How to achieve subject coverage and progression with Cornerstones



29th October 2021

How to achieve subject coverage and progression with Cornerstones
How to achieve subject coverage and progression with Cornerstones

Subject coverage, sequencing and progression – Ofsted’s deep dives

As you’ll no doubt be aware, the new inspection framework focuses on how well schools design and deliver a broad, balanced and ambitious primary curriculum that values all subjects

With inspectors undertaking ‘deep dives’ into subjects when judging curriculum quality, it’s natural to wonder how your curriculum coverage and progression will fare under scrutiny.

The good news is, Cornerstones has been ahead of the game in terms of making explicit the knowledge, sequence and progression of subjects in your curriculum. So, if you’re a school using our materials and are now using Curriculum Maestro, you’ll already have access to a well-structured curriculum and development tools that deliver what Ofsted are looking for (read on to find out how).

‘Cornerstones offers vibrant curriculum delivery and rigour in ensuring full curriculum coverage’

Headteacher, Copley Junior School

Cutting through the fear

While some fear has spread around curriculum inspection recently, Ofsted has reassured schools that they have time to work on their curriculum development. Our podcasts with guests Amanda Spielman and Matthew Purves from Ofsted offer more background on this. 

If you use the Cornerstones Curriculum (and in particular, our online platform Curriculum Maestro), you have the content and functionality to fast-forward through curriculum intent and intended coverage and progression. You’ll be free to focus on great teaching and learning, actual coverage and progression, and curriculum impact. 

We want you to continue to feel well prepared and have the tools at hand to meet new subject design, coverage and progression requirements. This blog explains how you achieve this, using Cornerstones.

Not on Curriculum Maestro yet?

If you’re not currently using Cornerstones, read on to find out how we can help you.

For Cornerstones customers still using The Hub, we strongly advise you to move to Curriculum Maestro as it includes the fully-sequenced, knowledge-rich Curriculum 22 and helps you to monitor and articulate actual, not just intended subject coverage and progression.

If you need any help moving over to Maestro, then click here for more information and to book a quick demo. It’s easy and free for any school with a Cornerstones licence.   

9/10 users said Curriculum Maestro would reduce their workload

Feedback from Curriculum Maestro beta testing Summer 2019

Subject coverage with Cornerstones

  • All Cornerstones projects follow a rigorous knowledge and skills progression framework. This provides clear subject endpoints matched to the national curriculum.
  • The projects in Curriculum 22 offer full subject coverage for geography, history, science, art and design, design and technology and computing from nursery to year 6
  • An online coverage checker helps you monitor intended and actual subject coverage and progression in your curriculum.
  • All projects are supported by vocabulary-rich, subject-specific resources, including knowledge organisers, videos, reading texts and quizzes. This is not only helpful for children but for teachers to gen up on their own subject knowledge.

A well-sequenced curriculum

  • The Curriculum 22 projects are fully sequenced and interconnected. This approach logically sequences learning for children and allows them to build, recall and apply their knowledge and skills. Ofsted will be judging how well children ‘know, remember and understand’ the curriculum.
  • The projects have a more fixed lesson sequence to maximise children’s knowledge acquisition, but you can still tweak the finer details to suit your context and children’s needs.
  • Each knowledge-rich project includes sequenced ‘chunks’ of learning with regular opportunities for knowledge recapping and retrieval.

‘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, Headteacher at Thurlstone Primary School

Subject progression with Cornerstones

  • Aspects and larger concepts within subjects, such as map work in geography, are carefully paced and revisited across projects and year groups to build children’s understanding.
  • The knowledge and skills framework offers clear learning progression in a subject, with incremental steps leading to well-defined endpoints.
  • All projects in Curriculum 22 include low-stakes quizzes that build in complexity through school and help children progress rather than remain static.
  • Integrated assessment on Maestro allows you to monitor subject progression and evaluate how the curriculum is impacting on learning.
  • Maestro also allows you to pinpoint where and when children are learning subject knowledge. (Ofsted will be connecting evidence on what you planned, where it features in children’s work and how it’s explained by leaders, teachers and children).

Keeping things broad, balanced and connected

Although this blog has focused on subject development, connectivity is also important in a primary curriculum. While children learn subject disciplines, there should be opportunities to apply and link their learning to other subjects. This helps children develop well-formed schemas of understanding.

The Cornerstones Curriculum 22 includes meaningful, purposeful inter-subject links. We’ve also made sure that the new subject-driven projects include opportunities to use and apply knowledge and skills of other subjects.

As Ofsted’s Amanda Spielman said in her recent speech at the 2022 ASCL Annual Conference,

‘I’m sure you are all constantly thinking about the way your school and your subject leads construct and teach the curriculum. A curriculum that will engage your pupils, build their knowledge and develop their skills, and in doing so, leave them with that love of learning. That’s the goal. And it was the starting point for our inspection framework. Getting to the heart of what education is about seems to me to be the right philosophy for an education inspectorate. Pedagogy is incredibly important, and without good teaching, children’s learning is seriously hampered. But the curriculum is the substance – the rock on which good teaching is built. So that’s where we focus our attention on inspection.’

Ultimately, a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum that values all subjects is the goal. Combining an ambitious, coherently-sequenced curriculum like Cornerstones Curriculum 22 with the functionality of Curriculum Maestro, you are well-placed to meet this goal now and in the years to come.

Curriculum Maestro

Curriculum Maestro is a workload-busting online platform that helps primary schools design, deliver and manage their curriculum all in one place.

Maestro allows you to define your curriculum intent, check live coverage and view subject progression at the click of a few buttons. You’ll also have access to the fully sequenced Curriculum 22, thousands of resources and much, much more.

With Curriculum Maestro, you have the power to implement and manage an impactful curriculum that’s right for your school and more than meets the requirements of the new inspection framework.

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    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


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