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Curriculum Design and Key Concepts

At Diamond Wood Community Academy we have designed an ambitious, flexible, spiral curriculum which allows all pupils to create a broad range of opportunities and memorable experiences which are underpinned by our five core values, alongside our chosen key themes.

Overarching whole school topics have been planned to ensure the progression of skills, knowledge, experiences and vocabulary across school. This also allows pupils to develop strong links and connections between the things they learn. In turn, this allows them to ‘remember more’, ‘know more’ and ‘do more’.

The curriculum is topic based, however subjects are explicitly taught. This is obviously different in the Early Years, where children focus on the Prime and Specific areas of learning. However, the knowledge and skills that pupils are taught within the EYFS underpins all of this learning and is carefully planned to ensure progression across school and beyond.   

A Visual Representation of our Whole School Curriculum

Our Curriculum Design Process

Click here to download this information as a document.

School Context and Cultural Capital

Diamond Wood Community Academy is committed to embracing our school context and cultural capital. We recognise that our pupils come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of cultural experiences. Our subject-specific curricula reflect this diversity and provide opportunities for pupils to explore and appreciate different cultures, while celebrating their own.

We ensure that our subject curricula integrate culturally relevant content and resources, promoting inclusivity and fostering a positive learning environment. Through our curriculum, we aim to develop students' cultural awareness, respect, and understanding, equipping them with the skills to engage in a global society.

Our Curriculum Design: Progression between DWCA and Ravensthorpe Junior school
The document available for download below has been created following discussions between the SLT at both DWCA and Ravensthorpe Junior School which is our local feeder school. The aim of discussions was to ensure progression of knowledge and skills within all subject areas across the two schools. In addition, subject leaders from both schools have continued opportunities to meet and share their specific curriculum intents and the corresponding documentation. These professional working relationships are now well established and they will continue to meet regularly to share updates, successes and examples of best practice.

The Junior School SLT explained that they have many subject specialist teachers in school which supported their decisions to create their own schemes of work within most subjects. At DWCA we, unfortunately, do not have as many subject specialists (Science only at present) but all of our leaders are extremely passionate and strive for excellence in developing their own strengths within the subjects. This is a main factor in why we have chosen to use existing effective schemes in the subjects identified below. They are used to support leaders and teachers with their own continuous professional development. Improvements and impact are evident and confidence has risen considerably amongst staff. Specific rationales for all adopted schemes of work are available on the subject specific pages on our school website.

It is worth noting that the Junior School follow a thematic approach and have different topics each half term. Subjects are still taught explicitly. This is the approach we take at DWCA and so pupils are used to this model of curriculum design when they leave us and go to the Juniors.

The document outlines the different approaches or schemes of work in place for each subject across the two schools. Discussions have taken place about these curriculum design rationales and any core concepts and threads within each subject to ensure precise and effective progression. As Senior Leaders within both schools, we are confident that we are achieving this. These discussions and ongoing developments are ensuring that at Diamond Wood Community Academy we are providing pupils with the firm foundations and building blocks for their future learning.

To download this information please click here.

Our Golden Thread Approach to Curriculum Intent and Implementation

At Diamond Wood Community Academy, we recognise the value and importance of having clearly defined concepts in our subject curriculums. Our ‘Golden Thread’ principle is implemented to ensure coherence, progression, and deepening understanding across the curriculum, driven by our carefully chosen concepts. Teachers make links between prior learning, current learning, and future learning, ensuring a smooth transition and building on children's prior knowledge and skills. Having clearly defined concepts in our subject curriculums is essential for several reasons:

Golden Thread: Core Values

Our whole school values of friendship, respect, honesty, cooperation, and responsibility have been carefully chosen to underpin our school ethos and guide the behaviour of all members of our school community. These values are crucial for young learners, especially those from a multicultural and diverse background such as the context of our school, as they provide a universal framework for understanding and navigating a complex and interconnected world. We embed our core values within all aspects of school life. This includes actively promoting them through teaching and learning, and ensuring all members of the school community model them consistently. We strive to promote parental and community involvement in reinforcing the our core values, ensuring a unified approach to nurturing the children's social, moral, spiritual, and cultural development.

Golden Thread: Key Themes

At our school, we believe in designing a curriculum that promotes holistic development and prepares our pupils for their future. We have carefully selected the following key themes to underpin all aspects of school life, from the Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 1. These themes are not only important for academic learning but also for fostering social, emotional, and cultural understanding, particularly taking into consideration the context of our school community. Our rationale and justification for choosing these key themes are rooted in providing an exceptional educational experience for our pupils.

Golden Thread: Overarching Whole School Topics

The implementation of our whole school overarching topics aims to provide a cohesive and enriching learning experience for all pupils within the EYFS and KS1. While the topics promote cross-curricular links, it is emphasised that these connections are made judiciously, ensuring that subjects are taught explicitly and in-depth. The distinct nature of each subject is maintained. Our spiral curriculum design ensures that as pupils progress from Nursery to Year 2, their understanding of the overarching topics continues to deepen, building upon previous knowledge and experiences.

Our thematic approach aligns with the feeder junior school's curriculum, promoting a seamless transition for pupils as they progress through their education. This collaboration aims to maintain consistency and progression in learning experiences, fostering a continuum of knowledge and skills.

Our curriculum design emphasises a broad and balanced approach, catering to the holistic development of pupils and promoting a rigorous and inclusive learning environment for all. With over 80% of our pupils being EAL learners, it is crucial to provide an educational framework that fosters language acquisition and cultural integration. Whole school overarching topics allow for the exploration of themes that are relatable and engaging for EAL learners, thereby enhancing their language development and understanding of the curriculum.

In addition, high mobility within our pupil body necessitates a cohesive approach to learning that ensures continuity despite frequent transitions. Whole school overarching topics provide a consistent and connected curriculum, minimising the impact of pupil mobility on learning outcomes.

Subject Specific Substantive and Disciplinary Concepts

At Diamond Wood Community Academy, we believe that a well-planned curriculum should provide children with the knowledge, skills, and understanding they need to thrive academically and personally. Therefore, we have carefully designed our curriculum to ensure that it encompasses both the substantive and disciplinary subject specific concepts.

Substantive Concepts refer to the key knowledge and understanding that children need to acquire within each subject. They form the foundation of subject-specific learning and provide the building blocks for further exploration and application. Substantive concepts ensure that children gain a secure understanding of the content and key facts within a subject area. 

Disciplinary Concepts focus on the skills and processes associated with each subject. They encourage children to think critically, solve problems, and apply their knowledge in real-life situations. Disciplinary concepts help children develop a deep understanding of a subject and enable them to become independent learners.

For more information regarding the concepts we have included within each of our subject-specific curriculums please visit the respective webpages.

To view all of our Golden Thread and Key Concepts information as a document click please here.