7 Curriculum Principles
At Beacon Hill Academy, we recognise that improving educational outcomes is the biggest way we can positively impact our learners’ futures. We take the term ‘educational’ in its most broad sense: this means more than just a set of results. It includes a child’s intellectual, social, moral, cultural and personal development.
The key to achieving this vision is in the way that teachers develop the curriculum, and the way learners experience it. We want a curriculum that is designed effectively and implemented, that is true to subjects’ core content and concepts, develops a love of lifelong learning, and creates high quality work, expertise, fascination, and wonder.
At Beacon Hill our curriculum is development around the 7 Key Principles.
Broad & Balanced
All subjects should ensure they cover content that is broad and balance, to ensure breadth and depth of their subjects. Across our curriculum different subjects promote a range of intellectual, moral, spiritual, creative, emotional, and physical development. The traditional disciplines of language, arts, mathematics, science, history, geography all figure strongly in the school curriculum, but the subjects that are sometimes called the creative arts, dance, drama, music, art are just as important and help develop well rounded learners. At Beacon Hill Academy we offer 26 Key Stage 4 subjects.
Focused (Substantive Knowledge)
Each subject ensures that the Curriculum is focused on key concepts and ‘Big Ideas’ that seek to keep the curriculum manageable by teaching the most important knowledge. The big ideas or key concepts within a subject are identified by our subject experts and across the Trust (Team Curriculum Leads). Such a set of big ideas enables teachers and learners to see the connectedness of the whole curriculum.
Rigorous (Explicit Instructions)
All subjects seek to develop deep knowledge and understanding as well as disciplinary habits. They hope to engage learners in powerful ways of thinking that are developed through sustained engagement with the subjects. Subject content is chosen deliberately to ensure that learners have a deep understanding of key concepts, knowledge and skills required in each subject. The SMART curriculum is broken down into small ‘chunks’ or learning where staff use the model of explicit instructions to impart with new knowledge.
Coherent (linked and connected)
For learners to know more and remember more and be able to do more, the curriculum across subjects makes explicit connections and links between the different topics studied both within the subjects and across other curriculum areas. For the educational experience of learners to be meaningful, it is necessary to ensure that what they experience in the different activities/experiences across the curriculum are linked and connected. This is important because unless explicit connections are made between the different experiences, they are likely to see them as unconnected.
Progression and Sequence
The key to learners being able to develop their understanding, remember more and know more and do more is to ensure that knowledge taught at one point in time builds on materials taught earlier, and feeds in to what is to be taught later. Each curriculum areas have learning journeys that are shared during lessons. Every curriculum area has a clear model of what it is that learners need to do to get better or increase their knowledge and skills within each subject area.
All learners in KS3 reading ages are assessed termly to assist with setting and to provide teachers with additional information to inform their planning. At Beacon Hill staff use this information to provide an appropriate level of challenge for learners while also taking into account what is known about the way in which learners learn, so as to avoid making unreasonable demands on them. This allows teachers to be able to scaffold and stretch learners appropriately.
Relevant and Engaging
All subjects seek to connect learners through relevant and engaging materials. Our curriculum helps to develop links between school and the world of work. This is done through examples of real-life situations, or through visits and speakers that enrich the substantive knowledge. By doing so learners can foster a love of learning and provides opportunities for learners to make informed choices.