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How: Learning Challenge Curriculum

The Learning Challenge Curriculum


We hope that from the moment pupils start with us they embark on their most exciting learning journey ever.  We believe children learn best when they are actively engaged in their own learning and it is for this reason that we have put so much effort, energy and enthusiasm into our Learning Challenge Curriculum.  Our pupils tell us they love it, their engagement and achievement tell us it's working too.


What is the Difference between the National Curriculum and the Learning Challenge Curriculum?

The National Curriculum outlines the essentials that every child must learn, for example it outlines that children must learn to read but does not determine which texts they should read, it outlines which scientific processes and concepts children need to know but not the context in which they must learn them.  It outlines the main geographic and historical principles and key events that need to be taught but does not determine how children should learn them.  The National Curriculum is only one part of the much broader curriculum children should experience at school, it should not be all that children learn.  At Castle Hill we have, over many years, developed our teaching and learning based on the Learning Challenge Curriculum.  We work carefully together to encompass the National, Local. Global and School curriculum into our own Learning Challenge Curriculum.  Our Curriculum is central to teaching and learning at Castle Hill, it is constantly under review and evaluation and is kept fresh by the contributions made by learners. 


What is the learning Challenge Curriculum?

It is a curriculum which starts with the learner.  Teachers find out from pupils what it is they are interested in and want to find out about.  They then weave the essential elements of learning into that framework.  We believe all learning starts with a BIG question and from that other questions, or subsidiary questions arise, at various points along the way.  Each half term pupils' work with teachers to plan their own BIG question and subsidiary questions based on their Learning Challenge.  This ensures pupils are motivated and well engaged because they are learning about things that interest and excite them.  Learning Challenges are underpinned by a secure framework which weaves together the critical elements of teaching, learning and assessment to ensure pupils make good progress. 


How are the basic skills taught

We put a strong focus on the basic skills of reading, writing, oracy, mathematics and technology, as we believe these skills are essential to success.  These basic skills are closely linked to the National Curriculum and all year groups put so much emphasis on these skills that they have their own non-negotiables in these areas, which grow as the year progresses.  Teachers plan around the distinctive needs of their pupils, and ensure that the basic skills are a strong feature of learning.  During a Learning Challenge teachers may take a cross curricular approach which means that several areas of the curriculum may be developed at the same time, or specific skills may be developed through a unit or block of learning.  All Learning Challenges take an enquiry based approach where pupils help to decide upon what they will find out about and formulate their own questions. Teachers, skilfully, weave aspects of what pupils want to find out about into the nuts and bolts of a series of lessons to ensure pupils acquire the skills and knowledge they need. Throughout the Learning Challenge pupils have multiple opportunities to practise and embed the basic skills of reading, writing, maths, oracy and technology, as well as developing the MAGIC habits and learning to learn skills.  


What are some examples of Learning Challenges pupils have tackled?

We have had many different learning challenges in the past, some become familiar favourites and are requested by children who have had a taster through watching assemblies or talking to others.  We hope you will agree that Caste Hill pupils' have helped devise a truly exciting and memorable set of Learning Challenges. This list is not exhaustive and we are sure there will be several new ones to add in the future.

Why do people still remember the Titanic? Who was Martin Luther King?  Who was Blackbeard?  Who was Andy Warhol? How has medicine changed through the ages?  How has school changed through the ages? What was the Black Death? Why is my school called Castle Hill? How did the Victorians change the World? Was the Great Fire of London really a disaster? Were the Tudors so terrible? Which Tudor job would I have liked to do? Henry Tudor, Hero or Villain? Who was Catherine Howard? What did the Romans do for us?  Who were better the Ancient Greeks or the Ancient Egyptians? What was life like for children during World War 2? How has life changed since Word War 2?

Is China or America the real Superpower? Do we really need Rainforests? What would my life be like if I lived in India? Would Mexico be my ideal holiday location? Where does my food come from? If an Alien visited Earth what would I show it to help it understand my planet?

Could bacteria take over the world? What comes first thunder or lightening? What is in Space? Is there anyone out there? Could other planets sustain life? Would a dinosaur make a good pet? What makes the earth angry? What lives under the sea? What lives in our school grounds?

Could I be Willy Wonka’s next apprentice? Could I be the next Walt Disney? What will it take for me to Succeed on my life journey? What things do people celebrate and why? Who is my favourite storybook character? Is there room on the broom for a Gruffalo?