Learning Challenge Curriculum

The focus on the quality of education remains Ofsted’s priority when judging if a school is still at least good. If we, as a school, wish to secure a strong ‘good’ outcome then we have to appreciate the interrelationship between the curriculum intent, implementation, and impact. The updated learning challenge curriculum, therefore, puts greater emphasis on what pupils need to know and remember by the end of each phase of education. In making these revisions LCC wanted to consider what knowledge was important for pupils to know and remember before they left each of the key stages.

Naturally, the national curriculum does provide guidance. However, the national curriculum should form only a part of the whole curriculum. LCC have attempted to take account of, amongst other aspects, locality, and pupils’ cultural capital. To this end, our locality will focus heavily on the history and geography curricula. A narrative for each subject has been created with knowledge being built on progressively as pupils move through the school. This knowledge needs to take account of ‘disciplinary knowledge’ as well as ‘substantive knowledge’ so that pupils are supported not just to ‘know and remember’ but also ‘to do.’

Where possible, LCC have also considered interleaving opportunities, with subjects like history and geography being sequenced so that pupils can build on prior learning. For example, pupils studying ancient Egypt in Year 4 history could then follow on to look at deserts, including modern Egypt, in Year 5. This cannot be achieved throughout the whole curriculum, but LCC have attempted to look for opportunities across all subjects nonetheless, especially interleaving art and design technology with science, history, and geography.

A focus on pedagogical principles is at the heart of the learning challenge curriculum’s implementation. They have ensured that the time spent on the intent considers the delivery. Ongoing research into aspects such as ‘cognitive load’ and ‘metacognition’ have been  given this full consideration when it comes to the implementation.


Prior Knowledge

For example, each unit of learning starts with igniting pupils’ prior knowledge. This is identified as the ‘link it’ stage, where pupils are prompted to consider links within the subject, links to other subjects, or links to themselves. Enough is now known about cognitive load to recognise the potential benefits this has on long-term retention. Once established, we move to the ‘learn it’ stage where the composite learning is broken into manageable components, which includes the introduction of new and relevant vocabulary. Importantly, having taken time to ensure ‘what’ pupils should learn and remember, equal consideration is given to ‘how’ pupils will know and remember key knowledge.

Learn it!

During the ‘learn it’ phase, there are built-in checkpoints - the ‘check in’ phase. This helps pupils and staff review the learning to date within each unit. It also allows opportunities for staff to recognise gaps in pupils’ knowledge and to enable them to do something about them. In this way rapid intervention is available at timely stages through the ‘learn it’ stage, thereby avoiding the issue of pupils falling behind.

Show it!

At the end of a sequence of learning, LCC have created a ‘show it’ phase which is beneficial in enabling pupils to showcase their learning. This can be achieved at an individual or group level. The aim is to get pupils to present an aspect of their learning to the rest of the class. In this way, it is supporting their cultural capital by providing opportunities for pupils to present information to others. The ‘show it’ phase could be in the form of a power point presentation or even a short, filmed presentation. Importantly, there is an encouragement for pupils to come up with innovative ideas.

Know it!

Finally, we have the ‘know it’ phase which effectively checks if the learning has stuck. This would normally be after the unit of learning has been concluded and could be later, or even much later, in the school year. There are several ways in which ‘retrieval tasks’ can be implemented particularly with short activities which aim to engage pupils immediately. The diagram below helps to explain the distinct phases that have been outlined.

A diagram of a checklist

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Basically, the changes make the learning challenge curriculum more cohesive and gives greater consideration to ‘how’ it will be delivered. LCC have ensured that the link between the curriculum intent and implementation is much stronger. Evidence that the curriculum is having the desired impact on pupils’ knowledge and achievements is built in. This is done by heightening the expectations of what should be seen in pupils’ books and then having discussions with pupils themselves. By following the structure outlined in the learning challenge curriculum, our pupils’ books will provide compelling evidence that the quality of education is strong in our school.

© Copyright 2017–2024 Kingsteignton School

School & College Websites by Schudio