You may well have heard in the press that there have been a number of changes to the Primary Curriculum with an emphasis on reasoning and problem-solving rather than arbitrary rules, to encourage children to think for themselves and develop critical reasoning. The Maths and English curriculum is now far more demanding with many concepts in Maths formerly reserved for Year 6 being taught in Year 4 and with a greater focus on grammar in English.
At King’s Infants & Juniors we are already well ahead of the game; last September saw the launch of our new “Learning Challenge” curriculum. This includes more time for English and Maths, which underpins everything that we do, whilst leaving adequate time to explore questions to broaden the children’s experiences. We call them “enquiry questions”.
Each half term we decide with the children the questions for each year group. In Autumn for instance, all Infants and Juniors considered “How Did the First World War Change People’s Lives?” We wanted parents to be involved so invited them to share family history or artefacts. This in turn led to some remarkable discoveries. Emma, a Year 6 pupil, researched her own family’s sacrifices and was inspired to write a haunting poem entitled, “The Lost Soldier”, which, along with Poppy paintings by Year One, was displayed at the Imperial War Museum North in December.
The “Learning Challenge” approach requires deep thinking and has been described as the curriculum for “intelligent schools”. Whilst it is still relatively early days, teachers have observed greater learner engagement and the children can’t wait for the new “enquiry questions” in the summer term.