A knowledge-based curriculum for all
Our curriculum at Rosecliffe Spencer Academy is based on building knowledge, and is designed to challenge and stimulate children to ask searching questions; to shape their learning and to enable them to develop as independent critical thinkers and learners. Our curriculum is engaging, exciting and innovative, encompassing and celebrating all curriculum areas, helping to ensure that our children develop the knowledge and skills they need to excel, and become creative and curious citizens.
Our curriculum has been designed to encompass knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live, and also the events that have shaped it in the past to make it what it is today. The topics have been designed to complement and build on one another with clear progression and links so that in subsequent year groups, they will be able to explore concepts deeper, applying their knowledge in different contexts.
Our community is at the heart of our teaching and learning and topics have been selected to embrace the wider community in which we live as well as expanding children’s knowledge of events and places they wouldn’t ordinarily visit or know about.
Through our curriculum, we believe in building resilience is crucial in ensuring that our children are lifelong learners and have a positive mental health and well-being. Children will be given opportunities to develop their growth-mindset through reflection time, believing that with hard work and determination, anything can be achieved.
Through our links with universities, we will look at opportunities to invite students from different cultures to spend a week in a classroom so that children can learn first-hand about different places and ways of living. Our links with our local Trust secondary schools will give us the opportunity to use secondary specialist equipment and facilities, as well as provide our children with positive role models.
Why we do it…
In recent decades, cognitive scientists have confirmed the need for a knowledge-based curriculum for two reasons:
Knowledge frees up your brain’s capacity for thinking
Cognitive scientists have found that our brain works at different speeds, depending on whether we have learned something already, or whether we are relying on “working memory”. Working memory is new information you can keep in your head and is very limited (holding between three and seven pieces of new information). That is why learning your times tables by heart is useful. Completing more complex calculations is made more simple if knowledge of tables is already ‘locked in’. This links to our use of rolling numbers.
We learn new things by connecting them to old things
The way in which the brain stores new information, and makes inferences and discoveries, is by connecting to existing stored knowledge (schema). You cannot have skills without knowledge, because you cannot evaluate something you do not know anything about. You also cannot come up with new ideas without jumping off existing ones.