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Our SMART Concept Maps

Our core concepts are at the heart of our curriculum.  We spiral around them each year throughout our time at school.

What is a Core Concept?

A concept is an abstract idea (Oxford Dictionary), meaning an idea abstracted or separated from its context.  An idea that can be applied to lots of different situations and contexts.

An example may be the concept of ‘Design’.  To design well requires understanding of ideas of being fit for purpose, materials science, empathy, aesthetics, cost, etc. Children revisit this concept many times, building up the complexity of their understanding.

A key test for understanding of a concept is, giving an example of what it is NOT and WHY such as explaining what makes a good design of a chair.

Every misconception and poorly understood concept holds a child back and sets up a ‘gap’ in their learning which they struggle to close later.  Such gaps may partly explain why an average disadvantaged child makes two years less progress than their peers by Year 11 even if the period of hardship or trauma (when the gaps first opened up) was many years earlier.

Our ambition for this phase of our model is to identify between 3 and 5 concepts per subject that have greatest impact and name these our Core Concepts.  We then will build our curriculum around these, checking regularly for good development without misconceptions.

Please take a look on any of our school sites for the most up to date version of the concept maps and trackers they are using as well as the knowledge organisers that support them.

We are constantly debating and updating our view about how concepts develop and now once a term we look at the same concept being taught in all year groups from early years to sixth form.  Conversations with children who are grappling with these concepts has taught us so much about how they are learned.  Examples of our concept progressions or concept trackers can be seen on some school websites, but a couple of examples also appear below.