Our Character Curriculum: An Introduction

Research shows that countries with a knowledge-based curriculum tend to do better.  With this in mind, we have designed a curriculum that reflects our vision of growth but also ensures that children learn content that is to be remembered.  This does not mean learning endless lists of facts, instead, children learn the discipline and rigor of academic subjects.  It means learning the knowledge of how to behave in a subject and developing a deeper understanding of the 'big ideas' or concepts as well as the given facts.  We balance this by teaching character so that children become fully-rounded individuals who have something genuine to offer our great country in the future and indeed now.
 
When the fledgling church was being formed, Saint Peter wrote his second epistle and he said, "Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  We have taken this as our motto for the school and its new vision.  We believe that children can develop both in knowing more things as well as developing their character in our Christian setting. 
We believe our curriculum has the power to deliver these ambitious aims of developing character as well as developing a deeper understanding of 'culturally-rich' knowledge that children need to acquire in order to be successful in life.
 
Some subjects can be taught in a thematic way; however, we recognise that some subjects need to be taught in isolation.  The diagram below sets out how subjects are organised to make up our curriculum.
 
What happens in a Learning Expedition?
 
The diagram below sets out what happens during a Learning Expedition.  The thematic study usually lasts no longer than a term but sometimes can finish earlier so teachers can complete assessment activities and measure the impact of teaching.
Our chosen approach to Curriculum is a knowledge-rich one that is sequenced with an intention to build on concepts learned in previous years so that chldren get a chance to grow their understanding deeply.  As we are a small school, our learning is organised into three phases and on a rolling programme. This enables us to build an age-appropriate curriculum with concepts that are revisited throughout. 
What are the Learning Expeditions themed around?
 
Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum for England (2014) and this provides contexts for studying the concepts outlined above.  
How we implement this
 
We teach 80% of the time the National Curriculum to ensure progress is being made and teachers design the delivery of this through a relevant, engaging character-developing topic. The other 20% of the time takes advantage of our beautiful surroundings and explores the rural aspects and outdoor learning all year-round. We also take mental health very seriously and we are using 2020/21 to trial parts of the Relationships and Health Education Framework with a view to having it fully embedded by Summer 2021.



How do we measure impact?
 
Below are some ways in which we find out which content has been remembered after teaching is complete.  During teaching, our teachers use the new feedback and marking policy to adjust the programme of teaching as they go to ensure progress is made.
If you wish to find out more about our subjects that make up the learning expeditions, then these pages may be of interest to you:
 
For subjects that are taught in isolation (not linked together) then you may be interested in these:
 
Our new subject this year is Wellbeing and this incorporates learning integrated into learning expeditions as well as Collective Worship.
Parents Guide to the National Curriculum
 
If you wish to find out more about the National Curriculum, there is a guide below.