Requires Improvement to Good: Town Junior School (Feb 2020)

School Name: Town Junior School
Used Cornerstones since: April 2019
Case study focus: Curriculum transformation and inspection confidence

Requires Improvement to Good: Town Junior School (Feb 2020)

School Name: Town Junior School
Used Cornerstones since: April 2019
Case study focus: Curriculum transformation and inspection confidence


Schools already using Cornerstones


Schools worked with us on the development of Curriculum Maestro

Managing a curriculum from EYFS through to KS2 is difficult, and when schools are faced with the challenges of a ‘requires improvement’ judgement, it is essential that the schools’ curriculum can show a clear model of progression.

Having received a disappointing Ofsted report in 2017, Town Junior school needed to better foster curriculum links with the feeder infant school. They found that the infant school was working with Cornerstones and decided to see for themselves how it might work for them and help them build on what children had learned in EYFS and KS1.

We spoke to the headteacher Adrienne Smith about their experience of working with Cornerstones and how they used Curriculum Maestro to help them to build a well-designed curriculum from the EYFS through to the end of KS2.

‘Being able to get good under the new framework is hard to do, and Cornerstones was a part of that for us. You don’t need to be spending hours checking who’s doing what, where and when if you use it fully, all of that is done for you. Cornerstones is that backup.’ Adrienne Smith

Easing into a new curriculum

After some initial training, the Town team grew in confidence in using Maestro to create a curriculum that would build on what children had learned in the infants. One immediate benefit the school felt was how easy it was to customise their curriculum using Curriculum Maestro. ‘We could clearly pick out what we wanted and were able to put in our intent easily’.

Having started with Cornerstones in the Summer term, the school says that children swiftly adapted to the new material and were highly engaged with the topics. ‘We quickly realised that the children loved it and were able to talk really clearly and confidently about what they were learning.’

Moving into the Autumn term, Town were able to push the new curriculum even further. Access to Maestro meant that they had access to everything they needed to teach the curriculum. ‘We found that there was just so much of it’ Adrienne Smith said.

Getting ‘that’ call

On return from the Christmas break, Town got the call from Ofsted three weeks into January.

Subject leaders felt confident they were able to demonstrate how the curriculum was designed, and the way that it flowed from one year group to the next. The children shone as they spoke about their experiences with the new curriculum. ‘The children spoke beautifully to those inspectors. And you could see how that learning linked back to what they had learned in the terms before.’

The children being so engaged with the work was clear to the inspectors. ‘They came down with their books and they were just full of it. Cornerstones gives the children everything that they need to be able to support in an Ofsted inspection, but also just in general in that they can talk confidently about how it applies to last year and how it links into all these things. And I do think that’s important because if they’re not engaged in that curriculum, it’s not going to come out, and the inspectors aren’t going to be able to pick up that the curriculum ignites them and enthuses them.’

Having the entire school population, children and teachers putting on a united front was key to Town’s Ofsted success. ‘They spoke to the children, and they spoke to the subject leaders. They spoke to senior leaders to check that we knew what was being taught, why we were teaching it and how we were teaching it. It all mattered, and really all fitted together.’

A new curriculum for 2022

Moving over to the new 2022 curriculum (now available on Maestro) is challenging, as Adrienne admitted. ‘But the staff really love it and the children have loved it too. It’s a very different way of teaching and because we love the other way, it’s been tricky for us. But I would say again that everything is there for you on Cornerstones. And I think it will be much clearer for subject leaders to be able to speak to us about it.’

Using Curriculum Pro for increased learning opportunities

Being able to make use of Maestro’s new feature, CurriculumPRO has also been useful for the school in building up a comprehensive and cohesive curriculum. ‘You could actually see really clearly how it all builds up and what that coverage is. I love the fact that you’ve got the vocab in there too.’ Ofsted aside, CurriculumPRO also enriches the learning for the children. ‘The opportunities for the children have improved a lot’ Adrienne said.

Supporting teachers to do what they do best

Being Ofsted ready is one thing, but what really matters goes far beyond inspection. The day-to-day design and management of the curriculum is much more enjoyable for teachers and subject leaders alike when using Curriculum Maestro and CurriculumPRO. ‘Cornerstones have really taken the pressure off’ Adrienne Smith said.

Town are now able to provide a much more cohesive curriculum, which is rich in learning opportunities for children, but has also given the teachers the space they need to do what they’re best at, and that’s teach with enthusiasm and confidence.

If you’d like to find out more about how Cornerstones can help you, get in touch today.

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    We are in a much better place with CM than with our old curriculum. We will be making it more bespoke in the second year.

    Conrad Fox – Headteacher, Hunmanby Primary School, England


    I have used Cornerstones from its first launch. The product has been refined over time as it is driven by feedback from schools and teachers delivering the content. The company is also responsive to a school's needs.

    Lindsey Wain – Deputy headteacher, Hartburn Primary School, England


    Maestro is a real time saver, particularly for leadership teams and subject leaders. There is a wealth of information and resources which can be used and adapted by creative skills teachers. The way the curriculum is mapped is excellent and was commented on in a very recent Ofsted inspection.

    Charlotte Gibbins – Thurlstone Primary School, England


    I have recommended and told many other schools and school staff about it. I would always though suggest that they need to ensure it is right for their school setting and the needs of their staff and pupils.

    Kathryn – Teacher, Langton Primary School


    It has been a revelation. Staff are finding their way through it and if we have any questions, the support from Cornerstones is amazing. We always get answers to our questions. It is now our one-stop-shop for curriculum with linked up thinking and approach through an intuitive and user-friendly system.

    Moira Cross – Executive head, Dordon Primary School