In its simplest terms our curriculum statement sets out what we are going to teach and explains why we are teaching it and why we are choosing to teach it in that order. We want it to be delivered by a great teacher in every classroom.
We aim to provide an excellent education for all and ensure that there is an excellent teacher in every classroom. The Lipson curriculum is designed to provide all students with the core knowledge in every subject that is the foundation for success.
At the heart of the curriculum lies deep respect and passion for the subjects we teach and for the insight that each provides into the wider world. We teach students how to think, how to criticise and how to be active rather than passive recipients of information. We aim for every child to be stretched but for no child to be left behind. We enable students, from no matter what starting point or background, to feel secure in their learning. Our curriculum has been designed to meet the needs of our learners and is built on these five principles:
- Learners are at the centre: We must meet the needs of all to ensure progress is secured.
- Independent and inter-dependent study habits: We ensure our students are equipped to become life-long learners.
- Mastery of subject knowledge and skills: we want all students to achieve a full understanding of the knowledge specified in the curriculum for each year, and teaching should not move on until it is achieved. Skilful formative and summative assessments enable this and ensure that the teacher and the student know exactly where they are.
- Progress through stability: We do not constantly change the curriculum, but we often tweak it in light of feedback and experience. The Lipson Knowledge Organisers- researched in 2018 and new in 2019 for all years are one example of high-quality resources used to support learning.
- Positive and enjoyable learning experience: We want classrooms that bring knowledge to life, provide context, humour and episodic, memorable moments. We want children to have fun too. The simplicity of our reformed behaviour for learning system, ‘Be Positive, Be Engaged, Be Respectful, Be Kind’ ensures that we are striving for a positive learning experience for all.
The curriculum for each year group (7-13) can be accessed here. The curriculum for each subject outlines the knowledge and skills for each term highlighted in the subject road maps for each year group. Formal written assessments are also known as end-point plans and are undertaken every half term. Parents currently receive one written report for each subject each year. Written formal assessments play less-of-a role in subjects such as KS 3 PE, Drama and music. We have a two-year Key Stage 3 and a three-year Key Stage 4. We believe that this gives our students the best chance of success without narrowing the curriculum too much.
A typical Lipson lesson will see all students grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for students who need it. Rather than moving on to new content, higher attainers are expected to produce work of greater depth and flair that secure them the highest outcomes. Teaching & learning supports the curriculum by ensuring lessons build on prior learning and provide the opportunity for guided, then independent practice. Impactful ‘starters’ are embedded and the introduction of low-stakes-no-threat testing ensure the building of individual and collective confidence to retain information and knowledge. We have introduced a Teaching & Learning Research Group which is driven by staff and ensures that our teaching is evidence based and underpinned by the sharing of good practice. Our basic lesson structure is consistent whilst allowing variation across the differing context of subjects.
We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and expanding vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Whilst our teachers teach the meaning of subject-specific language and plan for challenging reading and writing, we also have a fully implemented guided reading tutorial programme Year 7-13. Curriculum plans provide students and parents with key information and vocabulary for each subject. We are evolving an ‘engaged reading culture'. Personal development and enrichment are also highly valued as part of the wider curriculum. The enrichment and personal development opportunities for each year group, and the whole school, can be accessed here.
Lipson has developed a bank of high-quality summative assessments which exemplify how our learners are rapidly developing their understanding of their subject areas. These assessments are taken 5/6 times a year and allow subject teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson. The positive impact of ongoing and effective formative assessment evidences that the students are growing in confidence and high engagement levels exist across all subject areas. Students are developing a passion and fluency for each subject area. This means that in lessons students are quizzed on prior knowledge to embed this knowledge into their long-term memory, freeing up the working memory to focus on current learning and make the links required to prior learning. As a result, whole school results are improving rapidly 7-11 and in most areas of KS 5.
Every child has the right to a challenging and engaging curriculum and to be taught be a great teacher. By teaching this curriculum well, and developing effective learning in all students, we ensure a positive education for all.