The Norwood Curriculum
The Norwood Curriculum
We want our students to be scholars, citizens and ambassadors. Our ambitious curriculum challenges students to explore fundamental truths about the human condition and the physical world, enabling them to see beyond the immediate context of our lives and become the best version of themselves they can be. The key to achieving this is that students know more and remember more. It is this that will empower them to meet the challenges they will face in their lives. The intent of our curriculum is to provide a solid foundation across a wide range of disciplines through our comprehensive Key Stage 3 programme which meets the NC in full, and which allows us to be ambitious for Key Stage 4, where all students continue to study an academic curriculum, taking one or more humanities subjects with as many as possible also studying a language to complete the Ebacc qualification. This will maximise the number of students equipped to progress to higher education.
Knowledge is power
Our curriculum places building vocabulary and knowledge at its heart, helping all our learners develop both conceptual and disciplinary understanding in each subject, and thereby become the best versions of themselves they can be. Developments in cognitive science have shown that the key to academic success and effective scholarship is working hard to ensure that facilitating knowledge and vocabulary is transferred, through rehearsal and retrieval, into Long-Term Memory, and our curriculum places the acquisition of core knowledge at its heart. It is this permanent store of knowledge that will enable our students to be effective readers, writers and evaluators, and which frees up cognitive space for them to deliberately practice their key subject skills. It is also this store of knowledge that will enable them to be politically literate citizens, able to navigate the diverse and sometimes misleading sources of information of the 21st century.
Beyond the classroom
We want to help students explore their passions whether this is sport, performing, creating things, or business. The curriculum doesn’t end in the classroom and we believe in creating opportunities that enable our students to be full and active contributors to society, and to take the responsibilities of citizenship seriously. Kindness and gratitude are our touchstones. We want to give all our students the chance to take part in enriching activities that will enhance their cultural capital, and enable them to feel comfortable in any environment. We stay true to our Business and Enterprise roots by ensuring our curriculum offers students regular contact with the working world and an important place for business and economics in the curriculum.
Our curriculum is underpinned by a commitment to equality of opportunity and we strive to ensure that all students are able to succeed no matter what their entry point is. The most vulnerable often already face the greatest barriers, we seek to remove or mitigate these to create success for all. This means that we have a sharp focus on reading, writing, speaking and numeracy. Some will require specialist teaching to help develop the basics that were not formed appropriately in Key Stage 1 and 2. For others this will be the development of subject specific language and knowledge through specialist teachers. All teachers know their classes and cater for the individuals in them, with our SEND students supported through learning passports and high quality teaching.
Subject Leaders are the key agents in planning the delivery of the curriculum in each subject. The primary focus of their role is to plan sequences of lessons that ensure that students master increasingly complex knowledge and skills, with each year’s learning building upon the last. Working with their department teams, they expertly drive the implementation of their subject by helping students know more and remember more. To view the plans for each subject please visit the ‘Subjects’ page on our website. Every subject has a 5 or 7 year plan, and an annual plan, which are available on our website.
Each Subject Lead oversees the preparation of Schemes of Work for each year group. We develop schemes of work to support all teachers by setting out the curriculum for their subject with an emphasis on what is to be taught and in what order. All subjects create plans which deliver and revisit key knowledge throughout each year, and which lead to the formation of key concepts in a subject area. When planning a unit, teachers define endpoints for each unit and then plan sequences of lessons that contribute to these endpoints. They will consider the key vocabulary that students need to know and plan in strategies to help students know and remember more, such as interleaving or retrieval practice. They will make decisions about how often to revisit topics or practice skills.
All teachers ensure their lessons are planned to stretch and challenge the most able students in their classes as well as supporting those who sometimes struggle. Throughout their time at Harris Academy South Norwood, students who need extra support receive it through a wide range of channels, including within lessons, through learning passports, during after school catch-up sessions and, where appropriate, via the LSS department.
Assessment is an on-going process and is built into every lesson. Teachers assess student progress in a range of ways, through quality reading of students’ work, and questioning and class discussion, end of unit tests and formal assessments. They carry out detailed question-level analysis of students’ work when appropriate and use this to identify strengths and areas of weakness so that they can intervene appropriately. They mark students’ books in line with our marking policy and provide students with feedback to respond to.
At least twice per year, students complete a formal assessment which will be marked and moderated to establish how well each student can recall and apply what they have learnt. Subject Leaders (and teachers) analyse the test against their planned curriculum intents and produce a document which provides information about how well different aspects of the planned curriculum have been learnt. Time is then built into the calendar for teachers to discuss the outcomes and revisit points of difficulty.
All of this assessment activity provides valuable information on how well our students are understanding what is being taught and how well our curriculum is being implemented. This will inform both short- and medium-term planning because:
- Teachers will adapt their lessons to review points of difficulty and challenge misconceptions
- Subject leaders will review their schemes of work to maximise the impact of their curriculum.
At HASN The curriculum is the progression model and this can be seen in exercise books. Learning is a change in long term memory, and so the more of the curriculum that has been committed to a student’s long-term memory, the more has been learnt by them, and the more progress has been made. Our summative assessments at HASN assess how much of the curriculum has been learnt by students, and therefore indicate how they’re progressing through the curriculum.
Teaching and Learning at HASN
We are not overly prescriptive in our approach to teaching at Harris Academy South Norwood, but we believe these simple STAR principles underpin high quality teaching.
Sequence - Sequence your curriculum deliberately and coherentlyâ
Teach - Explicitly Teach the knowledge and skills you want students to acquire both this lesson and from previous lessons
Assess - Know the individual and what they have learnt both this lesson and from previous lessons â
Respond - Respond to what they have learnt in the moment, in books/products/performances, and in assessmentsâ
Keeping it Simple
How do we do it?
Teaching for Literacy
We use a couple of simple, research based techniques to ensure all teachers are teachers of literacy.
- 15 minutes (single) or 30 minutes (double) independent silent work or performance. Where appropriate this may be extended writing. We correct SPAG when we mark
- We model writing/performance, frequently live
- Disciplinary approach. We teach students how to write, and how to redraft, in the subject
- Everyone reads a book. Talk to student regularly about what you’re reading and the importance. Tutors/English teachers take them to library if no book
- To ensure students regularly read out loud to the class
- To model good reading to the class
- To provide explicit vocabulary instruction for words in your subject
- To teach tier 2 words regularly
- We encourage students to use whole sentences and sentence stems when it’s appropriate
- We regularly use paired, and sometimes group discussion to discuss and debate