The Ravenswood Curriculum
Using the EYFS framework (2021) and the National Curriculum as its foundations, The Ravenswood Curriculum aims to inspire in our children, a curiosity and fascination about the world in which they live, experiences to make sense of it and the confidence to make judgements about what they see. It provokes questions and provides answers whilst promoting children’s interest, understanding and imagination.
Through their time with us here at Ravenswood, we aim to equip pupils with the skills that will give them the confidence and resilience to shape their own path through life and ensure they leave us knowing just how important relationships are in promoting success.
The Ravenswood Curriculum is rooted in four key principles:
- Broad and balanced curriculum: We want our curriculum to be engaging and challenging, one that promotes excitement and interest and also supports children in becoming well-rounded, informed individuals. The Ravenswood Curriculum is therefore broad and balanced, with subjects taught discretely each week. This enables each child to not only make good progress and achieve well across the curriculum but also experience the skills, knowledge and understanding each subject has to offer. We pride ourselves on the fact that we take time to find out which areas of the National Curriculum enthuse each child. An amazing artist, a fantastic footballer, a skilled scientist, all get to celebrate their ability and build their academic confidence, which is then transferred to the whole curriculum. Like all primary educators, another focus is to ensure our children are literate and numerate and to develop their spoken communication skills. There are dedicated lessons in Maths and English each day. Teachers then reinforce Maths and English skills through purposeful application across the curriculum as we know some children demonstrate these skills best when applying them in the foundation subjects. These could be a cross-curricular writing task, measuring pulse rates in P.E, producing a film trailer or presenting new learning and reporting results in science.
- Knowledge Rich: Our aim is to ensure that our children have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of substantive knowledge (specific facts) and disciplinary knowledge (knowing how). For each subject, there is a clear sequence of learning which identifies the key knowledge, skills and vocabulary that should be acquired at each stage of a child’s journey through the school. The curriculum provides children with time to acquire knowledge before building on said knowledge, embedding their learning and making links between one piece of knowledge and the next. Where appropriate, and to further strengthen understanding, these links are made across the curriculum. We aim to ensure that key knowledge is accessible to all children but not so prescriptive that other aspects of a subject cannot be included. For example, mummification is not included in our key learning for the study of ‘Ancient Egypt’ but we would be denying the children an exciting part of Ancient Egyptian history if we did not teach it.
- Learning through Experiences: At Ravenswood, we ensure learning is enriched with practical activities and experiences both within and beyond the classroom. Through this, we enable children to discuss and share their ideas, develop important skills, and make their understanding of concepts as concrete as possible. Where possible, to ensure we expose our pupils to the range of possibilities beyond their school experiences, links with higher education or employment are included. An example of this is making use of a website in science which shows real scientists using the skills that are being taught in a particular topic. Through external providers, visitors into school and trips out of school, as well as a wealth of extra-curricular activities and clubs, Ravenswood ensures our curriculum comes to life.
- Developing the Whole Child: Sitting alongside our other principles is the recognition that an education should not be constrained to academics alone. With this in mind, we aim to ensure our pupils leave Ravenswood having also fulfilled their potential socially and emotionally. The Ravenswood Curriculum helps our children to believe in their own abilities and know what they can achieve through perseverance and effort. We encourage our children to be motivated about their learning every day, to become self-confident and resilient individuals who learn from their mistakes and who are aspirational for their futures. Alongside this, we work hard to foster in our children mutual tolerance, empathy, compassion and respect. We teach them the importance of valuing diversity and individuality.
How our curriculum is implemented
We understand the importance of ‘sticky knowledge’ and therefore the teaching of our curriculum is underpinned by our growing understanding of cognitive science; learning is a change to long term memory. Embedded in our teaching and learning are Rosenshine’s ‘Principles of Instruction’ which support children’s acquisition, retrieval and storage of knowledge to their long-term memory. Spiral sequences of learning for each subject allow staff to revisit key knowledge and concepts within a set of lessons, across topics and across year groups.
Most lessons begin with a review of prior learning. Work is presented in small teaching steps to support the acquisition of new subject knowledge and its transference to long-term memory. Opportunities for modelling and scaffolding are built into lessons to support all learners. Skilled questioning is a key feature of every lesson to support retrieval, assessment, and next steps. Teachers carefully consider how the tasks they ask the children to complete support knowledge acquisition and its application and retrieval. Weekly and monthly reviews are also used to ensure that knowledge and vocabulary are embedded.
We recognise that children do not all learn in the same way or at the same speed but we have ambitious end points for all children regardless of their starting points. Teachers use their creativity to maximise opportunities for learning in different ways. Lessons are adapted, where necessary, to meet the needs of all children. Examples are plentiful, but will include: the level of support given in the lesson; the level of written response that is expected; pre-teaching where children are exposed to the vocabulary that will be used in the coming lesson; post-learning support where misconceptions are addressed prior to the next lesson; visual scaffolds. Staff CPD is used to keep abreast of new developments to support children’s learning and as our curriculum develops, we will consider and review the most effective ways to design our teaching programmes to ensure knowledge is built on and retained.
The impact of our curriculum
Our teachers regularly assess what students know and can do so that we can measure the impact of our intended curriculum aims and identify any plans needed to close gaps. Learners develop knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, progress well. Where relevant, this is reflected in results from national tests and examinations that meet and often exceed government expectations.
Formative assessment allows teachers to check for understanding within lessons and check the retention of knowledge across a series of lessons. We know that learning is a change to long-term memory, and therefore at Ravenswood, we look for sustained learning over the longer term. Leaders understand the limitations of summative assessment, so this is used to support teacher assessments made through regular formative assessment. It is not used in a way that creates unnecessary burdens for staff or learners.
Members of the Senior Leadership Team, subject leaders, teachers, and governors carry out regular evaluation of the curriculum to further support learning.
Examples of impact monitoring can include:
- Lesson observations and learning walks
- Learning Journal observations e.g. Seesaw and Tapestry
- Moderating work within school (and across the OLT)
- Book scrutiny
- Big books
- Pupil voice
- Rosenshine tasks e.g. daily, weekly and monthly reviews
- Link Governor committee meetings and visits
- Subject leader reports at Governing Body committee meetings
- Teacher CPD
- Evaluations of the school development plans with subject leaders.
- Participation in extra- curricular clubs and activities, competitions and festivals