Learning happens in stages, at different paces, and at The Lea each child is enabled and equipped to move forward in their learning journey with deeper challenge & new opportunities or extra support as needed in each part of our curriculum.
Small Steps Approach
A key element of The Lea’s approach to the implementation of its curriculum will be built around The Multi-store Theory of Memory (Atkinson and Shiffrin,1968) and a small steps approach to teaching and learning.
The Multi-Store Model of memory (MSM) describes flow between three permanent storage systems of memory: the sensory register (SR), short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM). In simple terms sensory information (through a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach – J Bruner) can be transferred into short-term memory which can generally have a capacity for between 4-9 items. Through rehearsal and consolidation, information is then transferred to long-term memory – which as educators is our ultimate aim for learning.
Our small steps approach to teaching is supported by our curriculum design and intent. This has been achieved through different layers of curriculum design.
Layer 1: The sources of our curriculum
At the top layer are the sources of our curriculum. These are where we base our learning sequences from. These sources are all connected to the national curriculum. For some subject areas we self-design our learning sequences and for some subject areas we use carefully selected schemes of learning.
Layer 2: Long Term Plans
These have been carefully worked on by year group teachers and by subject leads over a two year window to ensure that there is progression of both skills and knowledge within year groups and across year groups. These are regularly reviewed to ensure this progression continues.
Layer 3: Medium Term Planning (Foundation Subjects)
Medium term planning on subjects where the learning is self-designed is focused on two elements. The first is on the skills and knowledge that we expect children to have learned at the end of a sequence. The second is on the sequence of teaching steps which will enable learning of those skills and that knowledge.
Layer 4: Individual Lesson Design
Class teachers at The Lea are not expected to write individual lesson plans or weekly plans for Maths or English. Teachers are expected to spend time on designing their lessons so that they allow for small steps of progression within a lesson and between lessons. This is supported by high level questioning used alongside these small steps to continually assess and move learning forward.
A rounded programme of assemblies help to reinforce our school curriculum and to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. They also allow for a chance to reflect on school and British values and how they relate to current affairs. On Mondays, there is a singing assembly. On Wednesday a Headteacher assembly and on Friday a celebration assembly.
We understand the importance of external expertise in providing inspirational learning moments for the children. We regularly invite external visitors into school – they deliver talks, workshops and full day activities across a wide range of subjects, giving pupils access to outside experiences and expertise. Visitors provide a link with the wider community – children have the opportunity to work alongside artists, musicians, authors, health professions and others.
Curriculum ‘Wow’ Moments
At The Lea, we have spent a huge amount of time considering how we can maximise learning through adding “wow” moments into our curriculum offer. This might include marching around the school grounds with self-made shields in Roman battle formation, enjoying a French style picnic or spending the day as an Egyptian Pharaoh. “Wow” moments can come in many different forms but the aim is always to provide a memorable experience for the children that will support the transfer of learning into a child’s long-term memory.