Torpoint Community College provides learners with a broad curriculum with the intention to empower students with the knowledge and understanding to become “Inspired Optimistic Learners”. The knowledge and skills achieved by students will equip them for their chosen lives ahead. Every subject is planned through a sequenced structure in which knowledge is taught to be learned -not merely encountered. KS3 is not considered as a conveyor belt to GCSE, but an opportunity for students to master aspects of the subject discipline through experiencing high quality explanations, plenty of time dedicated to practice and lots of opportunities to retrieve and review.
Students begin their learning with a 3 year KS3 framework in which students build on their knowledge and understanding from KS2 and learn knowledge that will fully prepare them for their KS4 option choices. The knowledge and content learnt at KS2 is revisited and contextual knowledge that facilitates success at KS4 is embedded with the aim of consolidating, extending and challenging individual learning.
The curriculum narrative contains a 2 year KS4 framework in which students are able to select a range of subjects in addition to English, Mathematics and Science (combined or separate) to further build on their knowledge and understanding, enabling each student to acquire a “deep body of knowledge” for their next stage of education.
The curriculum culminates with a 2 year KS5 framework in which students are able to select subjects to deepen their knowledge and understanding for their chosen next stage.
Our STEAM Subjects
Inspiring Optimistic Learners
We are committed to the belief that:
When our students tells us “I can’t do…” or “I’m not clever enough to do…”, we simply respond with the word “yet”. Our vision is Inspiring Optimistic Leaners and a key aspect of this is ensuring that every student knows that we believe in their capacity to succeed. One of the ways we achieve this is by building their cultural capital.
Cultural capital is a term that refers to the intellectual assets that people have that allow them to be successful humans. In short, knowing important things about the world has value – not only in increasing the employability of young people, but also helping them to be the smartest version of themselves. We are therefore committed to trying to increase the cultural capital of our students so that they know a lot and are equipped to understand and shape the world they live in. Some students ask “what’s the point of learning about…”, but at TCC we believe that there is intrinsic value in knowing. Knowing why Shakespeare is such an important writer; knowing how historical leaders have achieved power – and used it for good and bad; knowing how to speak another language. The list could go on, but in every subject we think carefully about what we teach our students to empower them now and in the future.
Our understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the following wording in the national curriculum: ‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’
At Torpoint Community College
Increasing cultural capital is not just about:
Increasing cultural capital is:
- Guest speakers
- Enrichment sessions
Thinking about how every single lesson in every single subject builds and revisits high value knowledge over time
KS3 – Years 7-9
The focus in year 7 is building on the knowledge students acquired at KS2 and introducing the core concepts and ideas that underpin future understanding.
We want to illuminate students’ understanding of the world and the concepts they will study.
Year 8 builds upon the learning in year 7 with additional challenge built in to extend students’ thinking.
We ensure that children have to ‘think hard’ in all of their lessons.
Year 9 operates more as a bridging year in which students develop a deep understanding of knowledge that underpins success at GCSE. They do not complete exam papers or work to GCSE assessment objectives, but are likely to be asked to produce work that links to future GCSE requirements.
Across all 3 years, we use regular retrieval tasks to develop mastery and help students to store knowledge in their long term memory. We constantly assess student learning to ensure understanding before moving on.
Our Approach To Curriculum Design
Knowledge is taught to be learned not encountered – performance is not the same as learning: learning refers to relatively permanent changes in knowledge or behaviour; performance, on the other hand, refers to temporary fluctuations in knowledge or behaviour that can be measured or observed during (or shortly after) instruction. Our curriculum is designed to ensure students build well developed knowledge schema that enable them to learn effectively. We have high expectations of all students and we expect them to know things- and to be able to demonstrate this through a mixture of low and high stakes quizzes immediately after content has been taught and some time after being taught.
Vertical sequencing – the curriculum in every subject is designed with a focus on the knowledge that is taught, retrieved and built upon from one year to the next. It is not always logistically possible to dictate an order in which units are covered each year, but important to ensure that expected knowledge is clearly defined for all teachers so that they can ensure it is learned by all students and that this can be built upon by future teachers.
A three year KS3 is at the heart of what we do – although KS3 is designed to equip students with the knowledge needed to thrive at GCSE, this does not define their learning experience.
We prioritise declarative and procedural knowledge – declarative knowledge represents the facts and information that we want all students to have secured in their long term memories to facilitate their success as learners. Procedural knowledge refers to the things we want them to be able to do—often to enable them to present their declarative knowledge effectively. Acquisition of this needs to be carefully constructed over time with students having time to regularly practise writing at sentence level before this is scaled up to sustained paragraphs and then whole text composition.
Vocabulary is mapped in every subject – teachers have clearly defined vocabulary that all children should be taught. This is not designed as an exhaustive list but to represent a core lexis that will allow students to express the academic complexities of each subject. Explicit vocabulary instruction is a regular part of student learning as teachers use definitions and etymologies to support students to increase their word wealth.
STEAM Deep Learning at Torpoint Community College
The curriculum is at the heart of the College vision and values. The intent is to provide a progressive curriculum that enables students and staff to build on their knowledge and understanding, resulting in a “deep sequenced learning experience” for all.
Inspiring Optimistic Learners – the College curriculum is the “key driver” of the College vision.
Respect, Prepare and Focus
Deep learning at Torpoint Community College, is defined as “an alteration in long-term memory”:
Recognising the importance of teaching domain specific knowledge and creating knowledge schemas in the long term memory of students, allowing them to learn like experts rather than novices
Valuing the teaching of declarative and procedural knowledge
Fostering knowledge dependent skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and creativity
Acknowledging the importance of facilitating automaticity of core skills (for example times tables, verbs and tenses)
The intent, implementation and impact of the curriculum at Torpoint Community College can be shown as the following “structure and narrative”:
|The Curriculum framework|
|The Tutor Programme and Reading|
|PSHE and Careers (including Work Experience)|
|The Tutor Programme, Rights Respecting Schools and Enrichment (including Health and Wellbeing week)|
|Literacy and Numeracy|
What type of young people do we want to develop from the College curriculum?
Torpoint Community College provides learners with a broad curriculum** with the intention to provide students with the knowledge and understanding to become “Inspired Optimistic Life-Long Learners”. The knowledge and skills achieved by students will equip them for their chosen lives ahead. The College is committed to the CPD of staff as it is recognised that learning is a life-long experience and journey.
A seven year narrative
KS3 – The curriculum is built around “STEAM” during a 3 year KS3 framework. The intent is that students build on their knowledge and understanding from KS2 and further scaffold their “long term memory” during this period to fully prepare for their KS4 option choices. The knowledge and content learnt at KS2 is revisited and contextual knowledge that facilitates success at KS4 is embedded with the aim of consolidating, extending and challenging individual learning.
KS4 – The curriculum narrative contains a 2 year KS4 framework in which students are able to select a range of subjects in addition to English, Mathematics and Science (combined or separate) to further build on their knowledge and understanding, enabling each student to acquire a “deep body of knowledge” for their next stage of education.
KS5 – The curriculum culminates with a 2 year KS5 framework in which students are able to select subjects to deepen their knowledge and understanding for their chosen next stage.
The curriculum intent and design
Each part of the curriculum, the subjects, has a planned intent, implementation and impact through a sequenced scaffolding structure, where every subject is integral to ensuring a high quality curriculum provision; learning is designed with: clear intentions; a scaffolded structure for implementation and a strong vision for impact over time. The approach to designing learning is based on the principle that skills and knowledge are “sticky”, providing a deep learning experience for students.
The term STEAM can be used to describe the curriculum in terms of knowledge, learning and remembering:
From a scientific spin, the atoms of steam are moving rapidly, colliding and reacting, providing a visual model of deep learning.
STEAM can also be thought of in terms of a “STEAM ship” – a vessel moving forward cutting through water, driving forward, encountering new environments.
At Torpoint Community College the curriculum is not confused with assessment and qualifications. The curriculum is not narrowed, but a broad range of subjects are taught and offered to all students. There is vast curriculum knowledge and expertise at the College and teachers are committed to consistently developing their pedagogical expertise. Students have the opportunity to apply to the UTC and the Scott medical and healthcare College for a more specific and narrowed curriculum of their choice.
The curriculum at Torpoint Community College provides students with stability in education, through bold leadership, ethical leadership and community leadership. Curriculum gaming and off rolling has no part to play in the curriculum framework at this College. The distinction of the curriculum at Torpoint Community College is that a broad curriculum is offered, including a 3 year KS3 framework to ensure students are not starved of the National Curriculum before making choices for their future.