The KED Curriculum at Knighton House
Last year we announced an important development for Knighton House: the gradual introduction of a new and bespoke KED (Knowledge Enlightenment Discovery) Curriculum. The move to pre-testing pupils at the start of Year 7 created an opportunity to reimagine our curriculum across the final two years. Many teachers at the best senior schools and our own leadership were finding the Common Entrance syllabus and exams unduly restrictive: teaching facts not skills and too often failing to inspire children in this critical moment in their education. We consulted widely with senior schools and listened to them carefully on their requirements at entry. We also examined several new, modern syllabi that develop deeper skills of analysis and encourage better development of critical thinking and problem solving.
Rather than opting for an off-the-shelf curriculum we have carefully developed a new bespoke curriculum for the children at Knighton. Our KED curriculum is intellectually sound in content and methodology and includes more stretch and challenge for each child. The aim is to increase pupil engagement while embedding positive learning dispositions, intrinsic motivation and a life-long love of learning. We are very conscious of the need to seed and develop the skills necessary for a changing world. We therefore focus on developing pupil’s thinking skills and promoting problem solving and meaningful learning — rather than the short-term retention of certain sets of more or less arbitrary facts.
Crucially too, its development continues all the time allowing teachers to plan a curriculum that grows organically and, critically, is not bound by a rigid set of exams at the end. With a successful introduction in 2019, Knighton children now follow an enhanced syllabus that is still aligned to Common Entrance in English, Maths and Science. Meanwhile standardised tests (GL Assessments: Progress Tests in English and Maths; Reading Tests and CAT tests) continue to be used to track pupils’ academic progress.
Children’s’ broader learning skills and critical thinking are developed by integrated projects in Geography, History and Religious Studies as well as in other subjects like music, art and design. Pupils are evaluated through a wide variety of assessments including essays, coursework and orals, as well as exams. When they leave, every Knighton child receives a Leaver’s Report with a detailed assessment of these projects specifying their learning skills, knowledge and other talents.
Moving away from the somewhat rigid Common Entrance curriculum and testing regime has helped us create a better balance between factual knowledge and the development of real, transferable skills. We believe this has laid even stronger foundations for successful future study, examination performance and later life. We continue to prepare pupils for academic and other scholarships to their chosen senior schools with the same thoroughness as now. Indeed it is our belief that scholars will benefit from our increased focus on transferable skills and the development of critical thinking.
The governors, the staff and I are all committed to ensuring all the Knighton children experience a state-of-the-art, enlightened, inspiring and modern curriculum fit for the Twenty First Century. For teachers this is an amazing opportunity to develop new teaching and learning ideas. For our children the KED curriculum ensures that every leaver goes on from Knighton intellectually confident: readier and better able to meet the challenges of senior school and the world beyond.
These short films will give you the flavour of our curriculum.
Each term at Knighton is themed around a particular learning disposition.
In 2017/18, our three themes have been Resilience; Curiosity; and Optimism.
Autumn term 2017 – Resilience: Being resilient means learning how to cope with and rise to the challenges, problems and set-backs we face in school life in a positive way.
Spring term 2018 – Curiosity: Do you want to know everything? Do you ask endless questions? Do you always want to find out? Research shows that curiosity prepares our brains for learning. We found out how and why.
Summer term 2018 – Optimism: Optimism is a mental attitude reflecting a belief or hope that the outcome of some specific endeavour, or outcomes in general, will be positive, favourable, and desirable. Applying this to our learning and all aspects of school life has many benefits; we will explore how this term.
The first day of each term is devoted to the termly theme with a Learning Disposition Day.
Learning Disposition Days
Learning Dispositions are very important at Knighton House; asking girls to think not about what they learn but how they go about the learning process, developing important skills for their future. ‘Being right’ is never the focus of our disposition days, but having a go, showing good thinking, taking courage with their learning and involving themselves, is paramount.
What are the learning dispositions?
Independence | Self-motivation | Resilience | Concentration | Communication | Creativity | Optimism | Persistence | Risk Taking | Self- Control | Co-operation/Collaboration | Curiosity