachers and Leaders|
|– will work to become effective learners by developing the mindsets and skills for success in the next phase of their learning/life e.g initiative, responsibility, perseverance and collaboration||– will elevate pupil voice and leadership in classrooms and across school|
|– will work to become ethical people by treating others well and standing up for what is right e.g. empathy, integrity, respect and compassion||– will make habits of working and learning(HOWLs) visible across school and in lessons|
|– will contribute to a better world by putting their learning to use to improve communities e.g. citizenship and service||– will model a school-wide culture of respect and compassion will prioritise social and emotional learning, along with academic learning across the school|