The Creative Curriculum
At Westgate Hill Primary Academy, we have worked hard with teachers, parents and pupils to develop a unique curriculum, bespoke to our school, in order to inspire children’s thirst for knowledge and life-long learning.
We recognise the importance of a rich and varied vocabulary for all children in order to improve academic outcomes (see “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3,” by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley).
Analysis of assessment data supports our view that vocabulary development should be at the core of everything we do. With this in mind, we have created a curriculum that is language-rich, allowing children from our community to build upon the strong foundations of what they already know and to have brand new experiences, expanding their horizons.
Our creative curriculum, developed for Westgate Hill, by Westgate Hill, has been designed in order to nurture and encourage natural curiosity. All the most recent research (Learning Sciences and Brain Research Project, OECD 2004) demonstrates that the most effective, memorable learning is learning that affects the emotions.
For this reason, we have developed our BRAVE curriculum: Bold, Relevant, Aspirational, Varied and Engaging. Pupils will explore different texts, characters and historical situations through a variety of drama techniques. They will also practise and refine their presentation and performance skills by learning poems, scripts, songs and dances to perform for peers and parents.
Our BRAVE Curriculum
We have taken a thematic approach to our curriculum, grouping individual subjects into three themes that are taught across the year: ‘Create’, ‘Discover’ and ‘Explore’. These themes are big, bold and full of possibilities. We encourage the children to ask ‘What if..?’
Our themes reflect where we live and our unique school community. For this reason, each topic has a geographical or cultural link, allowing children to contextualise their learning.
At our school, we have high expectations of all learners, and this is reflected in the quality of work, both in pupils’ books and on display. We are aspirational for our pupils, encouraging them to broaden their horizons through the themes and topics we cover. Our language-rich curriculum will support pupils in their aspirations by developing their vocabulary.
We recognise the importance of developing active learners with independent learning habits, in order to prepare them for the future. With this in mind, we allow children the opportunity to work in different ways and in different environments.
Crucially, it is important that all children are engaged in and stimulated by our curriculum. Each theme memorably starts with a ‘Big Bang Topic Launch’. This is an event that serves to fully immerse the learners in the theme for that half term. All learners, no matter what their proficiency in English, will have a concept upon which to base their learning.
As mentioned earlier, our creative curriculum is organised into three broad themes: Create, Explore and Discover. Within each theme are two topics, carefully selected to motivate and inspire children.
Within the Create theme, children will be taught the practical skills of designing and making products in order to meet an identified need using creativity and imagination. Pupils will learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens.
Children will learn the skills of drawing, painting, sculpture and textile design. They will learn about the artwork of great artists and craftspeople and know-how art and design reflect and shape our history and contribute to the culture and creativity of our nation. Finally, pupils will perform, listen to, understand and explore a range of music and develop a critical engagement with music. The create theme will support pupils in exploring their creativity and talent and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.
The Discover theme will fire pupils’ curiosity to learn more about the past. Pupils will learn to ask perceptive questions and think critically. In every topic within this theme children will: order events in time; find differences and similarities; identify causes and consequences; and compare different historical periods.
They will use a range of sources to evaluate their usefulness and communicate their understanding. All classes will aim to link ‘then’ with ‘now’. This theme allows pupils to see the diversity of human experience, and understand more about themselves as individuals and members of society. What they learn can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values.
Our Explore theme inspires in our pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. Learning in our Explore topics is about understanding the world by comparing locations; investigating; researching different sources; writing and talking about places; and asking and answering questions.
Children learn about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments while developing a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Children will learn many transferable skills, such as research, observation, measurement, recording and presentation.