The Four Cornerstones of learning - Intent, Implementation and Impact

Our Intent - what we want our curriculum to achieve

At Holmer Lake Primary School, we want every child to be motivated to be the very best learner they can be. This means inspiring them with new and varied experiences every half-term. We want your child to have age-appropriate knowledge and the skills to access the curriculum. Early reading, writing and number are essential for children in the Reception Year. As your child progresses from Year 1 to Year 6, it is essential that your child is able to access the curriculum with age expected skills in reading, writing and mathematics. Our curriculum is based on our four-stage philosophy: Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express.

Imaginative Learning Projects (ILP)

Every half-term we will write to you to tell you about the curriculum offer for your child. We call these units of work Imaginative Learning projects. Over half a term your child will have a memorable experience, the opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills, a week to demonstrate how they can use and apply the knowledge and skills they have been taught and an opportunity to express what they have learnt to you and other audiences. This process forms the four-cornerstone philosophy of Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express.

The four cornerstones:

  • Engage - Implementing the curriculum
  • Develop - Implementing the curriculum
  • Innovate - Evaluating the impact of the curriculum
  • Express- Evaluating the impact of the curriculum

Implementation of the curriculum; how it will be taught

In order to engage every child, we ensure that they:

  • Take an active part in memorable first-hand experiences
  • Begin to read and research about their new theme using a range of source materials
  • Ask their own enquiry questions
  • Complete a Learning Genie task/home learning
  • Develop spoken language skills in different situations and with a range of people
  • Take part in sensory activities
  • Identify possibilities for future learning

Teachers will support the Engage Cornerstone by:

  • hooking learners in with a memorable experience
  • setting the scene and providing the context
  • asking questions to provoke thought and interest
  • using interesting starting points to spark children’s curiosity

In order to develop every child, we ensure that they:

  • Delve more deeply into the theme
  • Develop an understanding of new concepts and skills
  • Acquire new knowledge
  • Practise and master new skills
  • Make links between subjects across the curriculum
  • Revisit previously learnt skills
  • Compose, explore, make, do, build and investigate
  • Use transferable skills in different subjects and contexts
  • Read and write for different purposes and audiences
  • Follow pathways of enquiry based on their own interests
  • Explain and describe their learning and understanding
  • Complete Learning Genie homework on a weekly basis that supports their learning

Teachers will support the Develop Cornerstone by:

  • Teaching knowledge to provide depth of understanding
  • Demonstrating key skills and allowing time for consolidation
  • Providing creative opportunities for making and doing
  • Delivering reading, writing and talk across the curriculum

Impact - Evaluating the impact of the curriculum

In order to show how innovative they can be; every child will have the opportunity to:

  • Apply skills, knowledge and understanding to real life and imaginary contexts
  • Show enterprise in solving problems and resolving situations
  • Use their thinking skills to explore possibilities
  • Build on their self-esteem and confidence
  • Reflect upon and identify their own needs, skills and understanding
  • Work in pairs, groups, as a whole class and independently
  • Take on different roles and responsibilities

Teachers will support the Innovate Cornerstone by:

  • Providing imaginative scenarios for creative thinking
  • Enabling and assessing the application of previously learnt skills
  • Encouraging enterprise and independent thinking
  • Facilitating group and independent work to solve problems

In order to express every child will have the opportunity to:

  • perform, present and become the experts
  • evaluate, finish products, processes and progress
  • link what they have learnt to starting points or initial observations
  • reflect on their own learning
  • share their achievements with parents, peers, the community and beyond
  • celebrate their achievements

Teachers will support the Express Cornerstone by:

  • encourage reflective talk by asking question
  • provide opportunities for shared evaluation
  • celebrate success
  • identify next steps for learning

Assessment of the curriculum

In-school formative assessment

Formative assessment takes place during learning and:

  • assesses knowledge, skills and understanding
  • identifies children’s strengths
  • highlights gaps in learning
  • tackles children’s misconceptions
  • identifies the next steps in learning
  • diagnoses need for support or intervention
  • informs teacher planning and reporting.

Types of formative assessment include:

  • assessment for learning task at the start of each lesson
  • rich question and answer sessions during lessons
  • marking of pupils’ work
  • observational assessment (e.g. during the Innovate stage)
  • regular short re-cap tasks
  • scanning work, from across the curriculum, for pupil attainment and development
  • adult and peer feedback, response partners
  • use of the appropriate Assessment Arrangements for pupil writing
  • child self-assessment, reflection on learning – at the end of the Innovate stage.

We use Cornerstones’ Assessment to support our formative assessment methods.

Essential Skills, based on end of year age-related expectations, are used to inform planning in all foundation subjects. They break the programmes of study into end of year group expectations to show a clear progression. For each subject the skills are organised into aspects, allowing teachers to monitor children’s breadth of understanding.

We use the Essential Skills in two formats:

  • a subject-specific format, showing annual progression. This is used by subject leaders to track progression across school in particular subjects.
  • a year group format, showing all subjects for each year group. This is used by teachers to support planning and target-setting.   

Click here to read some success stories on the Cornerstones website.

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