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Welcome to our Curriculum Methodology page

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Key Concepts and Lenses

Key Concepts have been developed in each subject area that help drive and give children authentic understanding.  They help to organise large bodies of factual information into categories.  These concepts are timeless, enduring and encourage high-level thinking skills.  They facilitate connection across the whole curriculum so that all teachers understand the learning journey of any child at      St Stephens.

By planning the learning around key concepts, we ensure that children are able to reconnect with previous learning that will support them to build upon new learning.  Subject specific key concept maps outline the lensthrough which each subject concept will be viewed. 

As the same big ideas can be used from Early Years all the way to year 6 (or beyond), we can easily chart the progression of related knowledge across different key stages.

We ensure that all learners are supported to retain and remember content through a coherent whole school curriculum that chunks information into manageable amounts so it moves more readily from short-term memory to long-term memory.

We ensure the curriculum has a focus on inclusion and diversity and provides opportunities and aspiration for all.  We use essential questions to deepen understanding and see mistakes as a natural step and central to the learning process.  The use of the Learning Pitalongside Key Skills helps our children to articulate where their learning is at any one moment in time.

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Loops of Learning

By using a backward design, (Grant Wiggins & Jay Tigh) we present the childrens learning as Loops of Learning.  The children understand the bigger picture of where this lesson fits into the previous lesson, the next lesson and where the all those pieces of learning fits into the end product. They begin to understand why they are learning this knowledge and these skills at this time and how it will impact their final piece of work. 

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Rosenshine's Principles

Learning systems and processes we have in place, are supported by the evidence in Rosenshine’s Principle of instruction.  Through using these consistently and systematically,  we ensure that learning is maximised for all children.

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Presentation of Learning

Each project closes with a Presentation of Understanding.  This not only gives children a voice but also requires them to plan a large exhibition or event, giving them the chance to share their learning with others.  Each event is developed by ambassadors and supported by subject leaders.  In this way, we are able to develop both academic learning full of knowledge as well as character traits such as collaboration, creativity, curiosity, community, aspiration, accountability, resilience, reflection, responsibility empathy and enquiry.  We believe that explicitly teaching both will help the children achieve an ethic of excellence.

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Knowledge Organisers

Knowledge organisers have been developed by subject leaders to focus the children on the key facts that we want the children to know by the end of the project and provide a reference for children throughout their learning.  Check-ups in the form of mini quizzes and games are used to develop long-term memory in these key facts and to check that there is not cognitive overload.

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Key Skills

We take time to recognise personal success, praise character and nurture grit and perseverance in all by using our Key Skills.  The knowledge is the what, whilst the key skills are the how to apply and use the knowledge gained.

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Assessing progress and Feedback

We define progress as the widening and deepening of essential knowledge that leads to the further development of understanding and skills.  At St Stephens we use;

  • Assessment for Learning (formative)
  • Assessment as Learning (target setting)
  • Assessment of Learning (summative)
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By using all 3 areas for assessment, we get a clear picture of where each child is, what small steps, interventions or challenges they may need and what attitudes and dispositions might enhance or be a barrier to their learning.

Formative assessment is a key part of the assessment cycle at St Stephens.  We see feedback as information to move the learner forward.  Live feedback is essential and at the core of our practice.  Our main aim is that all children leave the lesson with a clearer understanding of their learning intention, whether they have achieved it or not and what their next steps may be.

Responding to learning during lessons, informs teachersplanning and helps them to identify the next steps in learning.  In this way, teaching becomes a dynamic and responsive process.  The children are assessed by teachers and receive feedback at the point of the learning process.


Reflection on feedback is an essential part of the process and children are given time in class to read, respond, repair and reshape their work.  This might be led by whole class targets or misconceptions or individual. By working this way, our children develop the core skill of resilience, a positive attitude and a growth-mindset towards more challenging work.

We place a positive emphasis on learning from mistakes and the children are actively encouraged to look through their work to explore where the process of understanding have broken down. 

Teachers use whole class feedback sheets that identify;

  • Misconceptions
  • Common errors
  • Models of exemplar work
  • Children that require retrieval or precision teaching work
  • Material that will need to be displayed
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Day to Day Assessment Strategies

  • Questioning
  • Metacognitive interventions – how could you do better? What do you already know that could support you in answering this question?  What resources could you use to support your learning?
  • Observing
  • Discussing
  • Analysing work for common errors and misunderstandings and using these as a basis for the next lesson.  Therefore, the next steps are the next lesson.
  • Noting on whole class feedback sheet and looking for commonalities in misconceptions and focused learning groups for support.
  • Immediate verbal feedback or conferencing.
  • Engaging children in the review process both peer and self-assessment, understanding that their reviews are against the agreed success criteria.
  • Editing in red pen and highlighting in yellow pens
  • Drafting and redrafting writing using red pens.
  • Use of success criteria or rubrics
  • WAGOLLs to highlight features being taught
  • Learning dialogue bubbles – children leaving notes for the teacher in their books in a bubble.
  • Reference to achieve their improving own learning goals.

First Hand Experiences

We are diligent to ensure that we weave plentiful first-hand experiences and activities that bring learning to life and provide the fertile ground for children to understand the knowledge, skills and dispositions we teach.  First-hand experiences engage the children, develop a cultural capital of equity and develop strong links with oracy.  

Our projects start with the wider world but always conclude in the childrens local area, encouraging children to see the links between the knowledge they learn and the impact and affect it has on their own lives. 

By doing this, we give them a greater knowledge of their local area but also a voice with a sense of purpose and audience.

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