Our vision at Paddington Academy is to deliver a knowledge-rich curriculum that is cohesive, cumulative and highly sequenced. It is academic, rigorous and challenging, and designed with long-term memory in mind; students’ knowledge, skills and understanding are cemented by frequent and systematic revisiting.
In order to help our students achieve their full potential, we are developing a knowledge-rich curriculum which provides them with the foundation on which to build further study and skill development across all their subjects. Wherever possible, the curriculum is sequential and chronological, contextualising content to secure students’ understanding of how the small details form a part of the bigger picture and how it’s relevant. This helps students make links between their subjects, such as the crossover between history and literature, for example.
The curriculum is progressive in quality and quantity across the years and key stages, and mapped in precise detail. This ensures consistency and a shared understanding of high learning expectations. The curriculum is designed with content and skill development underpinned by age-related key performance indicators (KPIs).
The curriculum is broken down into three learning cycles over each academic year, which allow for deep and extended exploration of topics. This approach enables students to master the knowledge, skills and understanding in detail.
100% and self-quizzing books
For every learning cycle, the content for each subject is distilled into a knowledge organiser. This provides key fingertip knowledge for each subject. Each cycle, all the knowledge organisers are collated into a 100% book or folder which each student receives. These 100% books underpin mapped revision homework, alongside regular skill-focused homework.
Students are also provided with a self-quizzing book, which they use in order to test themselves on the knowledge in their 100% book; self-quizzing is one of the most effective revision strategies to embed key knowledge. Students are taught how to use the read, cover, write, check revision strategy and question and answer flashcards to test themselves. This encourages students to take ownership of their learning, and to support them in developing good learning habits. Embedding this content is critical for long-term success and effective retrieval from long-term memory.
Self-quizzing strategies we recommend are:
- The Leitner system: students create Q&A flashcards with a question on one side, and an answer on the other (or key terminology on one side, and definitions on the other). They test themselves several times a week, and revise each card depending on whether they got it right last time or not. Watch the video to see it in action - video available at the following link.
- Read, cover, write, check students learn key information in their knowledge organisers by reading a small section, covering it up, saying the definitions to themselves, writing out those key terms and definitions in their self-quizzing books, then checking to see if they got them right. They should correct any errors in green pen, then repeat the process.
Effective revision should make you think
- Support your child by encouraging them to:
- Create an organised revision timetable
- Space topics and subjects out over time
- Read, cover, write, check
- Create Q&A flashcards
- Use the Leitner system to space revision
- Do lots of practice testing e.g. on Hegarty Maths or with practice papers
Progress of students in Years 7-10 is assessed summatively three times per year through standardised test that cover the whole domain of knowledge (rather than the recently-taught sample) from the autumn term in Year 7 onwards. This is supported by regular interim formative assessment feedback and regular low-stakes quizzing, and in practical subjects, by on-going assessment of practical work. This regularity encourages students to develop strong revision habits, and ensures they have revisited key content even after moving on to another topic.
In Year 11, students are assessed five times throughout the year, and at KS5, the summative assessment occurs at three KS5-specific assessment points throughout the year.
How to support your child with effective revision
Research around memory suggests that if knowledge is studied once and not revisited or revised, it is not stored in the long-term memory. This means that after one lesson, or revising for one test, the knowledge will not be retained unless it is studied again. It won’t be recalled unless it is revisited frequently, which will embed it in the long-term memory. This will make it easier to recall in the future.
Students should be revising what they have been taught recently, but also content that they were taught previously such as last term, or last year, for example.
To support this revision, students should be testing themselves on the content in their knowledge organisers (see the examples of these given here) by self-quizzing.