At Harris Academy Chobham, we are committed to providing our students with the highest quality education possible. To do so we ensure that children learn in an organised and consistent manner across all year groups and subjects.
We have developed a highly structured, knowledge-rich curriculum that is built around a core knowledge sequence, enabling children to acquire knowledge in small, sequential steps within each subject. Clear, coherent and sequential learning is carefully planned for so that children know more and remember more, building their long-term memory over time.
The rationale behind knowledge-rich curricula is embedded in cognitive science which contests that having strong knowledge frees up the brain’s capacity for thinking (leading to increased creativity and innovation) and that new learning will be embedded more easily if it can be connected to what has already been learnt.
Our knowledge-rich curriculum is supported by knowledge organisers, which contain all of the key vocabulary, dates, facts and information pupils will need to learn in each unit they study. Pupils are given their knowledge organisers at the start of each new unit and are directed to learn certain sections of it as part of their homework each week. They are then tested on those sections in the next appropriate lesson, which helps embed the learning.
Lessons always begin with a prior learning task, which helps to activate what pupils have previously learnt and prepare them for the new learning they will encounter. The key vocabulary for the lesson is then shared and discussed with pupils before teachers begin their main input, which is given in small chunks to avoid cognitive overload. This direct instruction is broken up with a talk task, whereby pupils will discuss, debate and feedback around a question asked by the teacher. Pupils will then complete a challenging independent task which gives them the opportunity to apply what they have learnt.
At the end of each unit of work there is an assessment lesson, in which pupils may for example write an essay outlining the knowledge they have picked up during their study. This in turn gives the school a strong insight into the success of the curriculum and how well pupils are learning and retaining the knowledge they are given.
The central feature of effective teaching is the process of enabling students to develop their knowledge and understanding of concepts and processes and the ability to apply their learning to a range of situations.
At Harris Academy Chobham, every lesson follows the ‘I > We > You’ approach.
I – Demonstration (explanation and modelling) of new material in new steps.
We – Guided practice with prompts and scaffolds.
You – Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from the teacher.
We believe that assessment is an ongoing process that is fundamental to effective teaching and learning. Teachers have a bank of assessment tools that they can use to accurately assess attainment and progress. These cover a range of techniques including low-stake testing, feedback (verbal, written) and planned, informal assessment tasks. Assessment is closely linked to and informs delivery of the curriculum.