The Knowledge Schools Trust
The Knowledge Schools Trust puts a knowledge-rich curriculum at the heart of its schools, driving academic excellence and the desire to succeed, regardless of background.
Through the development of the Primary Knowledge Curriculum, The Knowledge Schools Trust aims to help promote and support the development of schools and trusts who share the same vision.
Since 2013, the schools in the Trust have been developing and enacting a knowledge rich curriculum, based on the Core Knowledge materials published by Civitas UK.
In 2016, the Trust led a ‘Curriculum Co-operative’; a group of like-minded schools passionate about developing knowledge-rich curricula in primary schools. As part of the ‘Curriculum Co-operative’, the Trust shared planning and resources in art, science, history and geography, and led subject knowledge training for Key Stage 1 teachers.
As a result of the increased interest in knowledge-rich curricula and the success of the co-operative, the Knowledge Schools Trust appointed a Curriculum Director to oversee a team of specialists to develop the Primary Knowledge Curriculum.
From September 2018, the Knowledge Schools Trust began a two-year Pilot programme sharing the Primary Knowledge Curriculum with other schools through training and professional development opportunities focussed on history, geography, art and science.
Following on from the success of the Pilot programme, the Knowledge Schools Trust is excited to announce the launch of the Primary Knowledge Curriculum Partnership. Through the PKC Partnership, the KST will be able to fund ongoing curriculum work, led by curriculum experts and subject specialists, developing and sharing the best knowledge-rich materials and CPD with partner schools.
What is a Knowledge Rich Curriculum?
A knowledge-rich curriculum places powerful knowledge at the heart of the curriculum. The knowledge content is carefully chosen and organised in a coherent way, ensuring it builds from year to year. In this way, the knowledge in the curriculum is cumulative, constructing firm foundations from which children can build conceptual understanding and skills over time.
The National Curriculum 2014 encouraged schools to place more emphasis on teaching knowledge. Thinkers such as E.D Hirsch, Daniel Willingham and Dylan Wiliam have influenced how knowledge is considered in the curriculum. Schools are now asking questions about what content should be taught, in what order, and also reflecting upon what children remember and how they remember it. Importantly, findings from cognitive science are beginning to influence practice in the classroom. The Primary Knowledge Curriculum has been developed in line with current thinking on how children learn.
For us, a knowledge-rich curriculum is an entitlement for every child, regardless of background. Curriculum coherence ensures that teaching does not jump from topic to topic, from ‘Under the Sea’ to ‘Superheroes’, but enables children to develop knowledge, and love of subjects. Subject content is crucial to this approach- the content provides the engagement and plants the seeds for a lifetime of learning.
An essential element of a knowledge curriculum is the development of a broad and rich vocabulary, and the ambitious and explicit teaching of this. The vocabulary content of the Primary Knowledge Curriculum has been planned with the purpose of addressing the ‘word gap’ for children who enter school with a limited vocabulary.