The broad and balanced curriculum at Gilsland School is progressive, rich in vocabulary and in knowledge and is approached through the CUSP Curriculum (Curriculum by Unity Schools Partnership). Children are taught in a fun and engaging way that suits the individual needs of each child and gives them the opportunity to grow to be successful, confident and resilient. Our school has strong community links and sits in a wonderful location on Hadrian's Wall which influences the teaching and learning. Their natural curiosity about their local environment is fostered through a creative and ambitious curriculum which excites and challenges. Our curriculum nurtures and prepares children educationally, socially, morally and physically for their continuing learning journey where doors will be opened, rather than closed, to future success.
For more information about CUSP, please visit their website here.
For sequenced plans explaining our coverage of all curriculum areas, please scroll to the Box folder below.
Reading - We actively encourage children to read for pleasure as this is an essential part of education. Reading for pleasure provides wide and significant educational advantages across the curriculum.
Accelerated Reader is used in our school to raise the expectations, progress and attainment in reading. Regular STAR reading tests are taken to closely monitor the children's progress and to make sure their ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) level is accurate. This level gives the children a range in which to choose their reading books, empowering them to know what will be a challenge for them or what will be the correct level for them. We encourage children to read for pleasure by providing a wide range of texts for all ages. The children regularly change their reading books and are guided by their ZPD level. We have a well-stocked library- full of both fiction and non-fiction- which children can access for a wide range of reading experiences.
The Teaching of Reading - We deliver the teaching of reading through the CUSP curriculum. This allows daily teaching of reading skills based on rich and engaging texts. As with every area of our curriculum, vocabulary is a vital part of this, as is the regular revisiting of skills to make sure they are embedded.
Writing- We deliver writing through the CUSP curriculum. Children are taught to develop both stamina and skills in writing as they progress through the school. They are taught to write at length with a heavy emphasis on vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and imagination! We weave these skills into many different genres (such as autobiographies, newspaper reports, balanced arguments) which we then revisit later in the year to make sure those skills are embedded. Please see the Box folder below for our coverage of writing genres throughout the school.
We deliver science through the CUSP curriculum.
1. Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content. Common misconceptions are explicitly revealed as non-examples and positioned against known and accurate content. In CUSP science, an extensive and connected knowledge base is constructed so that pupils can use these foundations and integrate it with what they already know. Misconceptions are challenged carefully and in the context of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge. In CUSP Science, it is recommended that misconceptions are not introduced too early, as pupils need to construct a mental model in which to position that new knowledge.
2. Disciplinary knowledge – this is knowing how to collect, use, interpret, understand and evaluate the evidence from scientific processes. This is taught. It is not assumed that pupils will acquire these skills by luck or hope. Pupils construct understanding by applying substantive knowledge to questioning and planning, observing, performing a range of tests, accurately measuring, comparing through identifying and classifying, using observations and gathering data to help answer questions, explaining and reporting, predicting, concluding, improving, and seeking patterns. We call it ‘Working Scientifically.’ CUSP science provides Working Scientifically coverage maps to check the balance of provision in KS1, Lower and Upper KS2. They are also present in the Whole Class Assessment toolkits.
3. Scientific analysis is developed through IPROF criteria. We call it ‘Thinking Scientifically.’
- identifying and classifying
- pattern seeking
- observing over time
- fair and comparative testing
4. Substantive concepts include concrete examples, such as ‘plant’ or more abstract ideas, such as ‘biodiversity’. Concepts are taught through explicit vocabulary instruction as well as through the direct content and context of the study.
We deliver history through the CUSP curriculum.
CUSP History draws upon several powerful sources of knowledge:
1. Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used about the past. Common misconceptions are explicitly revealed as non-examples and positioned against known and accurate content. Misconceptions are challenged carefully and in the context of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge. In CUSP History, it is recommended that misconceptions are not introduced too early, as pupils need to construct a mental model in which to position new knowledge.
2. Disciplinary knowledge – this is the use of that knowledge and how children construct understanding through historical claims, arguments and accounts. We call it ‘Working Historically.’ The features of thinking historically may involve significance, evidence, continuity and change, cause and consequence, historical perspective, and contextual interpretation.
3. Historical analysis is developed through selecting, organising and integrating knowledge through reasoning and inference making in response to our structured questions and challenges. We call this ‘Thinking historically’
4. Substantive concepts, such as tax, invasion and civilisation are taught through explicit vocabulary instruction as well as through the direct content and context of the study.
We deliver geography through the CUSP curriculum.
CUSP Geography draws upon several powerful sources of knowledge. It is our intention that pupils become a little more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating and connecting substantive and disciplinary geographical knowledge.
1. Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content. Common misconceptions are explicitly revealed as non-examples and positioned against known and accurate content as pupils become more expert in their understanding.
2. Disciplinary knowledge – this is the use of that knowledge and how children construct understanding through processes, evidence, pattern seeking, reasoning and explaining change. We call it ‘Thinking Geographically’.
3. Geographical analysis is developed through selecting, organising and integrating knowledge through reasoning and inference making in response to structured questions and challenges.
4. Substantive concepts include place, space, scale, interdependence, physical and human processes, environmental impact, sustainable development, cultural awareness and cultural diversity. Concepts such as change through erosion are taught through explicit vocabulary instruction as well as through the direct content and context of the study.
Children have a range of opportunities to develop their digital literacy and, computational thinking and creativity.
We do this by developing their skills in:
- Computer Science -where pupils are taught about how digital systems work, the principles of computation and how to put this into practice through programming. We do this using programs such as Scratch
- Information Technology, multimedia and word processing-using programs such as Microsoft Office (Word, Publisher, PowerPoint etc.) and devices such as laptops and iPads to develop everyday skills.
- Digital media -using computing software and hardware to create videos, music, art etc.
- Data management -using programs such as Microsoft Excel to create spreadsheets, tables and graphs.
- Online safety -making sure that the children develop their understanding of the digital world and what they need to do to be safe. We do this both in individual classes and as a whole school
Art and Design
Art and design is delivered through the CUSP curriculum. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a special way of understanding and responding to the world. It enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of colour, texture, form, pattern, line and shape and tone using different materials and processes. Children become involved in shaping their environments through painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, 3D and textiles . They learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions. They explore ideas and meanings through the work of artists and designers. Through learning about the roles and functions of art throughout history, and different cultures, they can explore the impact and how it contributes to the culture and creativity of our nation. The appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts enrich all our lives.
We promote an 'active' attitude amongst the children, where all pupils develop a keen interest in sport and are willing to partake in sporting activities.
We provide a variety of engaging lessons delivered by school staff and external bodies; deploy a wide range of teaching strategies and enter a good selection of competitions for the children across both key stages. By doing this, the pupils further develop their confidence and self-esteem when they are accessing P.E. lessons and when they are representing the school in sporting competitions.
The pupils also continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of sports, equipping them with the skills they need to access sporting activities.
The whole school has weekly swimming lessons in the Summer Term.
Through the teaching of Religious Education, our pupils are able to articulate how religious faith affects people’s lives.
Through 'Understanding Christianity', they use a variety of media, such as art and drama, to enable them to find answers and to support discussions. We support children to consider the ‘Big Questions’, engage with the text and to confidently use the Religious Literacy introduced in each Key Stage.
Pupils have varied opportunities to make links with the wider world and other faiths, whilst at the same time learning skills that will enable them to connect Christian practices, values and beliefs to events and teachings in the Bible.
To find out more about 'Understanding Christianity', please visit their website here.
PSHE- Personal, Social and Health Education/ RSE- Relationships and Sex Education
We provide a curriculum in which PSHE and citizenship are embedded. Our subject provision includes opportunities to develop pupils’ spiritual, moral and social-cultural development, whilst strongly upholding and promoting our school vision and British Values.
This, in turn, enables all children to develop an understanding of the ever-changing world in which we live, develop the skills necessary to take an active role in their community and manage their lives safely and effectively.
Our teaching programmes are supported by resources from Jigsaw.
Curriculum in the Foundation Stage
For children in their reception year we follow the Government’s 2021 Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The children’s learning and development is taught through seven areas of learning.
Three Prime areas:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Four Specific areas:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design