Episode 47: Deep dives: How to achieve subject coverage and progression

Deep dives How to achieve subject coverage and progression
Podchaser - The Curriculum


To discuss a topic brought to the fore by Ofsted’s ‘deep dive’ approach, Caroline is joined by Cornerstones founder, Simon Hickton and Curriculum Manager, Catherine Scutt. They explore how to ensure subject coverage, well-sequenced learning and subject progression, and how to do this using Cornerstones’ tools and content. Catherine introduces the new knowledge-rich projects (KRPs) from Cornerstones which take a subject-driven approach, enhanced by meaningful links across the curriculum. (Audio transcript available below)


Enjoyed listening?

Did you enjoy episode 47 of The Curriculum? Read our blog – How to achieve subject coverage and progression with Cornerstones explaining how access to the Cornerstones Curriculum and the development tools that deliver what Ofsted are looking for.

Achieve coverage and progression read now

Audio transcript

Caroline Pudner: Welcome to The Curriculum, a podcast by Cornerstones Education. Here we discuss all things curriculum, plus leadership issues, teaching tips and much, much more.

Hello everyone. I’m Caroline Pudner, your host, and today I’m joined by Cornerstones founder Simon Hickton and curriculum manager Catherine Scutt.

We’ve come together to discuss something that is extremely important, and that is subject coverage and subject progression, but particularly for primary schools. This is because the light has been shone on primaries, really looking at every subject. It’s not just English and Maths and the core subjects. This is a bit of a shift, and it’s been going on for quite a while, but I think now that the inspection framework is live and schools are starting to be inspected, they are really thinking long and hard about Geography, History, Science – all the subjects – and how children gain skills and knowledge in those subjects throughout their time at primary.

So, obviously, this is a big topic. Simon, what do we mean by subject coverage? 

Simon Hickton: To me, and as of Cornerstones, coverage means the programmes of study of the National Curriculum. Obviously, if you are in an Academy you don’t have to cover the National Curriculum – you can have your own ambitious curriculum that’s of similar quality – but it’s those programmes of study, those bullet points within the National Curriculum, those attainment statements, the aims that are often missed. So subject coverage is about the aims and the individual bullet points within the National Curriculum.

It’s so varied, because within the National Curriculum you’ve got English and Maths – great detail – Science, on the whole, and not for everything, because you’ve got working scientifically, but on the whole, it’s in year groups. But then you get down to the other subjects – Geography, History, Art and Design, etc. – and they tend to be very different.

I think in Art there are only seven programmes of study across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, and you’ve got more in Geography and it makes it very, very difficult to make sure you’ve got this coverage, but that’s the framework. That’s the coverage that is expected. The blueprint. The framework for a school to build their curriculum.

CP: Right. And we’ll get onto that later, because actually, it’s key that they build on that, isn’t it? Those subjects need teasing out in a lot more detail, don’t they?

SH: Coverage there is the keyword. So again, what is coverage? Well, coverage is the knowledge, understanding and the skills of those subjects. That’s what the coverage is and that’s been laid out in the National Curriculum, or will be laid out by academies in their own way – and that’s the bare bones, the framework that they’ll then build on.

CP: Can they easily get the subject coverage, in your opinion?

SH: Not easily. Obviously, in the past ten years working with schools, one of the hardest things is fitting everything in. That is huge and it’s so difficult. It has been pretty much said everywhere that we’ve ended up with a narrow curriculum because of English and Maths and the importance which it is in primary education. Teaching children to read, write, speaking and listening – it’s huge. It’s massive. It’s a massive priority but we’ve got to get that broad and balanced curriculum as well.

To get that broad and balanced curriculum you’ve got to say ‘Right, okay. Let’s look at the subjects individually. How can we actually connect all of that together?’ And because the only way, for me – and a lot of schools do agree with that and even when you speak with Ofsted inspectors they’re saying – that a thematic approach in primary is what works. It has worked and it continues to work very well, because that allows you to connect subjects and all that cross-connection, the coherence, the connectivity between pedagogy and

subject and everything else all come together, so you can actually get coverage.

CP: Yeah as long as you can track where you’re learning an aspect, you’re covering an aspect of Geography, in maybe a pure Geography approach, or a lesson, and then where you’ve also covered it later on within another theme or context. That child is still covering that aspect.

SH: That’s definitely right, and when we get on to the progression of subjects later in the podcast, we will discuss that and how that coherence and that connectedness really make that work.

So to go back to the question of the challenges, you can look at subjects and say ‘Right, let’s create and make sure we’ve got this content coverage within a silo of a subject,’ and that can be done, and you can say ‘What are the endpoints? What are we going to look at each year?’ But then that gets very much complicated by the question ‘How does that then fit with another subject? And another subject? And how can we fit everything together into the limited time in class that you have actually got?’ Especially in primaries. That for me is the biggest sort of challenge. Then, how is that linked to all the activities? What’s actually going to be taught? What’s actually going to be learnt by the children?

So, how are we going to deliver this content? Because it’s not just about having the content there. How is it going to be delivered? That’s our intention. 

Again the three words that have come out to the fore – intent, implementation and impact.

Very clear now, Ofsted are stating, that is not three separate sections, it’s a flow – because no matter what you intend, what you deliver, you’ve got to actually link together. Has it actually been learnt?

CP: You’ve got to think about how are you delivering before you start thinking ‘Yeah, we want to do all that coverage of that, and that, and that. How do you actually do it? I know we’ve done it in our way – and we can talk about that in a bit – but it is a huge job.

SH: I’ve seen in the last ten years how Mel (author of the Cornerstones Curriculum) and her team have struggled with this and fought with it and gone back to the drawing board, again and again, to produce this coverage and make sure it’s there, and it’s interlinked and working, and it can work right way through to delivery, as well as just being something on a piece of paper that you think ‘Oh, that looks nice.’ And ‘Oh we’ve got that mapped out now.’ Yeah but how is it going to be delivered for? And how are the children going to learn? And how will this actually work in real life?

CP: Yeah let’s think about progression now. Maybe I’ll bring Catherine in actually, because Catherine, you have been extremely busy upstairs here at Cornerstones, working with a team of people designing the new curriculum projects. But you’ve also done a lot of work on our existing ILPs (Imaginative Learning Projects). How do you ensure that children make progress in, say, Geography? History? In these subject disciplines? What are the things to think about if you’re creating a curriculum?

Catherine Scutt: I think the first thing to think about is that you need a progression of skills. So you need to know what you are actually going to teach in that year group. It’s very, very easy to go from the point of view of ‘I would like to teach this lesson, and it will be fun, and it will be great,’ without knowing what those children need to learn in a particular year group. It’s knowing the National Curriculum inside out. As Simon says, for foundation, it doesn’t help sometimes because some of the programmes of study cover from Year 3 to Year 6. So then you’ve got to drill down into those programmes of study and think about what aspects of those actually come first? What do you need to teach first before you teach the next step, and the next step, so that by the end of Year 6 the outcome, the endpoint of Year 6 is that you have covered that programme of study and you actually understand all the aspects in it – and I think that’s a massive massive task.

SH: I think that’s absolutely spot-on Catherine, because I think what you’ve got is – with the programmes of study, and when we talk about subject progression – subjective progression is about looking at the elements within the programmes of study and how they’re built on over time, to get the full coverage and what knowledge – as well as the skills – you’re going to be looking at. Because, what the team did, is they teased out from the National Curriculum Programmes of study and said ‘Right, where’s the aspects? Where’s the concepts? How are they all linked to the big ideas, those global themes, those larger global concepts?’ and then to sort of bring it down and say ‘Right, okay, so what is the progression going to be? What’s the element of that programme of study that they will do in Year 3? And then that’ll probably be repeated as well and then where will it be done in Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6? Where will the knowledge fit in? Where will the skills be developed? Where will they then be used and applied within a project?’ That is the web that has to be created and then implemented by the teachers.

CP: And that’s rooted in basic learning science, because these children will only progress their knowledge and skills if they are given manageable chunks of opportunities to learn and practice and understand, and they’re given opportunities to remember knowledge, for example. Then, over time, if they then reapply in a different context or hear of something else that the teacher then helps them link to a pre-known fact or some skill, then they’re building that schema, and that is the way that the children progress their knowledge and understanding in a skill. Say like map work. You start with the basics. It’s something that teachers know, isn’t it? We know we start with the basics. But you don’t often see it in a

broader view, linear – across, say, from Year 1 right up to Year 6.

CS: Yeah that’s where we are at Cornerstones, because we have the time to do that. So, as a teacher, I didn’t see that broad overview because I was a Year 5 teacher, and I was a Year 6 teacher and then a Year 4 teacher, and it was only after a decade of teaching in different Year groups that I started to piece together that idea of what the progression was.

CP: Yeah, what children had done before. Two years, three years before

and where they were meant to be going to. 

SH: Yeah, a great analogy I heard – and I’ve probably twisted it and changed it – but it was about ‘The Jenga model.’ In essence that schema, if you think, children are building schemas from what they’re experiencing, and they’re building those up, and you imagine like Jenga with the bits missing, etc. What we’ve got to try and do is make sure, as children are building up their Jenga blocks, that we’re actually helping them to put a little bit of superglue on one or two of them to hold it together. But there will be gaps in there, and in any curriculum you should be able to see where those gaps, those misconceptions, are appearing and then you can actually say ‘Right, we need an extra brick put in there,’ or ‘We need that brick removing because it’s actually completely the wrong shape and it’s going to make it all fall down.` Remove that brick and put the correct brick in there to build a Jenga that is absolutely solid for those children.

CP: That’s the skill of curriculum design – it’s knowing what to put in and what to leave out. And the skill of teaching is knowing how to teach children things that won’t add to their misconceptions or misteach.

SP: And the order of teaching as well. We talked about the teaching narrative, and the sequence of lessons and things like that, which puts the order in place, so they can actually build up that schema for themselves.

CS: And that is the teacher expertise that needs to come in, because every class of children is different. So your curriculum model can work and then it’s a teacher’s expertise that can then adjust, move slightly and adding more, look at misconceptions and then do some over-learning as well.

CP: Which is all good assessment for learning isn’t it? Ongoing.

SP: That’s massive, rightly so. Schools are being asked ‘How does your assessment inform your planning?’ It’s not about looking at numbers anymore – that’s gone. It’s about looking ‘Right, how is your assessment informing your planning? How is it showing you those holes in the Jenga model? How is it showing you those misconceptions? What are you doing about it?’

Also, we’ve talked about subjects. Subject leadership is going to become huge, and knowing coverage. We’ve already heard the tales about the most recent Ofsted inspectors and them asking teachers ‘Right, tell me about your subject’. Subject leaders have got to know from EYFS all the way through to Year 6.

CP: This is these Deep Dives.

SH: The Deep Dives that have come around – they’ve got to know about all of those. They’ve got to know what’s happening. What’s the progression in their subject? ‘Do I know the endpoint for primary, Year 6?’ Is what we’re delivering getting them there?

And what Ofsted – rightly so now – is spending their time actually looking at the reality for the children. What the children are actually learning.

So it is taking that ‘What’s the intent? What’s the subject for coverage? Tell us that, show us that, in whatever form you’ve got,’ – and Ofsted won’t ask for a particular form. Then ‘Right, okay, let’s go and see if that’s happening in the classroom. Is it in the books? When we talk to the children, is it there? When we talk to the teachers, do they understand it?’ That’s what it’s all about.

CP: Yeah, so before all that, you’ve got to know the journey – and I think it was Heather Fern from Ofsted who said ‘Your curriculum is the progression model. You construct a progression model, almost like a track’ – and that’s the journey you want your children to go through. Geography, History and so on.

I think it’s a great time, maybe, to talk about what we’ve actually done here, because whether or not you’re a school using Cornerstones, it’s still interesting to know how you’ve done it and how you have looked at, say, Geography – because I know all the Geography Knowledge-Rich Projects have been finished and they’re up live now on Maestro, which is fantastic – but how did you approach those? Can you tell the listeners a little bit about how you get the subject coverage and progression across those topics?

CS: Well, for the new Knowledge-Rich Projects, the National Curriculum was the starting point. We took the National Curriculum programmes of study, we broke them down, we analyzed them, we’d look really carefully about what each piece of that programme of study meant, what each word meant – and then we created our own model, our sets of learning intentions based around our big ideas in each subject. So we created that framework and that is the basis of the progression model. So each of those learning intentions builds through each year group.

SH: For us, a learning intention is a skill with implied knowledge, but then we were teasing out all the knowledge, which is the declarative knowledge that’s required.

CS: Yes, because we’ve also got a knowledge framework as well, because they link to the learning intentions. So we’ve got knowledge statements – and that is actual core knowledge that children need to know – and then we took that skeleton framework and started to develop our KRPs (Knowledge-Rich Projects) alongside the new Ofsted inspection framework and the requirements that were going to happen there, and so the KRPs now have a driver subject. So our Geography KRPs have a Geography driver, so the learning intentions and the knowledge statement for Geography that we’ve created, teased out, from the programmes of study are now in our Geography KRPs.

Those statements and the knowledge are the backbones of it. So anything that’s in a lesson in our KRPs is there to deliver those learning intentions and that knowledge. We then have also created, for each lesson, some specific subject knowledge, if it’s been needed. Because really looking carefully at the progression of what children need to know – and sometimes you can’t just do a general knowledge statement, you have to think ‘What is that lesson teaching?’ and ‘How can that knowledge be built on in the next lesson?’

CP: Yeah, so you’ve got this overview and you’re revisiting knowledge or you’re building upon knowledge as the children go through.

CS: You build it through. Because the KRPs are in a sequence, and it has taken a long time to get that sequence right, to make sure that the lessons – each lesson – builds one on another, to build a bank of knowledge, a bank of skills and understanding. And that goes through the engage and develop stages, because our KRPs are still with our pedagogy, our four statements. Our engage and develop and our memorable experience all build sequentially, to create a bank of knowledge and skills. 

CP: That the children then apply and express later on in the project.

CS: Well that’s a key thing, because our innovate section – where children can use those skills – is very tightly linked to the engage and develop stages. The lessons that we teach actually gives a chance for reviewing knowledge but also using it in a context, and children should use it independently.

CP: That’s actually a really good time for a teacher to assess as well. I would use that – and in fact I spoke to a headteacher recently about this, and they’d seen the new Knowledge-Rich Projects – the KRPs – and said that it’s the innovate stage that they are finding transformative for them, because it’s a time where they can actually see the children apply knowledge that they’ve built up through those two stages, and see, you know, talking about the Jenga, actually there’s a gap here.

CS: Exactly.

CP: So it just gave them, this school, room to do that, and to actually really see where the knowledge had been applied.

SH: Checking if that knowledge is becoming sticky is so important at that stage, and also, what’s key is, we’ve mentioned that sequence of lessons, and yes that may be in a subject, but within that, especially when we’re talking about the cross-curricular projects, which the vast majority of primary schools do use, and Ofsted has said that is absolutely fine. The key is, it might not be all Geography lessons in that sequence, because there may be some Science and some History that is very relevant to enable the children to build those schemas and build everything else and get real quality learning out of it.

What we’re working on right now, as part of Curriculum Maestro – and we’re always listening to the feedback from schools what they need and our own ideas – is being able to flick between looking at it as a cross-curricular approach and then saying ‘Yeah, but we need to just flick and see it as a subject and a sequence of lessons for that subject.’ ‘Is there flow there? Is the knowledge and skills progression there for that?’ And then flick back and say

‘Does it work within curricula?’

CP: Okay, yeah, so schools can use Maestro to do those two different views. Because I’ve also talked to a school in London who just wanted to do (the view) ‘This is our geography book’ and they use Cornerstones but they want (the view of) ‘We do a geography lesson, we do a history lesson’ and they’re doing that. So, on Maestro, you can plan that out, can’t you?

SH: It’s going to go live very soon, probably after half term – and that’s half-term October 2019. And, basically, they’ll be able to just flick between the two options, and that enables the teacher or the senior leader or the subject leader to look at the project say ‘Right, I want to look at the actual progression, that sequence of lessons, that order of teaching, and is it right?’

CP: Actually from what I’ve heard from Ofsted that is extremely important.

CS: Back to what Simon said about it being relevant. There are cross-curricular links in the KRPs, in all of them, the driver’s subject is the main driver. But they are truly relevant and the idea is that will build up. So it’s a brilliant tool that you can have a look at all your Geography, because even if you’re doing a Science driver, you will still see that there’ll be some Geography elements, and those Geography elements will be relevant. They will build up, but also they will build up across the year group as well.

CP: Otherwise we’ve got a secondary education model, which is what Matthew

Purvis said, to me, he did not want to see in a primary school. You don’t want to just do

lesson after lesson of Geography, Science and that. You need to weave in the links, where they’re authentic and meaningful.

CS: I think that’s a really key word – authentic – and that’s what we have time, at Cornerstones, to do. And we can see it all, and we can have this overview and we can make these links that are quite hard to find in the National Curriculum.

You’ve got rocks in Science, then you’ve got rocks in Geography, and you’ve got mountains in Geography. Actually, they all link together. So those lessons are linked, but we give a chance for over-learning, we give a chance for repeating learning intentions through different projects and low stakes quizzing at the end. There’s also a knowledge organizer for each one. There are six KRPs for the whole school.

CP: If you teach every one of those, you are guaranteed subject coverage in geography, is that right?

CS: You get excellent coverage – you get really good coverage – but there will also be other Geography sessions in the other KRPs that are going to be released later on. So there will be some Geography coverage in History. And Science and Geography link really beautifully. So there will be other chances of coverage and other aspects of coverage in the other KRPs as well.

SH: Part of what we’ve developed in Curriculum Maestro, and we’re continuing to develop, is to make sure subject leaders have those tools at their fingertips, to be able to drill down themselves. And I’m going to mention Ofsted Deep Dives. They’re going to drill down and they’re going to see if the progression is there and that real coverage is there.

CP: So what can you do on Maestro already for that and what is coming up soon for that?

SH: Straight away it shows you where you’ve got good coverage, and you’re able to make sure that you can add in, if you’ve, maybe, made projects, selections that are missing, massive gaps in the National Curriculum. It will show that, instantly, you’ll change the projects, then you might have one or two gaps in programmes of study that are missing, you can put those in. But then it’s about going deeper, and what we’ll be releasing very shortly is where subject leaders can then go deeper and say ‘What elements of that programme of study, maybe, could be missed or have been missed?’ and they’ll be able to input those elements into the projects by creating the lessons, either alongside the teacher or, if they’re a specialist in Music or Art, they can develop those lessons themselves, and they will then magically appear in the projects. Then the teacher knows ‘I definitely have to teach that one. I can deselect and select some other of the lessons, and I can add more,’ but they can make it completely bespoke to ensure the progression that that school wants. The coverage that that school wants can be achieved.

CP: And that’s all in one place. That’s the good thing about Maestro – it’s all auto-linked, and you can run reports from that and everything. It’s all there, and I suppose the groundwork’s done for you. If you’ve got the KRPs and you’re a Geography lead or Humanities lead – we’ve got Geography ones at the moment, we’re going to have History and Science soon – as a subject lead, you’ve got your coverage there. If you want to add and enhance or change anything, you can do that all on Maestro.

SH: But also if you’re not using the Cornerstones Curriculum content you may feel ‘We’ve got a great curriculum, but we need to make sure it’s all connected.’ That’s where we designed and made sure we added the option of ‘Maestro Lite,’ where you can actually utilize that to create your own projects from what you’re currently doing in schools.

CP: So you can write your own projects, upload them or actually type them into Curriculum Maestro Lite, and then it’ll do the coverage check?

SH: Yes, because you would tie them all to programmes of study and learning intentions. You would tie them to the learning intention and knowledge progression framework that we produced. Tie it all together – and that’s how some schools are doing it for English and Maths, to make sure they have got this very clear subject coverage. Subject progression. It’s there, it’s all interlinked. It can be assessed, those missing Jenga pieces can then be put in with everything else and it all works in one place.

CS: To add to that, that model allows you to do it, but then with the KRPs you go really deep into it. So if you are a subject leader, coverage to you might be ‘Well, what’s actually happening in the classroom? What texts are people using? What resources are they actually using? What’s being talked about and said to actually put those learning intentions across and to actually create that progression?’ I think that’s the amazing thing about Maestro. It’s that you can sort it all out, so you’ve got that coverage. But quite a lot of people almost finish at that and they don’t actually drill down into ‘What is each lesson going to be about?’ and ‘What am I going to use in that lesson?’ So with the KRPs, that’s been a lot of my work lately. The detail. So in that half-hour or that hour that the teacher is with the children, delivering that learning intention, what are they going to say? What are they going to ask the children to do? What are they going to use to support the children? 

So Maestro is amazing because we’ve created resources that are bespoke to each year group and we’ve used progression throughout. So you’ve mentioned map work – so picture maps are in Year 1, it moves on to maps with keys in Year 2, and throughout Key Stage 2 they get more complex, looking at contour lines.

CP: That’s great, because as a teacher, sometimes I went on the internet, I got resources, and unless you really know what’s been happening beforehand or you’ve got a really clear curriculum model, you sometimes don’t know if a child has already seen this kind of thing before. That’s alright sometimes to recap, but other times if there’s no clarity of progression in your resources, which are often called the foot soldiers of your curriculum – which I love because they are so much a part of your curriculum, and you’ve created them, obviously, to match the projects.

CS: Yeah, that’s been a big thing, and we’ve tried to create resources that will give the knowledge in a progressive way, but also ways to record what they know, or even teacher information. So sometimes we have included knowledge or an idea of how you deliver a lesson for the teacher as well, so your subject leaders can see what is being used in the classroom, the level of what happened in Year 1 and 2, if they want to see that. 

SH: That’s right and also it’s going back to that really key thing there about ‘Yeah, the intention is there, this is the substance our curriculum, this is what we’re doing. But what’s actually happening?’ And being able to sort of monitor and manage that on a subject level, or a whole school level, or in a class level or even on the pupil level. That’s the key. 

CP: You can’t do that with paper in folders can you? 

SH: You can, but the highlighting pens that you would need, and the nightmare of that is just terrible workload-wise. Whereas, what we’ve created, hopefully, will enable schools to do that so easily.

CS: We all know that things get in the way of what you intend – it’s just the way school is – and not being able to find a resource that you need, or not being able to access the video of a concept that you’re wanting to teach, can be the difference between teaching it and not teaching it. 

CP: So what’s on Maestro? Am I right in thinking you can go into a timetable and you’ve got your lessons in there? You click on them, they automatically come up and your resources are like hyperlinks? You don’t have to flick through lots of different tabs or think ‘Where did I put that resource?’ It’s all there in one place? So it’s on your timetable? So that’s how you’re helping with that?

SH: Part of the reason for the timetable facility that we built in is you can drag and drop the lessons, that either you’ve created yourself or you’ve adapted, into a timetable. Because quite soon you’ll see, especially if it’s a short half term – they’re as short as four weeks sometimes – but a five-week half term and you start thinking ‘Well, I can’t fit all this in,’ and rather than getting towards the end of the project and thinking, ‘I’ve not done this,’ you’re realising that, as you’re creating that teaching narrative right at the start, ‘This is the sequence of lessons that I need to teach,’ ‘How am I going to fit this in?’ ‘Right, I’ve got a short half term. I do have to make some changes here, but I can not teach that and I don’t lose the flow, the children are still going to be fine. The subject progression is going to be there.’ That’s what we try to give.

CP: So with Maestro, can you then shorten a project? Could you reassign a learning intention somewhere else?

SH: Yes you can.

CP: You can do like a coverage checker, however many times you want, really?

SH: Yes, it’s live.

CP: So you’ll see the gaps?

SH: Yes it’s live. It’s there, it’s telling you what you’ve covered, what you’ve not covered straight away. 

CS: What I would say about the design of the KRPs, which is different to our older ILPs (Imaginative Learning Projects), is they are actually shorter and they’re shorter for that specific reason. 

CP: I have to ask though, if you’ve got ILPs, if you’ve not yet moved on to the KRPs, how would you ensure subject coverage and progression with the existing ILPs, Simon?

SH: Well it’s interesting because that informed our development work. Because obviously, talking to headteachers, I found that what they were doing is they were using what we called our detailed coverage checker and our gap analysis tool, and schools loved that because it gave them that confidence. ‘This is it. We’ve got National Curriculum coverage.’ Or ‘There’s the gaps, and we can put those within our Art week, Science week.’ However they were doing it. But then, rightly so, the headteacher would say ‘Yeah, but that’s intended. What’s actually happening? And they were getting the teachers to start ticking things off and

one headteacher was actually trying to Tippex things out – because headteachers tend to like things nice and neat and in folders at times. ‘Tidy ship.’ And they are right. There are some brilliant people out there.

So what we’re saying is ‘Right we need to show that ‘actual.’’ We need to do it live and it needs to be electronic because that enables teachers to hold it, and that’s reducing the workload, because if many can do it’s not down to one person and everybody can see. We’ve got some people who are subject leaders for three or four subjects because it’s a small school. 

CP: So going back to that, then. If you’ve just got the ILPs up on Maestro, you can look at Geography and looking at the sequence and the way it develops across the year groups, you can see that it’s there. 

SH: All schools will have the ILPs automatically and get the KRPs as well on Maestro. They

don’t on The Hub. 

CP: So if you’re listening to this, and you’re a head or a teacher at a school who uses Cornerstones and is on The Hub, I suppose what we’d really like you to do is to move over from The Hub onto Maestro. 

SH: Especially when the new History and the Science start coming online. You’ll get those and we can just make sure you can seamlessly come across no problem at all. 

CP: And companion projects. Each one (KRP) has a companion project, doesn’t it? Tell us, what are the companion projects that come with each one?

CS: Each KRP, as we said, has a subject driver, but we wanted to put some coverage for Design and Technology and Art and Design. So our companion projects; there’s one per KRP, so at the moment there are six, each matching a Geography project, and they either cover aspects of Design and Technology or Art and Design. The overarching theme of the project fits with the KRP that you are working on. So we’ve got an Ammonite project to go with the Year 3 project that includes work about rocks, but in the KRP it delivers learning intentions for Art and Design.

CP: So it’s got all the skills and the knowledge for Art? 

CS: Yes, and they’re written in a progressive structure. It’s still written to the Four Cornerstones of learning, so you still have an interesting engage stage, that pedagogy and it still has an innovate stage, and that’s where the children can use what they’ve learned through the learning intention in their innovate stage to create a piece of art, and then they can share it at the end. Those will have coverage too. The Design and Technology projects, especially, have a different focus, so you might be focusing on mechanisms or food. There are links to the KRP, so you get the cross-curricular knowledge and understanding that you can use in your artwork as well.

CP: Lovely. I know every school does things slightly differently, but on the whole primaries – primary children – showing them those meaningful links where they’re very authentic, it brings it to life, so it’s not just a quiz. Amanda Spielman (Ofsted Chief Inspector) said a ‘pub quiz style’ education, she’s not interested in that. 

SH: Another thing I think is massive in the new KRPs is you’ve got your book study in Key Stage 1 and your novel study, and Catherine and her team have produced resources to support that, which for me is huge as well. 

CS: Yes we have, because we know that novel study is a massive thing in many schools. Many schools teach their English through the study of a novel, for half a term, at least. So we’ve provided a knowledge organiser for books and novels, and then we’ve also got our English packs to support the KRPs. They’re split into chapters, so there are small overviews of the chapters – the characters, the settings, are described so the children can actually get to grips with those aspects of the book, even before they start reading it. But then, also, there are some comprehension tasks that go with novel organizers, and they’re really good, because if you read up to a certain chapter, then you can give the questions in the comprehension to your children, go through the questions, then read the next part. 

CP: So I think we’ve come to a close. It’s not a close in terms of the national situation. 

SH: We’ve been talking about this and the other aspects around it for quite a while.

CP: Talking of coverage, we covered an awful lot there. I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming, but we tried to cover – from our point of view, obviously – we’ve been working in the world of curriculum, and what Simon, Catherine and the team are doing is creating curriculum content and threading it together and ensuring coverage and progression. And also if you’re not a Cornerstones school and that’s whetted your appetite, or you just want to know more about it, then do visit our website. Our materials and tools can really help you achieve subject progression and reduce your workload around this, so you can focus on the things that matter which, as we know, is the teaching, the learning, the children. So thanks again for listening. Until next time, goodbye.

Published by

Caroline Pudner

Caroline is a Curriculum Developer at Cornerstones. She writes curriculum materials, teaching resources and blogs. Caroline has 10 years primary teaching experience and has worked in both museums and galleries education and adult education.

More posts by this author