When looking at our curriculum, it is important to consider this in the context of our unique and special school community. We are, at heart, a Church of England School serving the community around us. Our vision and values underpin the decisions we make, whether that is about our curriculum or all the plethora of activities outside of the classroom. We are fortunate to be incredibly well supported by our multi-academy trust, the Ted Wragg Trust, and have shared schemes of learning and resources that enable us to share the best possible practice between and across schools. We aim to be at the cutting edge of teaching through the use of our adaptive digital learning platform, Sparx, which is based on cutting edge research into how children learn and how best to support teaching.
Why do we teach what we teach? We teach a curriculum that is:
- Integrated – builds over five years
- Rigorous – focuses on conceptual understanding
- Sequenced – spirals to allow revisiting of topics
- Cohesive – foundation and higher teach broadly the same topics at the same time
- Relevant– teachers can switch between H and F to suit individual needs of classes
We want all of our pupils to be able to take the next step in their educational and life journey through gaining the right skills and qualifications for success through achieving their best. This is more than just examination results: it also encompasses the problem solving and mathematical reasoning skills that run throughout the mathematics curriculum at St Luke’s.
Following a spiral curriculum enables pupils to master concepts and ideas, revisiting topics to ensure that a greater depth of knowledge is gained.
Key features of our curriculum:
- a curriculum that is ambitious for all pupils
- Pupils’ prior attainment does not limit their potential. Topics are taught to all sets at broadly the same time, allowing setting and tier of entry decisions to be fluid.
- Pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and to put no limits on their own understanding.
- a curriculum that is coherently planned and sequenced
- Sparx scheme of learning is sequenced in a way that ensures pupils revisit topics and concepts as a ‘spiral curriculum’ building their knowledge and skills cohesively over time.
- a curriculum that is successfully adapted, designed and developed for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities
- Within the Scheme of Learning there are different bands or levels that allow teachers to move between different levels of difficulty to best suit the needs of individuals and classes of pupils.
- Our curriculum is inclusive, the support built in from the very first lesson and throughout is there to help those of all backgrounds and abilities.
- a curriculum that is broad and balanced for all pupils.
Throughout the curriculum, pupils study all of the main ideas in mathematics (number, algebra, geometry, probability, ratio). We also include opportunities for learning beyond the classroom through UKMT maths challenges and a variety of mathematically minded clubs.
The intent of our curriculum is implemented through:
- Teaching for understanding – not surface fluency
- Being underpinned by Sparx
- Being driven by research from Craig Barton:
- Modelling & maximising working memory
- Regular quizzing
- Granular small steps
We want pupils to get a conceptual understanding of mathematics from their time with us. Our approach to teaching is underpinned by many of the central tenets of ‘mastery’. We ambitiously teach for understanding, not using tricks of gimmicks to only develop partial, or no, understanding of the underlying mathematical principles. Working collaboratively as a department, we constantly refine and develop our approach to teaching calculations so that pupils can genuinely understand the why and not just the how of mathematical processes.
It is our aim to embed problem solving and reasoning into the curriculum. We do this through using a variety of different sources of high level questions, including tasks which had a low threshold but high ceiling. These include, but are not limited to: the White Rose Maths exemplar questions; goal free problems; Don Steward and Craig Barton exercises; UKMT past questions and many other sources of high quality problem solving and reasoning material. Indeed, every curriculum team meeting begins with us solving a problem ourselves – it is important to us that we get to ‘do’ mathematics and experience problems from the point of view of our pupils.
The impact of our curriculum will be:
Formative assessment is embedded into all mathematics lessons. Teachers adapt their teaching based on assessment, whether this is more formal through exit cards or quizzes or through circulating and reviewing pupils’ work live during a lesson. Teachers’ formative assessment forms an important part of knowing our impact as a department. Spaced retrieval of topics in a weekly low-stakes quiz for all classes allows teachers to make judgements on learning over time, rather than in the moment performance, which can then be used to ensure that students learn more and understand more as their knowledge and skills build over time.
Our impact can also be seen through the summative assessment cycles and through GCE examination results. We are proud of the achievements of our pupils in the examination hall, but equally recognise that this is one part of recognising their success.
Fundamentally, our impact can be seen in the lifelong skills that pupils develop through our curriculum, allowing them to leave us taking an ambitious next step in their education and leaving them with the skills to be successful and competent at life.
The big questions
The big questions posed by our curriculum are:
- How does using numbers help us to better understand and explain the natural world?
- How do we get order from chaos?
- How can we visualise and model the world around us?
- Why is it important to have a sense of the parts and the whole?
- How can we predict and challenge events?
- How can we understand data about the world around us?
5 Year Plan
St Luke’s is a wonderful place.
A school full of staff who are dedicated to improving the life chances of every student that attends the school.
Kealey Sherwood, Headteacher