Curriculum changes at Knighton House beginning September 2018: towards a new bespoke curriculum fit for the modern world.
We are delighted to announce that from September 2018 Knighton House will be moving away from the traditional prep school Common Entrance syllabus and introducing a new and bespoke KED (Knowledge Enlightenment Discovery) Curriculum.
The move to pre-testing pupils at the start of Year 7 creates an opportunity to reimagine our curriculum across the final two years. As you may be aware, it has become the exception for a pupil at Knighton to sit Common Entrance (CE). Many teachers at the best senior schools and our own leadership find CE unduly restrictive: teaching facts not skills and too often failing to inspire children in this critical moment in their education. At Knighton the staff works incredibly hard to bring the CE syllabus to life: it isn’t always easy.
We have consulted widely with senior schools and listened to them carefully on their requirements at entry. We also have 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 are proposing to introduce a new bespoke curriculum, with phase one beginning September 2018.
This phased approach means that in 2019 leavers will take Common Entrance papers in English, Maths, Science, French and either Spanish or Latin. The following year current Year 6 girls will not be expected to sit any Common Entrance exams.
I have received overwhelming support for the plans from Knighton’s Board of Governors, the Senior Leadership Team and the staff and, crucially, from senior schools. I want to assure you that we will continue to consult closely with senior schools as our new curriculum is developed and phased in. Support and enthusiasm for this change from senior schools is an important part of it.
Looking beyond 2019 Knighton pupils will 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) will continue to be used to track pupils’ academic progress.
Pupils’ broader learning skills and critical thinking will then be developed by integrated projects in Geography, History and Religious Studies — and potentially in other subjects too. Pupils will be assessed through a wider variety of assessments including essays, coursework and orals, as well as exams. Every Knighton pupil with receive 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 will help us create a better balance between factual knowledge and the development of real, transferable skills. We believe this will lay still stronger foundations for successful future study, examination performance and later life.
Our new KED curriculum will be intellectually sound in content and methodology and include more stretch and challenge for each pupil. 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 will be 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.
We’ll continue to prepare pupils for academic and other scholarships 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.
Over the course of this year, we will be liaising with you and with senior schools as we develop and phase in the new KED Curriculum. Next term there will be an opportunity to learn more about our vision for the KED Curriculum with two presentations followed by Q & A sessions (Friday 4th May at 3.30pm and Monday 11th June at 6pm).
The governors, the staff and myself are all committed to ensuring all the Knighton pupils 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 Knighton girls this change will ensure that every leaver goes on from Knighton intellectually confident: readier and better able to meet the challenges of senior school and the world beyond.