Powerful knowledge for all
Powerful knowledge is the idea that there exists knowledge – the best knowledge available – that all pupils should be granted access to, regardless of background or ability. By creating a knowledge-rich curriculum, we will impart knowledge to children that will help make the next piece of learning possible and we enable children to evaluate, analyse and synthesise using their knowledge. Without a core knowledge behind them, these skills within Bloom’s Taxonomy remain unreachable. As Dylan William says, ‘(the) Purpose of curriculum is to build up the content of long-term memory so that when students are asked to think, they are able to think in more powerful ways.’ Furthermore, we also know that pupils with strong background knowledge are far more able to read challenging texts with confidence and, most importantly, clear understanding. A knowledge-rich curriculum therefore supports and is supported by excellent reading practice. With this in mind, it becomes largely self-evident that knowledge within the curriculum planning process is detailed and specified. As such, we set out the knowledge and vocabulary to be learnt, ensuring progression and coherence through the school. Teachers are very clear about what should be learnt in each subject and we like to teach fewer things in greater depth. It is also important that pupils remember this knowledge, as we know that new information can get lost in our long term memory, if we fail to make it ‘stick.’ Our pedagogical approach is designed to support pupils to remember the key aspects of what they are taught over the long term. We believe that the more children know, the more they can learn. For some children, especially the most disadvantaged, school is often the only place where they have the opportunity to gain knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary that will enable them to learn effectively alongside their peers and succeed in the long term. However, we want our curriculum to move beyond knowledge transmission. We want our pupils to build upon knowledge to ensure that they know what to do with it; it is not simply an exercise in cramming facts into their minds. We want them to be able to apply knowledge, consider, weigh, analyse, evaluate, create and adapt. We want them to learn how to be wise, not just well-informed.
Explore our other Curriculum Principles: