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At the start of the 2017/18 academic year, we started to design a curriculum that reflected the faith, interests and cultural heritage of our school community. Since then, we have designed and implemented a number of initiatives informed by research evidence that have raised both  standards in learning and pupil enjoyment. Our approach to the curriculum has also helped improve teacher well being by reducing workload and providing them with high quality supportive resources that support teaching and learning.

Our curriculum materials have been designed by practising teachers, expert university academics and other school stakeholders such as religious leaders. 


The curriculum has been constantly refined and altered in light of teacher, pupil and parental feedback.


Each subject is taught explicitly and is broken down into distinct units of study. We made the decision to move away from 'themes' (integrated curriculum) and instead teach foundation subjects such as geography, history and art as separate entities. By doing so, we can teach knowledge and skills at a greater depth rather than making spurious links between subjects and content not relevant for children. For example, when we teach geography, we teach skills and knowledge at a great depth, rather than making tedious links to a theme for the sake of it.  


Our foundation curriculum is taught using pupil workbooks that are designed and produced by Harper Bell staff. All pupil books are based on a consistent design and in line with the standard structure that we base all lessons on. Therefore, our curriculum is coherently planned and easily implemented, regardless of who is teaching it. Furthermore, the use of pupil workbooks and a standard lesson structure, serves to help develop staff in effective pedagogical approaches. 

Bespoke pupil workbooks have been designed for the following subjects:

  • Extended Writing 

  • History 

  • Geography 

  • Science

  • Latin 

  • Oracy and Debating


Each unit of work and corresponding pupil workbook includes the following key features: 


  1. Knowledge organiser -  A knowledge organiser is a document, usually no more than two sides of A4, that contains key facts and information that children need to have an understanding of before the end of a unit. It is a key planning, assessment and teaching document for teachers. 

  2. Pre and post unit assessment - In order to gauge how much pupils have learned, it is not enough to assess their knowledge and skills at the end of each unit. We also need to find out what they know at the outset of a new topic so that we can identify more specifically the knowledge and skills they have gained during the unit. The pre and post unit assessments are exactly the same and provide teachers with key information regarding the strengths and development areas of their pupils' knowledge and skills. This information subsequently informs planning and teaching.  

  3. KWL grid - Used in conjunction to the pre and post unit assessments, KWL grids are a graphic organiser that helps children organise information before, during, and after a unit of study. They are used to engage pupils in a new topic, activate prior knowledge, share unit objectives, and monitor pupils' learning. 

  4. Key vocabulary and glossary - Learning vocabulary is a gradual process that often requires repetition. Key vocabulary is presented, defined and put into a context at the start and end of each lesson. Each lesson has a bank of vocabulary that must be explicitly taught in order for pupils to fully engage in a topic. Contextual vocabulary acquisition is further aided by the development of a unit glossary, which is added to and referred each lesson.

  5. Graphic Organiser - Each unit of study culminates with pupils producing a visually stimulating graphic organiser to summarise the key learning from the a topic. Not only does this aid long term retention of knowledge, it also serves to summarise the content that will form the basis of the end of unit essay.  

  6. Revision - Each lesson starts with a revision task and ends with an exit ticket. Both tasks require pupils to retrieve key information and help ensure that the essential learning outlined in the knowledge organiser 'sticks'. Revision tasks are also an important assessment tool for teachers as they provide them with key information about pupils' misconceptions, as well as an overview of what information has been retained and by whom.

  7. Essays - Each unit culminates with an extended essay that is used to assess the information that has been retained, as opposed to a pupil's literacy skills. Essays require children to retrieve knowledge from across a whole unit of study and therefore aid the retention of knowledge. They also support the development of important skills such as the ability to reason, argue, persuade and consider multiple perspectives. 

Foundation Curriculum - Implementation.J

To collaborate with us on curriculum design and development, please email:

Examples of history pupil workbooks: 

Examples of science pupil workbooks: 

Examples of Latin pupil workbooks: 

Examples of geography pupil workbooks: 

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