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.
Mathematics and Design Technology
In design technology, children draw on measuring skills covered in mathematics. In Year 5, children start the year in mathematics by reviewing measuring and drawing with a ruler in order to access the resistant materials and textiles topics, where they are required to measure and draw measurements accurately on a variety of materials, including creating seam allowances and enlargements. In resistant materials, children also use their knowledge of angles and properties of triangles to construct bridges and photo frames (KS2). In KS3, they also use the importance of 45o and 90o angles in their construction of bug hotels. In food technology, children apply the mathematical skills of measuring capacity and mass, reading scales and calculating with quantities.
Mathematics teachers reference the design technology topics for context when teaching measure. Design technology teachers are aware of the measure objectives taught to each year group and expect children to demonstrate the same level of understanding and skill in DT as they do in mathematics.
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.
Mathematics and Science
In science, children use a wide variety of mathematical skills. In KS2, children investigate questions such as ‘How does the angle of the sun affect the length of a shadow?’ They collect, record and present data in a variety of ways using success criteria to ensure graphs are drawn with mathematical accuracy. In KS3, children investigate questions such as ‘Is there a correlation between height and arm span?’ and discuss lines of best fit and range.
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.
Mathematics and Geography
In Year 5 geography, children use grid references in their map work, linking back to their work on co-ordinates in Year 4. In Year 6, this moves on to using all four quadrants, and in Year 7 is explicitly taught as longitude and latitude. Graphs and tables are taught in Year 5 maths in the Autumn term and used in Geography in the summer. In Year 8 geography the children use the skills taught in statistic units in maths to collect, present and analyse data. In the Autumn term Year 8 create and interpret bar charts, pie charts and line graphs for their river field trip work. In the Spring and Summer terms, Year 8 use population pyramids for their studies on China and India. Geography and maths teachers use the same success criteria for statistics work to ensure consistency of skills regardless of subject.
English and Computing
At the end of Year 5, in English, students study at a text about Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing. In Year 6, they do a topic on computing heroes and research the contribution Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing have made to the modern world of computing.
English, History and RE
Year 6 study ‘The Undefeated’ by Kwame Alexander. We draw on students’ knowledge from both History and RE. It has been really evident how knowledgeable our students have become about Black History from their own reading at home too, for example, from the ‘Women who Changed the World’ series of books.