Our Curriculum Principles

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Trust Curriculum Statement

We are fully committed to providing a broad, balanced, inspiring, challenging curriculum for all our students, which equips them with high quality, relevant qualifications, skills, qualities and attributes to give choices, a sense of ambition and enables them to make positive contributions as 21st century global citizens to local and national communities.

Introduction 

We see the curriculum as something that embraces almost everything that a child does at an academy. It is a set of skills, knowledge, understanding and experiences with the thread of co-operative values and principles running through it. It is the mechanism through which children journey towards a better understanding of themselves and the role they can and will play in their community and society. We hope that it encourages children to be ambitious and ambassadors of a co-operative way of life.

Achieving the highest possible standards is important, whether this is in the respect and tolerance they show to each other and society in general, or in their studies and the contribution they make to academy life. We want our children to work hard, show resilience and be ready and skilled to manage whatever the world throws at them. Doing as well as they possibly can in examinations and assessments is important and we take their attainment seriously to make it as good as it can be. We know that functional skills such as reading, writing, oracy and numeracy are vitally important, and are an entitlement regardless of the child’s age, but we are also clear that examination and assessment outcomes alone are by no means enough. We are committed to ensuring all of the talents and skills they have are developed to the full.  We want the curriculum to be broad and balanced covering a wide range of skills that are both academic and vocational reflecting the opportunity and need of the local community. In the end our curriculum will prepare our pupils for future challenges locally, nationally and globally so they can maximise their talent and have successful and enjoyable careers in any profession and vocational careers through academic success and also through apprenticeships.

When a child leaves one of our academies they will know how to keep themselves safe and healthy. They will have a broad experience that includes academic, sporting/physical activity, dramatic, artistic, musical, vocational and, most importantly, personal growth opportunities. Our academies will provide time for students to learn and enjoy their studies before and after the school day. We know that this can play a crucial role in keeping their interest and excitement. This is particularly important for some of our most vulnerable children. To monitor those attending the wide range of enrichment activities on offer is crucial especially for the most vulnerable students ensuring pupil engagement in academy life. The enrichment activities will offer both academic intervention and support, recreation and a real breadth of opportunity for all pupils to have the chance to experience.

A curriculum needs to reflect the needs of the local community and that individual context but also meet the demands of the national and global agenda. We want all pupils to be successful with the opportunity of a broad range of different areas to develop their talent and ability within academic and vocational leading to professional careers through university, apprenticeships and employment routes.

We expect our young people to be community minded with a willingness to get involved and volunteer, ready for the next stages of their journey. We want them to be able to draw on a deep understanding of co-operative values and the Ways of Being Co-op to help them. They will be tolerant of others and willing to listen and appreciate the views and lifestyles that others may follow.

We acknowledge the significant role parents and carers play in our children’s development. Our academies play a crucial part in helping the child decide what they want to do with their life. We do all we can to support parents and carers so that their children have every chance to succeed in any career they want to explore. Every child is of equal value and we will always work tirelessly to support their individual needs.

We expect the curriculum at our academies to be enjoyable, rich, varied, exciting, relevant and often challenging, but above all, enormously rewarding. We know that many of our children face significant challenges but this won’t stop us giving them a top class education leading to top class outcomes.

Core Values – underpinning the way we work

Self-help – helping themselves to improve and make a positive contribution to society

Self-responsibility – taking responsibility for, and answer to their actions

Democracy – through having a say in how we run our Trust and the academies

Equality – making sure the voice of each individual can be heard

Equity – a fair and unbiased community

Solidarity – sharing interests and common purposes for the benefit of all 

The Trust, including each academy and its governing body, is expected to work to the co-operative ethical values of:

Openness – We believe in being open, sharing information and ideas to improve the lives of children and young people

Honesty – We are professional and respectful manner with everyone

Social responsibility – we maximise our impact on those in our communities while minimising our footprint on the world

Caring for others – we treat everyone as we wish to be treated ourselves, understanding that children and young people have one childhood

Everyone in the Trust is expected to honour the fundamental commitment to the values and principles above plus our Ways of Being Co-op. All of our academies include the word ‘Co-op’ in their name. We ask all staff to include aspects of the Ways of Being Co-op in the performance management process.

Ways of Being Co-op

Be yourself, always

Do what matters most

Show you care

Succeed together

Curriculum offer

Informed by our own Trust’s values, our curriculum offer is clear in its mission to ensure that our young people are equipped with the following employability skills, attributes and qualities:

  • Self-Management – Readiness to accept responsibility, flexibility, resilience, self-starting, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve our performance based on feedback/reflective learning.
  • Team working – Respecting others, co-operating, negotiating/persuading, contributing to discussions and awareness of interdependence with others.
  • Challenge and problem solving – Embracing challenge and being resilient, learning from mistakes; the career path chosen is one that reflects ambition and is appropriate for the individual, analysing facts and solutions and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions. 
  • Literacy and communication – Application of literacy is crucial, especially reading, across all our academies and is embedded in the culture e.g. with all primaries studying an outstanding phonics programme with the ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy, including listening and questioning. Any catch up premium to be reading, literacy and numeracy based with all academies having a clear reading strategy is a number one priority. To monitor reading ages after a break in education in Secondary academies is crucial eg summer holiday six weeks is heavily correlated with a pupil’s overall success academically.
  • Application of numeracy – Manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts for example: measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulas. 
  • Application of information technology – Basic IT skills, including familiarity with Microsoft Word/Google Docs, processing, spreadsheets, file management and use of internet search engines for all our pupils, and for those students who are able to be developed further, to learn skills such as coding and programming. A key area for home-learning and we want as many students as possible to have ICT connectivity so a device with internet capability and access to the learning opportunities this gives.The academies will help with resources to enable this experience to happen for our pupils where possible. Blended learning whether at home or in the academy is a key skill needed to be taught to our pupils. This concept of independent learning with resilience is key for the future and a characteristic of blended learning that must be integrated to become a regular weekly habit.
  • Intervention is targeted, through outstanding data and assessment for learning practice with excellent individual knowledge about the students for maximum impact. The focus first on reading, literacy and numeracy outlined above and even more important due to the Coronavirus that will really “go for it” and try our very best for our pupils to address the learning gap. Research from the Education Endowment Fund and Sutton Trust direct us to the best types of intervention with a mix of academic activities, raising aspirations and raising confidence and self-esteem by making education experience enjoyable. Ensuring attendance to school by our pupils needs to strive for outstanding percentages.

Effectiveness

In order that our students have embedded lifelong learning habits, we place a sharp focus on actively teaching study and independent skills so that all students can be effective in their learning journey.

Structure of the Curriculum

We will continue to develop a central Co-op PSHE Curriculum for Primary and Secondary, with our core values right in the heart of this new project. We through our central SLT, Directors of subjects and Specialist Leaders of Education look to develop the curriculum in all our academies and subjects to produce a Co-op curriculum. It will be made available to our academies who can utilise it however they wish and should – if an academy feels it can adapt and improve the curriculum. Therefore it is each academy’s responsibility to develop their curriculum and the framework in terms of delivery of that curriculum. This will always be the expectation of the academy for which the Trust will continue to help, support and challenge ensuring the highest of expectations and standards at all times. The list below is what we strongly advise each academy to consider in the development of its curriculum and the framework in terms of delivery:

  • That all academies should ensure full coverage of the national curriculum, as a minimum.
  • That we encourage and promote those students who can and have the ability to follow and complete the English Baccalaureate subjects to the end of the duration of the course.
  • The key stage three curriculum should cover three years from Year 7 to Year 9 and GCSEs should start in Year 10 for all students unless there is an exceptional circumstance, locality rationalised, reason for maintaining a three year Key Stage 4.
  • Reading is a major and key focus with all academies and has the highest of profiles, with time allocated to ensure all students have every opportunity to develop this key skill.
  • As above Reading recovery programmes utilised where there is a long break in education for that student.
  • That the timetable is set up to give every opportunity for a broad and balanced curriculum giving a sufficient amount of lesson time in comparison to all other schools locally and nationally.  Ensuring that there is enough time given to the core subjects and skills but also allows enough time for all other areas. Ensuring the teaching timetable is sensitive to staff workload and conditions in achieving a sensible work-life balance but in comparison to other schools nationally the amount of lesson time on a weekly basis allows for the curriculum to be studied in depth.
  • We offer rich, varied and positive enrichment activities in all academies and where appropriate the very best of intervention strategies geared and targeted to have a real impact on pupil progress.
  • It is crucial that any curriculum development fully embeds at every opportunity the Black Lives matter agenda and  in line with the fully inclusive nature of our academies and Co-op values. So every opportunity is maximised to develop the understanding of equality and diversity in the full range of subjects, PSHE and enrichment activities. Then in the delivery of the curriculum through the teaching and learning we adapt our approach to reflect the best practice equality for all our pupils. We celebrate cultural diversity within our academies and communities at every opportunity with a range of enrichment events ensuring our students become the very best informed global citizens. We want our curriculum to be inclusive in its nature, preparing students to be excellent global ambassadors of the 21st century.
  • We are faith neutral as a Trust but we teach our students to appreciate and understand all faiths and the richness this gives a community.

Where possible enrich the curriculum with educational trips and off-site activities to further develop engagement, interest and practical areas of the topic covering.

Principles of instruction

Research-Based strategies that all teachers should know. Within this section there will be ten research-based principles of instructions and suggestions for classroom practice. These principles come from three sources:

a) research on how the brain acquires and uses new information;
b)research on classroom practices of those teachers whose students show the highest gains; and
c) findings from studies that taught learning strategies to students.

The following is a list of some of the instructional procedures that have come from these three sources:

  • Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning.
  • Present new material in small steps with student practice after each step.
  • Limit the amount of material students receive at one time.
  • Give clear and detailed instructions and explanations.
  • Ask a large number of questions and check for understanding.
  • Provide a high level of active practice for all students.
  • Guide students as they begin to practice.
  • Think aloud and model steps.
  • Provide models of worked-out problems.
  • Ask students to explain what they had learned.
  • Check the responses of all students.
  • Provide systematic feedback and corrections.
  • Use more time to provide explanations.
  • Provide many examples.
  • Re-teach material when necessary.
  • Prepare students for independent practice.
  • Monitor students when they begin independent practice

The principles come through three different sources, the instructional procedures that are taken from one source do not conflict with the instructional procedures that are taken from another source. Instead, the ideas from each of the sources overlap and add to each other. The overlap gives us faith that we are developing a valid and research-based understanding of the art of teaching. The ten principles of instruction:

  • Daily Review: Daily review can strengthen previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
  • Present new material using small steps: Only present small amounts of new material at any time, and then assist students as they practise this material.
  • Ask questions: Questions help students practise new information and connect new material to their prior learning.
  • Provide models: Providing students with models and worked examples can help students learn to solve problems faster.
  • Guide student practice: Successful teachers spent more time guiding the students practice of new material.
  • Check for student understanding: Checking for student understanding at each point can help students learn the material with fewer errors.
  • Obtain a high success rate: It is important for students to achieve a high success rate during classroom instruction.
  • Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks: The teacher provides students with temporary supports and scaffolds to assist them when they learn difficult tasks.
  • Independent practice: Provide for successful independent practice.
  • Weekly and monthly review: Students need to be involved in extensive practice in order to develop well-connected and automatic knowledge.

Conclusion

This document has the sole purpose to act as an expectation for all academies in our Trust as they develop and implement their curriculum within the academy framework.

Sources

The diagrams are taken from Coop Academy Failsworth Curriculum vision, implement and intent document produced by Rebecca Shaw, Vice Principal.
Within the Teaching and Learning section the extract is taken from Barak Rosenshine Principles of Instruction article written in Spring 2012. He is an emeritus professor of educational psychology in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.