Overview of Curious-City Enquiry Learning
The intention of our curriculum is to create a culture of enquiry, curiosity and challenge that permeates everything we do. At the heart of our learning, we continue to incorporate our core foci; oracy, cultural capital and reading.
The Bridge Learning Campus vision is to provide all our young people with the knowledge and skills that they will need to thrive, not just in their local community but in the wider world as it really is, not as it once was.
Working in partnership with our families, we will help them to be happy, confident, resilient, independent and motivated; to use our shared values to make informed choices; to develop a life-long love of learning; to achieve highly and to the best of their ability; to feel valued.
We want to help them to ask great questions and think critically; teach them how to make things; how to speak confidently and listen actively; how to be aspirational and self-organising; how to be enquiring and curious and to discover things for themselves; how to protect their own (physical and mental) health and care for others; how to build positive relationships and contribute to their community; to value nature and care for the environment; how to engage actively and creatively; to set them up to live successfully.
To do all this, we will provide a safe, secure and aspirational learning environment and the opportunity to participate in a range of stimulating experiences.
How our curriculum is organised:
What is enquiry-based learning at Bridge Learning Campus?
Our enquiry curriculum enables our learners to become curious about the local world around them. Using the Curious City Curriculum as a starting point, we can teach the National Curriculum through a content that is centred around Bristol. This gives learners a valuable context to their learning that they can relate to and then gives them the tools to look outward towards the world around them. We find that this approach, streamlines, aligns and ensures everything we do is purposeful, progressive and immersive with local places, people and stories.
What is enquiry led learning?
In a nutshell, enquiry-led learning provokes learners with key questions too big to answer in one go, but not so conceptually large that they cannot understand. The purpose is to guide learners through a scaffolded process, where they engage, immerse, practice and finally challenge themselves to answer the big question with a piece of writing, performance or animation, for example. Through this process learners develop both the skills and knowledge they need in order to answer the big question, and through the practice section, they are given the time and space that they need to apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired. Within each enquiry, oracy skills are taught systematically, following the Voice 21 progression and oracy framework. Learners then practice these skills and apply them within the context of their enquiry learning.
What are the core principles underpinning this?
As cognitive development, emotional literacy and language immersion underpin the Curious-city approach, as well as purposeful links to mastery-led learning principles and attachment theory, we recognise children’s awareness of the world develops as they mature and that this has a significant impact on their ability to learn. Our job is to help learners make sense of the world, not just expose them to it. This means that initially learning reinforces personal identity and the present day, which is essential in creating self-aware individuals. As they develop, we then connect them to the immediate environment/community/country until they are able conceptualise abstract themes such as tolerance or culture on a global scale: from ‘Me’ to ‘Everyone’
Adapted Model of Bronfenbrenner (1989) Ecology of Human Development by Lighting up Learning (2021)
How does this affect lessons?
Lessons may also feel different in our setting from the norm. Think of a child’s time in school as a continuum of experiences rather than a set of lessons. Sometimes experiences are short, sharp and immersive, other times they are light-touch events over a longer period of time. This is exactly what a curious, knowledge-engaged curriculum should be.
The usual Author (English) and Mathematicians (Maths) teaching sequences continue. National Curriculum subject objectives from Science, History, Geography, Art and Design, Design and Technology, Music are woven throughout enquiries as seen on the Whole School Enquiries Map. Some subjects (renamed using the States of Being) are taught discreetly, such as Foreign Languages (Linguists), Physical Education, Faith Community and Culture and PSHE (Jigsaw). Where possible learning is still taught through an enquiry approach and links are made, but more often than not, they are stand-alone experiences.
What are States of Being?
States of being (below) enable learners to focus on and/or combine powerful knowledge in different enquiries. Each knowledge-engaged state symbolises an aspect of the curriculum, helping learners to master both the know of and know how of a subject, not just remember it. For instance, we want our learners to be Scientists, not just learn about science. As learners get older, we help them cross-pollinate states. We want learners to discover for themselves that they can be an Author, Scientist, Geographer and Philosopher at the same time and that some adults combine these states to become Archaeologists, for instance. We want our learners to see the interconnection between what they are learning and how this knowledge is applied. We intend for our children to talk about being an Author or a Scientist rather than ‘doing’ Science or English.
Oracy (speaking and listening) is taught through all subject areas and permeates through our school. We offer opportunities for all children to develop their skills in learning through talk as well as learning to talk and this is showcased through every enquiry as well as being embedded in English, Mathematics.
Our core values supports our curriculum and also provide our learners with an exciting and enriching experience at Bridge Learning Campus. We understand the importance of providing the equality of opportunity for all and how this is fundamental in allowing our children to thrive. Our core values focuses on providing opportunity to practice skills linked to the states of beings and to continue to build upon our school values, the 3 Rs:
British Values In accordance with The Department for Education
We aim to actively promote British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. Pupils are encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance and understand that while different people may hold different views about what is “right” and “wrong”, all people living in England are subject to its law.
At Bridge Learning Campus our values of Respect, Responsibility and Resilience underpin all that we do and are interwoven with the DfE’s definition of ‘fundamental British Values’, namely:
• The rule of law
• Individual liberty
• Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
The Jigsaw and Faith Community & Culture Curriculum provides explicit teaching of fundamental British values every year. Additional planned opportunities such as assemblies, School Council visits and visitors provide children with experience that brings to life these values in the correct context and setting.
What are States of Being?
The ABC’s of Curious-City: Activities to Enjoy at Home