What Learning Looks Like at Cage Green
At Cage Green, our curriculum is driven by our children. The government gives us a broad structure in the form of the National Curriculum, and then, as a school, we take that structure and make it fit the needs of our children. We also take that structure and make it fun and engaging.
We have three ‘Curriculum Drivers’. These are our key focuses. They are:
More people: This is a catchy way of saying that our curriculum teaches children about the diversity of people in the world. They learn that there are people that look, behave and think differently to them and that there are people that face different challenges to those that they face. We teach children that difference is something to be celebrated and not to be feared, that there are people with disabilities that need to be understood and that there are many different ways in which people live their lives. Through this, we aim to support children to be compassionate, sensitive and intrigued.
More Places: The world is bigger than Tonbridge! We do A LOT of local study of Tonbridge, but we aim to teach children about the wider world. This ranges from teaching children about the seven continents and five oceans to understanding how trade relationships work in Asia to understanding that the climate varies across the planet. We also occasionally step off our planet to explore the universe. We don’t just teach about places in geography; this driver is embedded through all subjects. We aim to create children who are fascinated by the wider world, ask questions and are equipped for their future life in understanding that the world is varied, vast and their opportunities can be boundless.
More Choices: This is the most exciting one of all. This one is about children’s futures and our aim is to create school leavers with a massive number of choices. We want to inspire in children an excitement about their future and the understanding that they can achieve anything if they work hard. We don’t just do assemblies about exciting jobs; we have built a curriculum that exposes children to a huge range of possibilities. This may be working as an architect or interior designer when learning about Skara Brae or learning that mathematicians and astrophysicists got the Apollo missions into space. We expose the children to a range of occupations with the aim that a spark will be ignited for a potential career.
For our tomorrow: this bit has been added on the end by the children. We have found that our Cage Green children have a strong interest in the environment and sustainable living. We do what we are told and we are including this as a focus in their learning too!
A great curriculum is a combination of skills and knowledge. We have to make this knowledge stick. We have clear expectations of where we expect children to get to at each stage of their journey at Cage Green and provide support to children to ensure they get there. Careful planning and lots of focus on progression ensures that our new curriculum provides children with stepping stones to success.
How things are taught depends on how old children are, but there are certain key principles that run through all our teaching at Cage Green.
Teachers have to be experts; the range of what we teach in primary schools is vast and teachers have to know a lot about a lot of things! Primary school teachers tend to be excellent pub quizzers.
We aim for sticky knowledge: it’s very easy to learn something in school and then for it to disappear out of your head. To get round this, we focus on ‘knowledge categories’ which ensure that understanding is embedded. For example, a knowledge category in history would be artefacts. Children begin to learn about historical artefacts in Year One when they learning about objects from their own past and that of their families. In Year Two, children learn about the Great Fire of London and have their first experience of historical sources. In Year Three, they learn about the Romans and begin to understand different kinds of sources and what sorts of artefacts might be encountered. In Year Four, they evaluate the effectiveness of different sources when learning about India. This continues throughout their time as they build their knowledge of different periods of history as well as understanding historical concepts.
We make links: we don’t want disconnected facts; we want a thorough understanding of how different time periods link together, such as how agriculture in Ancient Egypt can be compared to farming methods in Roman times or how both of these can be compared to agricultural practices in regions of the world today.
We make it fun: agriculture might not sound like a fun thing to learn about, but we make it engaging! Reception children are taught skilfully through child initiated work and embark on a curriculum that encourages discovery, fosters their interests and creates a joy for the world around them. Key Stage One is taught through contexts that make the learning come alive. For example, in terms one and two, Year One children join Space Academy and their learning is placed in a context where they are qualifying to be astronauts. In Year Two, children become scientists working on the newly discovered ‘Dinosaur Island’. Our Virtual Tour gives you more information about this.
It builds on what has come before and what comes next: we choose topics and themes that work well together to provide a broad and balanced learning platform
Language supports the curriculum and the curriculum supports language: We believe that language, language, language is the key to learning success.
We believe that our curriculum has done its job if we have prepared children fully for the next stage of their education and they carry with them the skills they need to be contributing members of society. Our clear end points allow us to ensure that we know where children need to get to and what we have to do to get them there.
In KS1, we use Read, Write Inc to support our phonics teaching. We use RWI books to support for phonics in reading sessions where our objective requires this. When we are teaching non-phonics-based reading objectives, we use Rigby Star books as well as 'real' books to support our children's learning.