Sequencing and Linking in our Curriculum.
Within our progressive and carefully sequenced subject curricula, we have taken the time to amplify learning with timely links across subject areas, where it really matters and is effective. We have positioned teaching thoughtfully to achieve this. Some examples are:
PSHE and Computing
In Years 5 and 6, we have twinned the timing of online safety teaching. This helps children to understand the technical aspects alongside a deeper understanding of the personal responsibility and risk. We have prioritised this as a matter of personal development and sought to give it high status.
Music, English and Drama
In Year 7, students use music technology to create a soundscape to accompany the opening of Macbeth. They analyse the opening dialogue between the three witches and critically consider how music can be used to evoke and enhance the mood of this scene through use of dynamics, harmony, instrumental choice and melody. In English, this amplifies the depth of understanding of the role the witches play as prophets and as a device used by Shakespeare throughout the play; this understanding is picked up in drama in parallel time to allow exploration and interpretation. Year 7 students become able to articulate original response as a result of this three-way link alongside an engaging focus on theatricality and stagecraft.
Art, Geography and the student-led Climate Action Group
In Year 7, we have a unit of learning about the environmentalist, architect and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. We look at contour lines on maps and study his attitude to architecture fitting in seamlessly with the environment; we then teach a project around this theory of design reflecting sustainability and climate change. The underlying themes of environmental protection have been effective and picked up by our innovative in-school Climate Action Group, who establish their own learning and projects. Climate Justice runs through our geography curriculum.
English and Religious Education
In Year 8, students meet the question ‘What has the refugee situation to do with religion? ‘. We look at the issue of social justice and the treatment of others from an ethical and religious standpoint. In English at this time, students study Zephaniah’s ‘Refugee Boy’ which has a direct link to learning in RE, the court case of appeal with the Home Office. We make much of the parallel learning about the experience and treatment of refugees in the UK. Whilst immersed in the fictional world of a young teenage refugee, developing empathy and understanding in English lessons, our students continue to develop learning in RE by looking at biblical teachings on the treatment of others and we look at the Golden Rule, Good Samaritan, and the Final Judgment. Students also look at different Christian denomination's moral teachings on refugees. We consider contemporary examples of the refugee crisis through clips and look at Humanitarian Aid. We also study non-religious worldviews such as Humanism and their ideas on human rights and the treatment of others. Specialist language gained enhances their English written work whilst a deep understanding of a contemporary, emotive and relevant current issue is gained holistically. This is a good example of our approach being to show literature as meaningful art, reflecting life in glorious technicolour.
Geography and History
In Year 8, students investigate China and India which are Newly Emerging Economies (NEE). These are countries that have begun to experience high rates of economic development, usually with rapid industrialisation and urbanisation. At the same time in their history lessons, students investigate the Industrial Revolution. This link between the two subject areas is very useful and deepens student understanding when looking at demographic, economic, environmental, political and social change in each society and also linking to the future of LIC's (Low Income Countries). This also builds on the concept of power, empire and globalisation which Year 8 students learn about in history just before the twinning of teaching about industrialisation: a rich and deep link spanning much of the year most productively.
English and Science
In Year 6, students write non-chronological reports of hybrid creatures that they have created inspired by the yellow-spotted lizard in Holes (class novel). These non-chronological reports encompass and re-visit much of the vocabulary studied in the biological aspect of our science curriculum. Words learned in science such as: omnivore, herbivore, carnivore, predator, prey, mammal, amphibian, reptile are applied by pupils in the context of their writing in English thus deepening their understanding.
PSHE and Careers
In Years 5 and 7, we match the teaching time of input to give greater contextual examples to student thinking, to inspire through width of quality, contemporary examples.
History and English
In Year 5, students compose a battle cry based in our class novel - Viking Boy. Pupils draw on their historical understanding of this era to add realistic details to these pieces making them more engaging for the reader. Equally, through focussing on what battle is like for the characters in the book in English, students gain a greater insight historically into what it was like to live then during the 'Struggle for Power' unit undertaken in history.
Art and History
In Year 6, students have their learning about the Victorians in history parallel with learning about Victorian design in art. Students develop an early understanding of the Industrial Revolution (prior to the depths of knowledge which will come in Year 8) and learn about it’s effect on interior design and manufacture, specifically about the artist William Morris. Students are exposed to the idea that single events in history are the catalyst for deep societal change and that art of all forms reflects life.