How to achieve subject coverage and progression with Cornerstones


29th October 2019

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 the 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 Cornerstones (and in particular, our new online platform Curriculum Maestro), you have the tools, content and functionality to fast-forward through curriculum intent and intended subject coverage and progression, to focus on great teaching and learning, actual coverage and progression, and their 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 move to Curriculum Maestro as it helps you monitor and share actual, not just intended subject coverage and progression.

And, while Maestro includes all Cornerstones Imaginative Learning Projects, it is the only place to access our new, subject-driven Knowledge-rich Projects (KRPs) and future updates.

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 skills and knowledge progression framework. This provides clear subject endpoints matched to the national curriculum.
  • The new Knowledge-rich Projects offer full subject coverage for geography, history, science, art and design and design and technology. Geography Knowledge-rich Projects are available now on Curriculum Maestro.
  • An online coverage checker helps you monitor intended and actual subject coverage and progression in your curriculum.
  • All projects come with a knowledge organiser, including key subject vocabulary. This is not only helpful for children but for teachers to gen up on their own subject knowledge.

*Available from November 2019

Curriculum Maestro subject coverage benefit

‘The engaging curriculum ensures that children embark on their school journey equipped with the skills and knowledge that they will need for their future learning.’

2019 Ofsted report for St Saviour’s Primary School, Tower Hamlets

Well-sequenced lessons

  • All projects follow a four-stage pedagogy. This approach logically sequences learning for children and allows them to build, recall and apply their skills and knowledge. Ofsted will be judging how well children ‘know, remember and understand’ the curriculum.
  • The sequences of suggested activities in the original Cornerstones Imaginative Learning Projects can be refined or altered easily on Maestro.
  • The Knowledge-rich Projects have a more fixed lesson sequence to maximise children’s knowledge acquisition, but you can still adapt the content.
  • Knowledge-rich Projects include sequenced ‘chunks’ of learning with regular opportunities for knowledge retrieval.

‘Pupils have an excellent range of knowledge across the curriculum. For example, they had retained a lot of information from previous history and geography topics, which they related confidently to inspectors.’

2019 Ofsted report for St Saviour’s Primary School, Tower Hamlets

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. Listen to our podcast exploring big ideas and larger concepts. 
  • The skills and knowledge framework offers clear learning progression in a subject, with incremental steps leading to well-defined endpoints.
  • All Knowledge-rich Projects 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. See our example progression map here.
  • 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).

Curriculum Maestro achieve subject progression

9/10 users would recommend it to another school

Feedback from Curriculum Maestro beta testing Summer 2019

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 includes meaningful, purposeful inter-subject links. We’ve also made sure that the new subject-driven Knowledge-rich Projects include opportunities to use and apply skills and knowledge of other subjects.

As Ofsted’s Matthew Purves told us in our recent podcast, the choice of delivery is up to you as long as subjects are covered.

‘When we talk about ‘subject’ in primary, we’re thinking about the disciplinary knowledge of a subject which might be taught through a topic or it might be taught through a subject.’

Ultimately, a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum that values all subjects is the goal. Combining a coherent curriculum like Cornerstones 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 over 80 editable projects, hundreds of resources and much, much more.

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

100% said it will help their school better meet the requirements of Ofsted’s new inspection framework

Feedback from Curriculum Maestro beta testing Summer 2019


Curriculum Maestro find out more 


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