About the Curriculum
We have sought to develop a suite of resources that gives teachers all they need to deliver truly powerful lessons.
Our curriculum is underpinned by the best evidence about how pupils learn.
The units are intelligently sequenced to ensure that key knowledge is retained and developed over time.
All resources are coherently aligned, allowing complete clarity during teaching.
In the links at the bottom of the page, you will find:
- Our Curriculum Overview Document
- Our rationale for why these topics in this sequence for each of Key Stage 2 History, Key Stage 2 Geography and Key Stage 3 Geography (as well as a summary of what follows in Geography at Key Stage 4 and 5);
- The Lesson Elements of the Reach Out Curriculum (which you can see examples of at Secondary and Primary in our suite of videos available here here to support training);
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The knowledge organiser is the beating heart of each unit. The core content is meticulously curated and itemised to clarify the necessary (but not sufficient) knowledge necessary to develop a sophisticated schema for each unit of work. Over the course of the years, these knowledge organisers ensure that all pupils become ‘culturally literate’ (Hirsch, 1987) and have the opportunity to engage in ‘powerful knowledge’ (Young, 2013) A knowledge organiser acts as a planning, teaching and assessment tool. It provides complete clarity to leaders, teachers, pupils and parents about what is expected to be learnt and remembered by the end of the lesson, the unit, and in the long term.
Each unit includes a work booklet which ensures that every lesson includes rich, challenging text, written at age appropriate level. Key graphics, images and diagrams are all included alongside the text. Questions and tasks break up the lesson, meaning pupils get regular opportunities to practice new learning, in line with Rosenshine’s (2012) principles of effective instruction. The work booklet very clearly sets out the standard expected in terms of class work, ensuring high academic expectations of all pupils (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 2008). Increasing the subject knowledge of teachers, especially non-specialists such as primary school teachers, is paramount as (“pedagogical) content knowledge” has been identified as the most important controllable factor associated with student outcomes (Coe et al, 2014). Furthermore, the workload of the teacher is considerably reduced, as the booklet is printed at the start of each half term, and then no further resourcing is required.
The benefit of retrieval practise is one of the most robust findings in cognitive psychology (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006; Storm, Bjork & Storm, 2010). Low stakes multiple choice quizzes are efficient, effective and motivating for pupils, whilst providing teachers with vital information about what pupils have misunderstood, and/or what they are struggling to remember. These questions can be easily recycled, utilising the spacing effect and ensuring content is retained in for the long term, and not forgotten soon after the lesson or unit has ended.
Each unit consists of six, carefully sequenced ‘knowledge lessons’, which can be contrasted with popular but ultimately less effective ‘activity-based’, ‘enquiry- based’, or ‘discovery-based’ lessons described by Kirschner, Sweller and Clark (2006) as “minimally guided instruction”. In line with findings from cognitive load theory (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974; Baddeley 1986; Rosenshine 2012; Sweller, 1988) lessons are chunked into small sessions of explicit teaching followed by regular opportunities for all children to think, apply and practice key skills and knowledge.
Each lesson includes a slide show, to support the teacher in delivering the content of the lessons clearly and precisely. The slides aid pupil memory by making effect of ‘dualcoding’ (Paivio 1986; Mayer & Moreno, 2003). The benefits of receiving explanations through both the visual and auditory channel is well established in the research literature. Not to be confused with the discredited learning styles approach, dual coding can improve the absorption of new knowledge without increasing extraneous cognitive load.
At the end of each unit, pupils write an extended essay. This ensures that pupils are able to synthesis and elaborate on all of the knowledge that they have acquired throughout the unit, whilst also setting them up for success in secondary school. The ability to reason, argue, persuade and consider multiple perspectives are crucial but ultimately domain specific, and so each essay allows these skills to be contextualised with the knowledge taught during the unit. Essays strengthen the storage strength of the material learnt, whilst helping knowledge to move from inflexible status to being more flexible.