We use the Focus Education Learning Challenge Curriculum
to support the planning of our topics which include foundation subjects like History, Geography, Science, Design Technology, Art and Music.
The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point. The Learning Challenge approach is used as a structure and ethos for curriculum design. In designing the curriculum, teachers and learners use a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Using the information gained from pre-learning tasks, the new National Curriculum and the school’s context, a series of subsidiary challenges are then planned.
There are some key principles on which we’ve based our curriculum:
A Two-year Cycle
The delivery of the curriculum is based on your child’s own class: most subjects and skills are taught by the same class teacher. However, many of the topics we’ve planned are shared across two ‘partner classes’ in school – Years 1 and 2, Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6. This means that teachers can share ideas and skills when planning and delivering topics, and sometimes means that classes swap teachers or combine to work with other children. To share topics and avoid repeating them each year, we operate a two-year rolling programme of topics, with some topics in ‘Year A’, some in ‘Year B’.
We prefer to set start and end dates for most of our topics, and we do this by planning topics with a specified length (‘Big Topics’ last for approx. 4 weeks, for example). This is so we can ensure a broad and balanced curriculum, and so that our whole-school topics start at the same time and end at the same time – with some sort of reflective activity to share learning with others. It also means that we can embed whole-school themed weeks into the school year without these interrupting a topic.