The Knowledge-Rich Curriculum at Willingham School
At Willingham Primary School, we believe in the power of knowledge and that a school's curriculum is the vehicle to improve the life-chances of all of our pupils.
Our school mission statement states explicitly that we want our pupils to excel at secondary school, so that they can achieve academically and to give them choice in their futures.
To do this, we believe that pupils are best served being taught the best possible content, within discreet curriculum areas, to allow them to have a head-start when they transition to secondary school. Our curriculum is knowledge-rich and disciplinary/subject-based.
We view 'learning' as a 'relatively permanent change in Long Term Memory' and ensure that our curriculum includes regular and frequent retrieval practice of previously learnt content, to support pupils' long term retention of what we teach. Our intent statements for each subject lay out our overarching learning goals and within individual subject units, we provide children and parents/carers with the core knowledge to be remembered in the form of a Knowledge Organiser.
Pupils will not excel in their futures without having a strong grounding in the traditional triad of Reading, Writing and Mathematics and at WPS we focus within each of these areas on the fundamentals of mathematical fluency, reading fluency and writing accuracy. Within all subject areas we strive to give pupils key, powerful knowledge that they can then utilise in subject-specific ways to be analytical, evaluative and creative - we believe that pupils cannot create from nothing and that 'higher order thinking' is only possible once you have the building blocks of knowledge.
We base all curricular and pedagogical (teaching tactic) decisions on sound principles of Cognitive Psychology and aim to ensure that the time pupils spend in their classroom is used efficiently. We are proud of our quiet, calm classrooms for example, because these support the concentration and attention levels of all our pupils.
The WPS Behaviour Curriculum supports the community to become exemplary learners through the development of pupils' self-regulation and executive functioning skills, alongside clear and consistent rules, routines and consequences. We teach our pupils what good behaviour looks like, support them in practising that behaviour until it becomes 'what we do here' and employ a 'warm/strict' ethos across the school.
To enable the curriculum to be well-planned and progressive in a school where year groups have to be mixed at times, we teach a two-year rolling curriculum programme for Years 1 and 2, Years 3 and 4, and Years 5 and 6.