The primary goal of instruction should be to facilitate long-term learning - that is, to create relatively permanent changes in comprehension, understanding, and skills of the types that will support long-term retention and transfer.
Soderstrom and Bjork, 2005
Teaching and Learning
An evidence- informed approach to our curriculum design
It is important to us that our curriculum design and delivery provides all students with the skills and deep knowledge to achieve outstanding outcomes, preparing students for their further education pathways.
Our curriculum design ensures substantive knowledge is connected into a careful sequence so that prior knowledge is built upon to deepen students understanding and connections between concepts and across disciplines are integrated. Disciplinary knowledge is interwoven throughout our curriculum to develop multidisciplinary expertise and allow for a more effective transfer and synthesis of knowledge and skills.
Within our schema, the components needed to complete complex tasks and apply knowledge to ambitious composites are taught through expert modelling, retrieval of planned substantive knowledge with appropriate scaffolding and independent practice.
We use evidence-informed practices that support approaches to cognitive science, metacognition, and disciplinary literacy and incorporate these insights into curriculum planning as ways of supporting rigour, sequencing and coherence.
The research underpinning our curriculum includes:
- How our long-term memory is considered to be the central structure of human thinking (Clark, Kirschner and Sweller, 2012) and
- The principle that we learn new things in the context of what we already know (Willingham, 2009).
- The evidence currently best supporting this are retrieval practice and spaced (distributed) practice.
Based on this evidence our curriculum has:
- A curriculum that builds sequentially increasing in depth and challenge.
- Embedded regular opportunities for recall and retrieval.
- Key substantive and disciplinary knowledge made explicit and assessment that aligns closely with this.
We have recently taken part in two EEF research trials: