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Module 4: Pedagogy and Knowledge

Introduction to Module 4:

This module consists of 6 weeks of learning:

Week 1: Curriculum Design and Principles

Week 2: The Newingate School Curriculum

Week 3: Developing Knowledge 

Week 4: Developing Literacy

Week 5:  Cross Curricular Learning

Week 6: Embedding 21st Century Skills in the curriculum

The Learn that... and Learn how to statements covered within this module are captured on the ECF Induction Programme mapping document. 

Week 1: Curriculum Design and Principles

This week will focus on curriculum.  We will explore what curriculum means and then consider the process of bringing the curriculum framework to life and designing a curriculum for your pupils using a clear process and introducing some key principles.  We will introduce the idea of a 'knowledge-rich' curriculum and consider what this means and critically consider its relevance for your pupils.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

What is a curriculum?

A curriculum can be defined as:

"a standards-based sequence of planned experiences where students practice and achieve proficiency in content and applied learning skills. Curriculum is the central guide for all educators as to what is essential for teaching and learning, so that every student has access to rigorous academic experiences" (State of Rhode Island Department for Education, n.d)

In England all schools generally follow the National Curriculum which establishes a framework of subject content ordered by Key Stage.


The DfE define the National Curriculum as "a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject" (DfE, n.d).  

Academies and Private schools are not required to follow the National Curriculum but must teach a 'broad and balanced curriculum' that incudes the teaching of English, maths and science as well as relationships and sex education.

Scotland and Wales also have a curriculum but these differ from the English curriculum.  We will be focusing on the English curriculum but you may find it interesting to learn more about Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence and The Curriculum for Wales, comparing these to the English National Curriculum.

For study post 16 there is no set curriculum.  At this stage the curriculum is build through the varying courses written by examination boards, be that Apprenticeships, A-Levels, T-Levels or other vocational qualifications such as BTECs.  

Curriculum Design.

Whilst the National Curriculum (or Post16, the syllabus) sets out the subjects, topics and standards expected to be learnt, it is up to individual schools to interpret and the curriculum and design how this will be delivered to it pupils.

There are 5 key elements to consider when designing the curriculum:

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 09.37.51.png

(Adapted from State of Rhode Island Department for Education, n.d).

Let's take a look at each stage in more detail:

  • Curriculum - the National Curriculum statements.

  • Goals/Aims - what the aim of the learning is relating to the NC statement E.g. what does the pupil need to learn?

  • Methods - what pedagogical approaches will you use to teach this and enable the learning to be achieved?

  • Materials/Resources - What resources/materials will support your teaching and the pupils' learning?

  • Assessment - how will you assess the pupils' learning to know that the aims/goals have been achieved?

The DfE reference three stages within their curriculum guidance: Intent, Implementation and Impact.  These can be aligned with the above diagram:

Intent = Curriculum & goals and aims

Implementation = Methods and Materials/Resources

Impact = Assessment


Explore the DfE definition of each on pages 11-12 of 'A Guide to Effective Practice in Curriculum Planning' (DfE, 2023):

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 09.51.00.png

Take some time to read this article by Ambition Institute (n.d) that explore curriculum design principles.

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 10.01.00.png

It is important that you do not see a 'curriculum' as simply the National Curriculum framework. 


To offer a vibrant and engaging curriculum it is down to you, as a teacher, along with colleagues to take both the National Curriculum alongside the specific school curriculum policy and apply this to your classroom and your pupils.

Starting with the key subjects (topics) that need to be learnt to the standard that is expected you you need to plan your curriculum.  Using the State of Rhode Island's process will scaffold this for you and encourage you to think about the key elements of curriculum design.

Another useful checklist is the one below, the identifies 7 key principles of curriculum design.  Take time to consider each of these.  A full sized version of this document can be accessed by clicking on the image below:

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 10.04.14.png

A knowledge Rich Curriculum.

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 09.57.55.png

You will recognise the above quote, as it was within the Ambition Institute's article that you read about curriculum design.

There is a clear focus here on the role of the curriculum in developing knowledge.  This is often referred to as a 'knowledge rich curriculum'.

"Recent Ofsted research defined a ​‘knowledge-rich’ approach as one in which curriculum leaders are clear on the ​“invaluable knowledge they want their pupils to know(Quigley, 2019).

Read the full EEF blog to help you understand, and unpick the notion of  'a knowledge rich curriculum':

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 10.28.33.png

Nick Gibb (2021) explore the importance of a knowledge rich curriculum.  

You can read his speech by clicking on the title below.  This offers a governmental perspective on knowledge and the importance of developing knowledge within the education system.

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 10.32.14.png

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Using the process of curriculum design, consider a subject you are teaching this term.  

Ensure you identify the curriculum subject and standard you are focusing on.

Establish the goals/aims for this learning.

Consider the approaches to teaching and learning you will take that best supports pupil learning.

Identify the resources and materials you will require to support teaching and learning.

Think about both formative and summative assessments and when and how these will be undertaken.

You might also consider Williams' (2019) 7 principles and consider how these will be addressed within your curriculum design.

Take your ideas to discuss at your weekly mentor meeting.

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 09.37.51.png

Reflection and Discussion

Reflect upon this week's learning.  

What have you learnt about curriculum design?

How will you adapt or change your practice as a result?

Does the process for curriculum design as well as the key principles of curriculum design support you in designing the curriculum for your pupils, and how?

What do you understand a 'knowledge-rich' curriculum to be?  

Do you agree with a focus on knowledge or do you think there are other key aspects to education?  How does the idea of a knowledge-rich curriculum align with the needs of your pupils and the special needs they have?

Be prepared to discuss these questions at your weekly mentor meeting.


Ambition Institute (no date) Curriculum Design Principles: A Guide for Educators. Available at: https://www.ambition.org.uk/blog/science-better-curriculum-10-principles-curriculum-design/#:~:text=Curriculum%20design%20means%20planning%20in,on%20what%20they're%20teaching. 

DfE (2023) A Guide to Effective Practice in Curriculum Planning. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/63c8f96b8fa8f507a2bde776/A__guide_to_effective_practice_in_curriculum_planning__January_2023.pdf 

Education Scotland (no date). Curriculum for Excellence. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/curriculum-for-excellence/

GOV.UK (no date) The National Curriculum. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum 

GOV.UK (2021) The Importance of a knowledge-rich curriculum - Speech by Nick Gibb. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-importance-of-a-knowledge-rich-curriculum

HWB (no date) The Curriculum for Wales. Available at:https://hwb.gov.wales/curriculum-for-wales 

Quigley, A. (2019) What do we mean by 'knowledge rich' anyway? EEF 9 January 2019. Available at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/news/eef-blog-what-do-we-mean-by-knowledge-rich-anyway 

State of Rhode Island Department for Education (no date) Curriculum Definition. Available at: https://ride.ri.gov/instruction-assessment/curriculum/curriculum-definition#:~:text=Curriculum%20is%20a%20standards%2Dbased,access%20to%20rigorous%20academic%20experiences.  

William, D. (2013) Principles Curriculum Design. SSAT Ltd. Available at: https://leadinglearner.me/2019/04/03/7-principles-of-good-curriculum-design/

Week 2: The Newingate School Curriculum

This week we will explore curriculum in the context of your own setting by exploring the vision, policy and approach to the Newingate School Curriculum.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

Take some time to read the Newingate School Curriculum Policy. 


As you read this consider how this policy applies to your practice and if there are areas of policy that you feel you need to address or consider further.  

Note these areas down to discuss with your mentor at your weekly meeting.

Also, note down anything that you require clarification on or questions you have.  

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 12.46.29.png

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Arrange to meet your Headteacher.

Use this discussion to explore their vision for the curriculum at Newingate School.

Ask them any questions that you noted down from reading Newgate School's Curriculum Policy.

Questions you may want to ask might include:

  • What is your vision for the curriculum at Newingate School

  • To you, what does a good curriculum look like?

  • What are the challenges of providing a broad and balanced curriculum within a setting such as this?

  • What influences your choices as to the curriculum or do you leave this to the teaching team.

  • How do you hope the curriculum here to evolve?

Reflection and Discussion

Reflecting upon your own practice.  

How does your practice align with the school's curriculum policy?  Are there areas you need to develop, change or adapt?

How does the Headteacher's curriculum vision and thinking align with your own?  What are the similarities in your thinking and where do you differ?

Do you have a role to play within the evolving curriculum?  What do you see this role as?


Week 3: Developing Knowledge

This week we will consider how pupils develop knowledge and highlight the importance of developing foundational knowledge before moving on to more complex knowledge through identifying prior knowledge, addressing misconceptions and allowing time for deliberate practice.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

"Students learn by connecting new knowledge with knowledge and concepts that they already know, thereby constructing new meanings (NRC, 2000). Research suggests that students connect knowledge most effectively in active social classrooms, where they negotiate understanding through interaction and varied approaches." (Poorvu Centre for Teaching and Learning, n.d)

As a teacher, it is important to structure and sequence the development of knowledge for your pupils ensuring that the foundational knowledge is understood prior to moving onto more complex content.

Developing knowledge comes with challenges for pupils, who often develop or hold on to "misconceptions or erroneous ways of thinking, which can weaken connections with new knowledge" (Ambrose, 2010. in Poorvu Centrer for Teaching and Learning, n.d).

It is the job of a teacher to scaffold pupils learning to enable them to build their knowledge and retain such knowledge in order for pupils to make meaningful connections and be able to effectively apply their knowledge.

Using the cycle below will help to visualise this process:

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 15.39.21.png

In order to support your pupils in developing knowledge and to build strong conceptual framework teachers should:

  • establish prior knowledge and misconceptions (we have discussed misconceptions and prior knowledge previously).

  • create learning opportunities that are underpinned by social constructivism and which are active and multi-modal and allow pupils time to practice.

  • accurately assess pupil learning through a variety of modes of formative assessment.

Below is an example of this in practice - where a teacher is developing pupils' knowledge in biology:

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 15.40.57.png

Poorvu Center for teaching and Learning, n.d)

This short blog and associated templates from The Royal Society of Chemistry, highlight how effective sequencing supports pupils in developing knowledge and skills through practical science.

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 16.07.36.png

The Importance of Practice

There are 5 key benefits of deliberate practice according to the American Psychological Association:

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 16.04.39.png

(Adapted from American Psychological Association n.d)

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Observe a colleague teach a lesson.  During your observation consider how they:

  • Articulate the intended learning 

  • Establish prior knowledge and misconceptions

  • Teach new knowledge, which addresses any misconceptions.

  • Allows pupils time to practice (deliberate practice)

  • Assesses the pupils knowledge.

Makes notes in order to be able to discuss your observation at your weekly mentor meeting.

Reflection and Discussion

Reflect on action (Schon) by thinking how you have applied the cycle for effectively developing knowledge in a recent lesson.  

What did you do effectively?

What did you not do?

How might pupils' knowledge development have been improved if you had effectively built their knowledge?

Now, reflect for action - think of a forthcoming lesson.  How will you apply the cycle (above) to support you to effectively build your pupils knowledge?  


Brabeck, M., Jeffrey, J. and Fry, S. (no date) Practice for Knowledge Aquisition (Not Drill and Kill) American Psychological Association. Available at: https://www.apa.org/education-career/k12/practice-acquisition#:~:text=Practice%20greatly%20increases%20the%20likelihood,knowledge%20automatically%2C%20without%20reflection).

Clegg, A. and Collins, K. (2023) Sequencing for Success. Education in Chemistry. The Royal Society of Chemistry. 11 September 2023. Available at: https://edu.rsc.org/feature/successful-strategies-for-sequencing-knowledge/4018038.article

Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning (no date) Student Construction of Knowledge. Available at:https: //poorvucenter.yale.edu/ConstructingStudentKnowledge#:~:text=Students%20learn%20by%20connecting%20new,through%20interaction%20and%20varied%20approaches.

Week 4: Developing Literacy

This week we will explore the importance of literacy development and look at how this can be supported across the curriculum using some key strategies and approaches.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

"Learning to read and write is an essential skill for modern life, yet a surprising fraction of adults in OECD countries have not yet mastered the basics... literacy problems are particularly serious in England, where younger adults perform no better than older ones... Poor literacy also drives low social mobility, since children from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to start school with lower literacy skills.

How can this situation be improved?


There is a solid evidence base that teachers and teaching methods can matter both for literacy… and for learning outcomes more generally.

Language provides the foundation of thinking and learning. Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world (National Literacy Trust, 2020).


Without good literacy skills, a pupil will struggle to access the curriculum and hence be unable to learn effectively. This might show itself as:

  • Difficulty following instructions

  • Poor comprehension when reading subject texts

  • Lack of fluency when reading aloud

  • Incoherent written or spoken explanations.

The long-term effects of weak literacy will impact a pupil far beyond school. At the everyday level, they will struggle with form filling, reading and understanding signs. The impact on their life chances can be profound, from limiting their career options and reducing their lifetime earning potential, through to poor health and lower life expectancy (Gilbert et al., 2018).

The task of improving pupils’ literacy skills starts from the very beginning of education and continues all through secondary school. Even though “learning to read” is perceived as a task for teachers in early primary, the reality is that every teacher, across all subjects and all phases, can and should think carefully how they can improve pupils’ literacy. For example, all primary teachers will need to reinforce the fundamental knowledge of word reading (decoding) and language comprehension. For most secondary teachers, improving pupils’ literacy will mainly involve thinking about how you can improve reading, writing and speaking skills in relation to your subject discipline.

Consequently, it is important that all teachers have a clear understanding of the most effective ways to improve literacy. In terms of reading, the most effective approach is systematic synthetic phonics".

(Education Development Trust, n.d)

An introduction to phonics

"Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.

Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how these letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.

Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.

The most widely used approach associated with the teaching of reading in which phonemes (sounds) associated with particular graphemes (letters) are pronounced in isolation and blended together (synthesised). For example, children are taught to take a single-syllable word such as cat apart to its three letters, pronounce a phoneme for each letter in turn /k/, /æ/, /t/ and blend the phonemes together to form a word.

Therefore, synthetic phonics is an explicit, organised and sequenced approach, as opposed to phonics used incidentally or on a “when-needed” basis".

(Education Development Trust, n.d)

Take a few minutes to watch this short video that explores phonological awareness:

Literacy really is the responsibility of every teacher.


The evidence suggests that pupils benefit from a balanced approach to literacy that includes a range of approaches (EEF, 2018) and within this every teacher should make efforts to explicitly teach reading, writing and oral language skills, whatever their phase or subject.


The boxes below provide some examples of approaches you could try in your classroom.  Click on each box to find a short summary of each approach with a link to find out more...

(Education Development Trust, n.d)

Reading  and Comprehension:


Oral Language Skills

Language and Vocabulary

You may also find these resources useful:

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Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Choose one of the literacy strategies introduced this week.  Ideally, one that you have not tried before with your pupils, and utilise this strategy within a lesson. 


The lesson does not need to be an English lesson, it can be in any subject.

You may wish to try more than one strategy!

This may be a good lesson to invite your mentor to observe as a formal observation this term.

Reflection and Discussion

Having utilised your chosen strategy within your teaching, use a reflective framework, to consider how this went and the impact that this strategy had upon the literacy development and learning of your pupils.


Education Development Trust (no date) An Introduction to Literacy: Theory. Available at: https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/education-development-trust/year-1-the-importance-of-subject-and-curriculum-knowledge/spring-week-3-ect-theory/

FFT Education (no date) Reciprocal Reading. Available at: https://fft.org.uk/literacy/reciprocal-reading/

Hertfordshire Specific Learning Difficulties Outreach Service (no date) Paired Writing. Available at: https://www.stvincent.herts.sch.uk/documents/2020_c2Paired-Writing.pdf 

Nebraska Department of Education (no date) Provide Explicit Vocabulary Instruction. Available at: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED597046.pdf

Reading Rockets (no date) Story Maps. Available at: https://www.readingrockets.org/classroom/classroom-strategies/story-maps

Reading Rockets (no date) Think-Pair-Share. Available at: https://www.readingrockets.org/classroom/classroom-strategies/think-pair-share#:~:text=Think%2Dpair%2Dshare%20is%20a%20collaborative%20learning%20strategy%20where%20students,2)%20share%20ideas%20with%20classmates.

Teacher Vision (2019) Shared Writing. Available at: https://www.teachervision.com/language-arts-writing/shared-writing

Understood (2020) What is Phonological Awareness? Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0G6teawxls

Week 5: Cross-Curricular Learning

This week we will explore the idea of cross-curricular learning and how this can enhance learning for pupils.  We will focus on the work of Jonathan Barnes and then you will consider how his ideas may translate into effective curriculum intent, implementation and impact in your own classroom.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

Take some time to read through this chapter about cross-curricular learning by Dr Jonathan Barnes (2015):

The image below highlights some advantages of cross-curricular learning.  

(Gerstein, n.d)

Now watch this webinar led by Jonathan Barnes where he discusses cross-curricular learning:

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Think about how you do/might apply cross-curricular learning in your lessons.

Are there opportunities to extend cross-curricular learning?

What do you see are the obstacles to successful cross-curricular learning both for yourself and also the pupils you teach?

Ask colleagues if they have any cross-curricular lessons planed, and ask if you can go and observe one of these OR experiment using one of the approaches/activities explained within Jonathan Barnes' chapter.

Reflection and Discussion

This week within your mentor meeting, consider the benefits of cross-curricular learning and explore potential opportunities to develop this, drawing upon the experience and insight of your mentor.

You may decide to collaboratively plan some cross-curricular learning, using some of the resources and approaches featured in Jonathan Barnes' chapter.


Barnes, J. (2022) Enhancing Pupil Experience Through Cross-Curricular Learning. Bowden Education Webinar.

Barnes, J. (2015) An Introduction to Cross-Curricular Learning in Driscoll, P., Lambirth, A. and Roden, J. (2015) The Creative Primary Curriculum. London. Sage.

Gerstein, J. (no date) Cross-Curricular Lesson: Communicating with Parents. User Generated Education. Available at: https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2019/10/02/cross-curricular-lesson-communicating-with-parents/

Week 6: Embedding 21st Century Skills in the Curriculum

This week we will ask ourselves what 21st Century Skills are and why it is important to develop these skills with our pupils.  You will consider differing perspectives on the role of 21st Century Skills and then consider how you will apply those outlined and used by Newingate School to your practice.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

The Glossary of Education Reform defines 21st Century Skills as:

(The Glossary of Education Reform, 2016).

Take some time to watch these videos where two educators explore the concept of '21st Century Skills':

At Newingate School it is felt that the development of these 21st Century Skills are vital for pupils' future success and ability to make a positive contribution to society.  Therefore in addition to the academic and vocational curriculum, it is important for there to be opportunities for pupils to develop these skills throughout their learning.

The 21st Century Skills that we focus on are those outlined by Applied Educational Systems and are summarised below (you can click on this to access a one page version):

Take a read through the full guidance, which explores each of the skills in turn.

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

21st Century Skills are already part of your long term planning.

Take time to consider how you might embed these skills within your teaching.

Choose a skill or some skills that can be developed within your teaching over this week.

Include a learning objectives that reflects the 21st Century skill and explicitly plan how you will develop this skill, e.g. working as a group is not really enough - that is practicing the skill, but taking time to explore key skills of group work with your pupils prior to a group activity.

Reflection and Discussion

Focus your reflection on how you embedded one 21st Century Skill within your teaching, using a chosen reflective framework to support this reflection.

Be prepared to share this reflection with your mentor as part of a discussion around embedding 21st Century Skills.


Christodoulou, D. (2017) 21st Century Skills: What are they and how can we teach them? English with Cambridge. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sENR8_HDdg4

iCEV (2022) What Are 21st Century Skills?  Available at: https://www.icevonline.com/blog/what-are-21st-century-skills 

Lichtman, G. (2014) What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills. TedX Denver Teachers. Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZEZTyxSl3g

The Glossary of Education Reform (2016) 21st Century Skills. Available at: https://www.edglossary.org/21st-century-skills/

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