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Curriculum Overview

At Gilbert Ward Academy, we follow the National Curriculum. Using the ambitious end points of the national curriculum, we have created a progression model consisting of the knowledge and skills pupils need to gain, to achieve those end points. Pupils move through our challenging progression model at their own pace, building rich schemas of knowledge through knowing more and remembering more – this is what we mean when we say that a pupil is making progress. All subject progression models have set out what it means to ‘get better’ at each subject, these plans start at key stage 1 content through to key stage 4 content – all our pupils are secondary age, but they often are studying below their chronological age, so we have planned for this.

The knowledge and skills that pupils must gain to achieve the ambitious end goals is sequenced, building from simple knowledge to more complex concepts as pupils move through our progression model. We have also identified key component knowledge that we need to emphasis with pupils to help them remember this for future learning, ensuring that pupils revisit rather than relearn. Sequencing is not defined to individual subjects; knowledge is planned across subjects. For example, we know that science depends on mathematics, so we have ensured that pupils learn the mathematical concept they need in science before they reach this stage of the science curriculum. To support consistency, we have also reviewed the mathematically methods used in mathematics and other subjects and have ensured that pupils are only taught one method, for example when rearranging equations in mathematics and science pupils will use the same method of inverse operations.

Sequencing can look different for different subjects. Mathematics and history are both relevant and critical subjects, but they vary significantly in the way their knowledge is structured and sequenced due to their inherent nature. Mathematics is grounded in the principle of "building block" learning where an understanding of the basic concepts paves the way for comprehension of more complex ones. For instance, it would be challenging to grasp concepts like calculus or algebra without a fundamental knowledge of arithmetic such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Therefore, learning mathematics respects a linear hierarchical sequence where later knowledge heavily depends on prior understanding.

Contrastingly, history does not follow a straightforward hierarchical structure like mathematics. Learning history does not necessarily require a foundational understanding of one era before progressing to another. For instance, one could study World War II without having to comprehend the nuances of the Renaissance. While the understanding of previous events may provide context and depth to later events, it is not a prerequisite in the same way basic math concepts are to advanced math. The sequencing of historical knowledge isn't linear. In subjects like History, sequencing is done so through concepts such as the concepts of trade, entertainment and society. Through these historical contexts, the Key Stage 3 history curriculum develops the concept of trade in an incremental and comprehensive way starting with ancient civilizations and progressing to the modern era. In each era, students learn about different aspects of trade, such as barter systems, the growth of towns and cities, global exploration, industrialisation, and the impact of trade policies and agreements in the 20th century.