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.
The PKC Team
Alex Pethick is the Director of Curriculum for the Knowledge Schools Trust Primaries.
She is responsible for overseeing the design of the KST Primary Knowledge Curriculum, as well as leading the ‘Primary Knowledge Curriculum Partnership’ and CPD programme.
Alex joined the trust as the Deputy Headteacher for West London Free School Primary and Earl’s Court Free School Primary in 2016. She previously taught in both rural Suffolk and inner city London.
Before completing a PGCE at the University of Cambridge, Alex studied history at the University of Essex.
Emma Lennard is an independent primary curriculum advisor, working with schools across the country.
She began working with the Knowledge Schools Trust in 2013, as they opened their first primary school.
Emma has supported the trust to develop their Primary Knowledge Curriculum; writing curriculum content, developing CPD for teachers and delivering training. Emma previously worked with the Westminster based think-tank, Civitas, developing the Core Knowledge UK curriculum.
Emma has spoken at a variety of education conferences and teacher training events. She has supported DfE panels on qualification reform and Early Years.
Before completing a PGCE with the Primary Catholic Partnership in Southampton and then teaching in central London, Emma studied International Relations at the University of Exeter.
Naomi Pilling is the primary school art and design teacher for the Knowledge Schools Trust.
She has taught for the Trust for four years and over that time has developed and taught the art and design Primary Knowledge Curriculum. She also delivers CPD in art and design for the Trust.
Naomi studied music at King’s College, London before becoming a solicitor and then retraining to be a primary school teacher.
She has exhibited paintings and sculpture and has a particular interest in printmaking.
She is currently studying for an MA in Art History at Birkbeck, University of London.
Jaime Paul is the Primary Projects Manager for the Knowledge Schools Trust.
She became involved with the Trust initially as a parent, co-chairing the Friends of KPA from 2016 and has established a role within the PKC team over the last two years, providing administrative and website support.
Jaime is involved in the delivery of the DfE funded English Hub and "The Club", the out of school care and enrichment provision for the schools.
She has two children currently attending the Knowledge Schools Trust Primaries.