The curriculum, what we choose to teach in different subjects, is designed ultimately to lead students towards wisdom. Students are enabled, through the curriculum, to:
- Acquire knowledge and skills for a purpose and gain a solid understanding of the world in which they will live.
- Cultivate a strong character and the intellectual discipline to discern truth and apply their knowledge correctly.
The Emmanuel College curriculum is knowledge rich, where knowledge is defined as ‘that which we believe to be true’.
Within the curriculum, therefore, knowledge is the starting point for students’ understanding and application of anything that is taught.
We define application as how students utilise the knowledge they have been taught to demonstrate a ‘mastery’ over that subject, including key disciplinary skills.
All departments have a curriculum ‘intent’, reinforced by a more detailed philosophical statement of intent. This explains to staff, students and parents the aims of a department’s curriculum in terms of:
- What knowledge the students will be taught in this subject.
- What the students will be able to do and what kinds of young people the students will become as a result of discerning and applying knowledge correctly in this subject.
The intent statements have been written collaboratively by each department and are in line with the College’s overall curriculum design.
Every unit taught in each subject, and how that subject is delivered in the classroom, is motivated by, and grounded in, this intent.
The Emmanuel College curriculum is a coherent curriculum; it is designed in such a way that students are given the opportunity to encounter and learn knowledge at a point in their progression which enables them to make sense of the wider whole of the subject they are studying.
To aid this coherence, each unit of the curriculum in each subject has an intended target of the unit that provides a means of assessing whether students have gained the knowledge they need to move on. This is presented to students as a ‘key question’ to answer.
Within each unit of the curriculum ‘threshold concepts’, ideas that are essential to understanding if a student is to progress and answer the ‘key question’, are identified. This gives clarity over what is taught in lessons and is invaluable in identifying the misconceptions that students will come to this unit holding.
Finally, each unit of the curriculum identifies links to prior learning and has a knowledge and sequencing rationale explaining the overall ‘journey’ of the curriculum and how this unit fits into that journey.
When the curriculum delivered in the classroom, each taught unit has subject specific vocabulary that is explained to students. Throughout each unit, students are assessed in order to apply the knowledge that they have gained. ‘Knowledge organisers’ support students in gaining and retaining the knowledge they need to progress.
How does the curriculum support students?
The Emmanuel College curriculum:
- Explicitly identifies and is specific about the key elements of knowledge within individual units that are essential for students to understand the subject as a whole.
- Gives the space for retrieval and spaced practice so that students remember, and gain mastery over, the body of knowledge studied.
- Is planned coherently so that students can build their understanding of where the new knowledge they are encountering fits in a greater whole.
Conclusions: our commitment as a College
In summary the College is committed, for all students, to:
- An ambitious, coherent knowledge-rich curriculum that allows all students to acquire and apply knowledge and expertise, with a clear intent shared between staff and students.
- A straightforward delivery of said curriculum, prioritising expert teacher instruction and student retrieval and practice in the classroom and via homework, and exemplary teacher feedback as well as,
- The expert use of reliable assessments that accurately gauge students’ progress through the curriculum and serve the purpose for which they were created.