Curriculum Big Ideas
It is vital that the knowledge and skills children learn are co-ordinated and coherent. In order to achieve this in our curriculum, we have identified the key concepts or overarching ideas within each subject. To enable the children to access them, we call these the ‘Big Ideas’.
Pupils’ intellectual development and knowledge-retention is supported by structuring learning according to these carefully selected ‘Big Ideas’, returning to them frequently, giving context and familiar language on which to build new learning. It is essential that these ‘Big Ideas’ are continually consolidated and reinforced in order to create an organised, easily-understood and progressive structure of learning. This principle is about making connections and referring to a bigger picture. Future learning, authentic cross-curricular understanding and the detail of deeper learning take place within this coherent structure.
We have created a coherent, structured curriculum by explicitly planning to return to these concepts frequently throughout Key Stage 1 and Key stage 2. Reinforcing these concepts through repetition is the key to improving pupils’ retention and supporting future learning through the context of familiar ideas.
The ‘Big Ideas’ relate to elements within a subject discipline, such as ‘observation’ in science, or refer to important concepts that contribute to pupils’ personal and social development, including ‘diversity’ in geography and ‘innovation’ in history. It is essential that the ‘Big Ideas’ within each subject are understood by the children and become part of their common classroom language. This is achieved by using the ‘Big Ideas’ in subject-specific displays, explaining the ‘Big Ideas’ verbally and referring to them in lesson plans and by enabling the curriculum ambassadors to explain them in their own words.