A couple of schools in Llanelli were using Cornerstones and some teachers had been talking about their new, exciting curriculum. When we were looking at updating our schemes of work in 2015, we contacted Cornerstones. It was at a time when Cornerstones was moving away from just new ideas to a more web-based, total curriculum. We were given some of the old projects to practise on and then started for real with the new Cornerstones Curriculum.
Alignment with school aims and values
Cornerstones’ is a flexible, balanced curriculum that promotes learning by engaging the children, so that they want to find out more. There are lots of lovely ideas to motivate and inspire the children with themes for all aspects of the curriculum. It is broad and balanced, with different learning styles encouraged. The resources are professional and can be used in a range of lessons for differing abilities. There are also home learning ideas, book lists and fun facts that help to engage the whole family.
The modern themes and topics engage the children and inspire them to want to investigate the themes further. This is important, as we have to compete with the games and TV channels that the children are familiar with.
Impact on workload and planning
Cornerstones saved us days and days of planning time and, even then, it would have been difficult to have such a wide scope of lessons of this quality. It is also easy to see the range of skills covered in every class.
It gives teaching staff support and fresh, lively ideas for lessons. Some staff are less confident in certain areas of the curriculum and having suggestions for art, science, music lessons, and so on, takes the fear away, leaving them confident in delivering these subjects.
There are lots of lesson ideas that help teachers and teaching assistants, which means that they don’t have to start from scratch. There are many inventive, thought-provoking lessons that can be developed and extended to suit the children in the school setting.
Nothing is set in stone, so there is flexibility and creativity, which helps newly-qualified teachers and experienced teachers alike. No two classes are the same, and what might work for one might need something different for the other. This is possible with Cornerstones without having to start over.
Planning ahead with Cwricwlwm Maestro
We’ve had some whole school training on how Cwricwlwm Maestro works. There are so many areas to explore, which can help reduce workload. Teaching staff and SLT are playing with it to create a curriculum that suits the needs of our school and the new curriculum.
From what we have seen so far, Cwricwlwm Maestro will save weeks of planning. It is web-based, so easy to access from home or school. It is also flexible and easy to add your own lesson and ideas to, which is useful for the new way of working.