Our aim at Exmouth Community College is to provide an excellent education for all our students – which enables them to ‘Learn, Progress and Grow’
We believe that:
…thought depends on knowledge – the more we know, the more we can learn. Powerful knowledge enables us to make predictions, generalisations and give explanations. (David Didau)
At Exmouth Community College each subject draws on the best that’s been thought, said and done (cultural capital) to provide students with the knowledge and awareness they need to play an active and positive role in their families, workplace and global community. The Curriculum contains the foundational concepts and knowledge students need to achieve this as well as opportunities to apply this knowledge.
At Exmouth Community College we hold to the following principles:
- Entitlement – We believe that all children have the right to learn what is in the Exmouth Community College Curriculum. We aim to ensure that all children are taught this Curriculum offer with clear progression planning and sequencing in every subject studied.
- Mastery – We want all students to achieve a full understanding of the core knowledge specified in the Curriculum for each year, and teaching should not move on until this is achieved at the appropriate level for each student. This stretches across all age ranges and abilities.
- Consistency – We will aim for consistency over many years, so teachers can develop expertise in their own pedagogical content knowledge. We will make occasional adjustments following curriculum review, feedback and experience recognising there may always be something we want to refine or add depth too.
In designing our curriculum, we have considered our demographic context carefully, recognising the opportunities that living in a coastal area provides as well as having broad horizons and an understanding of the wider world.
Subjects sequence their learning over five, four or two years (some subjects do not start until Key Stage 4 or Key Stage 5). To help students commit their learning to their long-term memory (so that its use becomes automatic) subjects have carefully planned the order they teach new content – showing students how it links with what they have learnt before. Subjects will regularly revisit prior learning (this is called ‘interleaving’) to make sure it is secure.
The curriculum in each subject can be accessed and viewed through the College website under the heading ‘Curriculum’. Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and there are differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in different subjects. Written assessments play less of a role in performance subjects such as music, drama and physical education. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers within the same subject to meet together.
Students at Exmouth Community College study in learning cycles, with the expectation that we don’t move on to the next topic until all pupils have a secure understanding of the current topic. A 3-year Key Stage 3 provides pupils with the time and space to gain this secure understanding. The KS3 curriculum is broad and balanced and is available to all students. There are some students who follow a modified curriculum to support literacy.. At Key Stage 4 we encourage students to study GCSE option routes with the EBACC subjects available to all and advised for many. A range of vocational courses are offered to ensure sufficient breadth in the curriculum for all learners is maintained. In our lessons you will typically see all pupils grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for pupils who need it. Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers will study that content in more depth and are expected to produce work linked to it of greater depth and flair.
Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We have eight guiding principles which underpin our view of Expert Teaching at Exmouth Community College. This is supported by a regular training programme and ongoing reflective professional development for teachers. 8 Guiding Principles for expert teaching in ECC:
- Positive classroom climates and relationships: a structured and safe classroom environment where relationships are valued and built on mutual respect.
- Planning for challenge: teachers plan for challenge, adapt lessons for their classes and have high expectations of what can be achieved.
- Explanation: students acquire new knowledge through effective teacher explanation and instruction.
- Modelling: teachers demonstrate how to apply knowledge in new contexts.
- Deliberate practice: clearly planned opportunities for students to practise and become experts.
- Questioning: teachers ask questions to both challenge students to think hard and to check their understanding.
- Assessment and feedback: teachers help students to address gaps in their knowledge and correct misconceptions.
- Developing long-term memory: explicit planning and teaching helps students to store and retrieve knowledge over time.
In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support pupils who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.
Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum at Exmouth Community College. The principles of ‘Learn, Progress, Grow’ are delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense. We are very proud of our music, drama, dance and PE extracurricular offer as well as activities that make the most of our location (Activity Week, Ten Tors, Duke of Edinburgh).
Alongside the continual use of checking for understanding and questioning in all lessons, students take recorded assessments, a minimum of three times a term in each subject (twice in subjects taught for one lesson a week) in KS3 and once a term in KS4/5. These assessments in conjunction with the ongoing daily assessment for learning allow pupils at the College to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. It also allows teachers to plan the next steps in teaching and identify gaps in knowledge and understanding.
In lessons pupils are quizzed on prior knowledge to embed this knowledge in their long-term memory. This frees up their working memory to attend to current learning. We place particular emphasis on the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing.
Knowledge organisers provide students with key information in each subject, broken down by term, enabling them to memorise the key knowledge they require in order to be able to perform higher-level functions such as analysis and evaluation. We also encourage all pupils to read widely and use the Accelerated Reader scheme, alongside a bespoke “reading for pleasure” focus in year 7