Our curriculum is taught through a combination of discrete subjects and linked “topic” areas. We use the Cornerstone Curriculum pedagogy and topics to support with the design of our curriculum.
Within this, we adopt the Four Cornerstones of Learning – Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express. These are four distinct stages that actively promote children’s learning and thinking, as well as their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Using the Cornerstones pedagogy means that during each half-term children will work through this cycle of learning experiences:
1. The Engage Phase
This lasts for a lesson, a day or a special experience. This phase is designed to engage the children in their topic and excite them about the term ahead. It is also used as an opportunity to gather any questions that the children may have about the topic and helps the teacher ensure that the children’s interests are catered for.
2. The Develop Phase
This lasts for a number of weeks. During the Develop Phase, the children develop their skills and knowledge relevant to the topic for the half term. The teacher uses the Cornerstones skills and the children questions, to plan cross curricular sessions which cover a range of areas including: English (sometimes), Science, History, Geography, Art and DT. Maths is taught discretely and we use schemes to cover Music, PE, MFL, PSHE and we follow the Doncaster Agreed Syllabus for RE.
3. The Innovate Phase
This lasts for a few lessons, a day or a week. This phase gives the children the opportunity to complete a project or solve a challenge, which requires the application of their newly developed skills and knowledge.
4. The Express Phase
This lasts for an afternoon or the duration of a special event. During the Express Phase, the children have the opportunity to celebrate their understanding and achievements from the half term. The Express events are shared sometimes with another class, or other year groups in school or parents and carers are invited into school. The events have included: cafes to share the delicious creations from the Innovate Phase; art galleries to show off wonderful creations and museums to share historical facts, artefacts and science experiments.
Throughout the learning experience, we value the enhanced learning opportunities provided by going on trips and having visitors into school. Where possible, we use local visits and try to keep costs to a minimum.
We use the Cornerstones units to cover History, Geography, Design and Technology, Art and Design, and Computing skills. English, Maths, Science, Languages, Music, PE, PSHE and RE are taught discretely, although we make links with the topic where appropriate. In English, for example, the core text and writing genres usually tie in with the topic.