A Knowledge Based Curriculum is at the heart of what we do
A knowledge-rich curriculum places powerful knowledge at the heart of the curriculum. The knowledge content is carefully chosen and organised in a coherent way, ensuring it builds from year to year. In this way, the knowledge in the curriculum is cumulative, constructing firm foundations from which children can build conceptual understanding and skills over time.
The National Curriculum 2014 encouraged schools to place more emphasis on teaching knowledge. Thinkers such as E.D Hirsch, Daniel Willingham and Dylan Wiliam have influenced how knowledge is considered in the curriculum. Schools are now asking questions about what content should be taught, in what order, and also reflecting upon what children remember and how they remember it. Importantly, findings from cognitive science are beginning to influence practice in the classroom. The Primary Knowledge Curriculum has been developed in line with current thinking on how children learn.
For us, a knowledge-rich curriculum is an entitlement for every child, regardless of background. Curriculum coherence ensures that teaching does not jump from topic to topic, from ‘Under the Sea’ to ‘Superheroes’, but enables children to develop knowledge, and love of subjects. Subject content is crucial to this approach- the content provides the engagement and plants the seeds for a lifetime of learning.
An essential element of a knowledge curriculum is the development of a broad and rich vocabulary, and the ambitious and explicit teaching of this. The vocabulary content of the Primary Knowledge Curriculum has been planned with the purpose of addressing the ‘word gap’ for children who enter school with a limited vocabulary.
Diamond Academy is a vibrant and exciting community where pupils are given wonderful opportunities to learn, develop and shine. We aim to develop independent, confident, independent, confident learners who have high aspirations who make positive contributions to our Thetford community as well as to our wider society. We provide children with a rich and engaging educational experience. This provision ensures that our children develop a love of learning and become well-rounded individuals with a very wide range of skills. This aspiration and ambition underpins everything and our values-based ethos gives our children a strong sense of purpose.
We provide a highly inclusive environment where all learners enjoy their education with all pupils being helped to achieve their potential. We challenge every learner to expand their skills and knowledge through a range of curriculum experiences. Children who find learning more difficult are given targeted support to embed skills and knowledge in order to develop at their own pace.
At Diamond, we believe children learn from their own experiences and this starts from an early age. Discovery, exploration and adventure are a key part of our Key Stage 2 curriculum and this includes taking full advantage of our Forest School - something that we are investing heavily in as an essential tool in improving outcomes for our pupils. Research endorses the fact that children are stimulated by the outdoors and also experience, over time, an increase in their self-belief, confidence, learning capacity, enthusiasm, communication and problem-solving skills.
Every child at Diamond is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We constantly provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that childhood should be a happy, investigate and enquiring time in our lives where there are no limits to curiosity and there is a thirst for new experiences and knowledge. We acknowledge the importance of new and evolving vocabulary and oracy skills. Reading is prioritised to allow the children to access the full curriculum. Mathematical fluency and confidence in numeracy are also regarded as preconditions of success.
Children’s learning is enhanced by a wide range of enrichment opportunities, including projects undertaken in partnership with the local businesses and charity organisations. We involve parents in the children’s learning at every possibility.
We are also proud of the range of extra-curricular provision in our school. Every child is encouraged to participate in a club. The academy provides a breakfast club, 'Toast and Talk' for pupils that can benefit most from a shared social experience to start their day.
Diamond's curriculum development is designed to ensure coverage and progression and provides our children with memorable experiences alongside diverse and rich experiences from which children can learn and develop transferable skills. We seek to raise aspirations, engender a sense of pride in personal achievement and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.
During their time at Diamond Academy, all pupils have opportunities to participate in a range of visits and trips including a residential outdoor education programme as well as to theatres and museums.
Subject leaders are an essential part in ensuring the success of the curriculum by leading a programme of monitoring, evaluation and review. Enjoyment of our curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour.
As proud members of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, a family of schools and a supportive network of educational expertise, we work very closely not only with other schools locally but also our partner schools within the Trust across the East of England.