All schools within the Connect Education Trust have developed a curriculum based on the following aims and principles. Whilst all of the schools work closely together on curriculum design there are some characteristics which are unique to each school and the communities they serve.
Our curriculum aims to create remarkable futures for all our pupils by ensuring each child becomes:
- A successful learner who enjoys learning, makes good progress, achieves well and has a clear understanding of how learning happens.
- A confident individual with a body of knowledge which enables them to live a safe, healthy and fulfilling life.
- A responsible, respectful and active citizen who is emphatic and has the strength of character to contribute positively to society.
Each school aims to drive social mobility and improve life chances, especially for the most vulnerable. Strong progress and attainment across the curriculum increases the future choices and opportunities available to all pupils, empowering them to have remarkable futures.
A quality curriculum considers what knowledge is needed, what is taught, how it is taught and how it is assessed to ensure that pupils have learned it. Through excellent subject leadership, careful discussion and supported planning and professional development, all teachers will know the curriculum in depth. They will secure improved understanding of standards and end points and be able to guard against pupil misconceptions through careful planning and support. Clear planning of the detail of the totality of the curriculum, ensures that pupils have repeated exposure to abstract concepts in different contexts to help build long term memory.
The curriculum content of each school is underpinned by a research-based understanding of how pupils learn, in particular the frequent retrieval of previously learned content, making connections to previous knowledge and experiences to strengthen pupils understanding and knowledge over time. To achieve this, we build in explicit teaching of curriculum connections across and between subjects, as well as flashbacks or retrieval practice.
We ensure our pupils experience a broad and balanced curriculum and develop a long-term memory of an ambitious body of knowledge. Our coherently planned curriculum is broadly based on the National Curriculum for subject content and expectations. Individual schools will personalise this to their own context ensuring the curriculum is always at least as ambitious as the National Curriculum. It is planned and sequenced, so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before, towards clearly defined end points. It informs what pupils need to know and be able to do to reach those points. We have structured this through our long-term planning documents, criteria for progression of concepts, half-termly curriculum connection maps and session planning.
Our schools adapt and personalise the curriculum to take into account the local context by addressing typical gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills, ensuring they are designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and SEND pupils, the cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Each school does this through their carefully selected Curriculum Drivers. These shape every aspect of school life, are embedded in teaching and learning and develop the child as a whole.
Specialist SEND knowledge is used to ensure a carefully constructed curriculum is in place to meet the needs of all pupils. Subject leaders will know their curriculum overview and the finer detail of its component parts, which will contribute to ambitious end goals. Leaders will have carefully considered the prerequisite learning so that pupils can tackle the new learning to come. There is an expectation that leaders ensure that our pupils experience quality resourcing throughout their curriculum.
Reading, oracy and academic vocabulary
- All Connect schools will support pupils to establish a strong foundation of knowledge, vocabulary, understanding, phraseology and experience, that helps form a basis for success in difficult examinations and the challenges of adult life beyond their time in school.
- All Connect schools will implement a forensic reading programme, with fidelity to a carefully selected phonics validated programme and a tailored approach to early reading.
- All Connect schools will continue to develop a mathematics curriculum to ensure that all pupils are able to apply mathematical knowledge, concepts and procedures appropriately for their age.
- The Science curriculum in all Connect schools will ensure that all pupils develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics; develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, through different types of scientific enquiry that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them; develop and learn to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry, problem-solving skills and mathematical skills, both in the laboratory, in the field and in other environments; develop their ability to evaluate claims based on science through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
- All Connect schools will have a curriculum that extends beyond the academic and vocational, that provides for pupils’ broader development. All schools will work to enhance pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
- All Connect schools will promote the extensive personal development of pupils. Our schools will go beyond the expected, so that pupils have access to a wide, rich set of experiences. We aim to provide varied high-quality opportunities for pupils to develop their talents and interests.
- Connect schools will provide these rich experiences in a coherently planned way, in the curriculum and through extra-curricular activities to considerably strengthen each school’s offer.
- Our schools will provide pupils with meaningful opportunities to understand how to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society. We will support pupils to know how to discuss and debate issues and ideas in a considered way.
- For our older pupils they will provide good quality, meaningful opportunities for pupils to encounter the world of work.
- At secondary level our school will prepare pupils for future success in education, employment or training. Our older pupils will receive unbiased information about potential next steps and high-quality careers guidance.
Disadvantaged and SEND
- Connect leaders will construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and including pupils with SEND, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
- The curriculum in every school will be successfully adapted, designed and developed to be ambitious and meet the needs of pupils with SEND, developing their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence.
- Connect schools will ensure that disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. Disadvantaged and SEND pupils will have the knowledge and skills they need and, where relevant, gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests and aspirations and the intention of their course of study.
- Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes, exceeding comparable national averages, equalling the outcomes of other pupils.
Higher attaining pupils
- Connect leaders will ensure that the curriculum is designed and implemented with stretch and challenge at its heart to enable our high attaining pupils to thrive, with no upper limit to progress.