At Southwick, our curriculum is carefully designed to meet the needs of all children. We want our pupils to achieve well and gain a life-long love of learning. We strive to give children the knowledge and skills to move forward in their education and become active members of their community in preparation for adulthood.
Our curriculum is based upon cognitive principals and educational research and we have adopted an Essential Curriculum (Chris Quigley), which we adapt to offer joined up learning opportunities for the whole school.
There are three elements to the Essentials Curriculum:
Thresholds concepts – These are the ‘big ideas’ that shape pupils’ thinking within each subject. The same threshold concepts will be explored in every year group and children will gradually increase their understanding of them. An important principle, therefore, is that exploring concepts will never be complete; pupils will continue to explore them for as long as they continue to study the subject.
Breadth of contexts – Breadth provides the contexts for exploring the threshold concepts. It has two Roles:
- Knowledge* Concepts need knowledge to make sense. Contexts give children subject specific knowledge with which to think about concepts. The more knowledge pupils have, the better their understanding of the concepts becomes. Another benefit of knowledge is that it helps reading comprehension. A pupil with a greater knowledge of the world will infer more from a text, than a pupil with little knowledge, no matter how good his or her decoding skills may be.
- Transference* Exploring concepts in a variety of contexts allows children to transfer their knowledge and skills to different ideas and situations, strengthening their understanding. The breadth of our curriculum gives all pupils the opportunity to explore threshold concepts through a range of contexts.
Milestones for Progress;
As the exploration of threshold concepts are repeated in each year group it is important that pupils progress in their understanding of them. Their progression throughout the curriculum is set out in the form of Milestones.
Each Milestone contains a range of descriptors which give more detail to be discovered within concepts. Over a two year period students will become more familiar with these details by exploring them in a breadth of contexts.
Children first develop a Basic knowledge of a concept before Advancing their understanding through more exploration of a concept. Then through application in a breadth of contexts they will reach a Greater Depth of learning.