Curriculum Vision

Our vision

At John Willmott School we are committed to ensuring that our students turn their “Potential into Reality” Our vision is for our students to leave school prepared to flourish as individuals, contribute to their communities and lead positive change in the world.

Through excellent teaching and a broad and balanced curriculum we inspire our students to be curious and passionate about the world around them and to develop a lifelong love of learning. We will challenge them to become critical thinkers who question precisely and reflect thoughtfully to make informed choices.

All students have access to an ambitious knowledge engaged curriculum, there is a focus on the application of acquired knowledge to provide children with access to the curriculum at a depth to ensure an enduring understanding of substantive, disciplinary and procedural knowledge within discrete subject areas.

We pay attention to the hidden curriculum – the unintended consequences of learning and lessons, of norms, values, and beliefs around concepts such as gender, ethnicity, culture, or sexuality, by thinking about not just what is taught but also how it is framed. The curriculum is predicated on students learning.

Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum is underpinned by the core belief that knowledge is power. A driving factor of our curriculum is the importance of ensuring that our pupils become both culturally literate and that they are exposed to and can remember a breadth and depth of knowledge through subjects that enable them to take a full and meaningful part in society. We aim to give our pupils the ability to bring about positive change by building knowledge that allows them to articulate and understand complex social issues and to engage with challenging debates about the barriers to change. Our knowledge rich curriculum allows all of our pupils to engage with this deep and powerful knowledge across all subjects and disciplines and all key stages.

Our curriculum is ever evolving. Collaborative curriculum planning and reviewing these plans, is built into our professional development calendar and permeates our department cultures. Our lesson preparation meetings ensure that medium term plans are translated into well-structured and carefully sequenced lessons. This ensures that key knowledge and key misconceptions are pinpointed and addressed deliberately; that teachers can intellectually prepare for their specific classes and students; and that core learning is embedded consistently, ensuring that all students can access an intellectually ambitious curriculum.

The use of “stretch” questions designed by subject experts to hinge learning in real and meaningful situations engages students through big-picture thinking and well-pitched challenge. These lesson sequences, carefully blend substantive and disciplinary knowledge allows us to create a curriculum that explains the why as well as the what.

We recognise the importance of reading and the place of high-quality texts at the core of our curriculum implementation. We place a high emphasis on advancing our pupils’ reading age where needed, maintaining progression of literacy levels and pushing our pupils to read academically challenging texts that advance their confidence and knowledge.

The deliberate design and sequence of the curriculum allows our pupils to commit knowledge to long-term memory through a curriculum that builds on prior knowledge and revisits at levels of greater complexity. Through co-planning and review, our teachers engage in a constant dialogue about sequencing and implementation, particularly where review has exposed knowledge gaps or necessary adaptations due to lost learning time.  Our curriculum vision is designed with these seven key principles in mind.

Curriculum principles

Broad and Balanced The principles of breadth and balance are the cornerstone of our curriculum design. We believe all students in the early years of secondary should access a broad range of disciplines that enables them to progress to a balanced pathway in KS4 and beyond.We achieve this by ensuring all students in the early years of secondary should access a broad range of disciplines that enables them to progress to a balanced pathway in KS4 and beyond. Delivering greater depth and mastery where necessary in relation to needs e.g, access to curriculum through improved literacy.   Ensuring PHSRE has a strong place in the curriculum through all key stages and is age appropriate.
Progressive Schemes of learning focus on progression that by carefully sequencing knowledge.We achieve this by designing and sequencing substantive and disciplinary knowledge. As a result the curriculum is carefully planned and sequenced, recognising knowledge and skills do not exist in isolation.
Ambitious and equitable Meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum and examination specifications embellished with context.   All students follow same disciplinary knowledge, all students have the right to access, a high-quality curriculum. They all have the opportunity to learn a rich body of knowledge and acquire skills across all subjects in KS3 and through a well-structured progression path into KS4 and KS5.We achieve this by ensuring all students follow the same subjects and content in KS3.   Ensuring differentiation through scaffolding and challenge.   Ensuring the curriculum provision is tailored and adapted within specialism to ensure both high attaining pupils and SEND students are appropriately catered for.   Explicitly ensuring we don’t adapt the curriculum; we adapt the pedagogy.
Coherent Making explicit connections and links between the different subjects and experiences.  We achieve this by sharing curriculum planning across subject areas.   Identifying opportunities to make links between curriculum areas. Sequencing that enables students to make links to prior and future learning. Ensuring there is adequate time for students to practice the knowledge and skills, so it is embedded in their long-term memory.   Co-planning and reviewing Co-planning through lesson preparation meetings identifies the key knowledge for all students in the medium-term plans. It highlights likely misconceptions and identifies how best to teach particular concepts or skills.   Providing a broad range of enrichments that are accessible to all. Knowledge rich curriculum embedded through disciplinary practice.
Based on the principles of cognitive science The curriculum is built to allow students to make connections to prior learning and embed key concepts in their long-term memory.We achieve this by building mastery, spiralling and sequencing to reinforce prior learning by regularly reviewing and refining our curriculum. Ensuring knowledge and skills progression are clearly mapped out.   Giving teachers time to intellectually prepare for the sequence of lessons within the unit and ensuring they meet the needs of their students.   Collaborating with each other and the ATLP partnership allowing the development of subject specific pedagogy.
Relevant  Seeking to connect the valued outcomes of a curriculum to the pupils being taught it; provides opportunities for pupils to make informed choices.We achieve this by co-planning keeps the curriculum regularly exposed to new ideas, thoughts and strategies. Co-planning is reactive to changes in time or delivery.
Knowledge rich Embedding knowledge through disciplinary practice.  We achieve this by ensuring we have staff who are secure in their disciplinary knowledge through constant dialogue and co-planning.   Working with colleagues across the ATLP in subject disciplines to extend our subject knowledge and enhance shared curriculum understandings across the network.   Our subject teachers, working closely with colleagues across the network, they identify the key topics or concepts within their discipline and spend significant time on these topics. We know that thinking like a scientist is different to thinking like a historian.