At Allfarthing, we aim to teach a broad and balanced curriculum and this mantra is very much at the heart of what we do in topic. Our topics are primarily made up of curriculum objectives related to history, geography, art, and design and technology. Each topic is presented to the children as a ‘big question’. This enables them to interpret and respond to the question in their own personal way and have a lead role in deciding what knowledge they need to be taught. We generally have a new big question each half term, but some do require a full term of study. Examples of our topic questions include ‘Did the Vikings really deserve their reputation?’ and ‘What is the legacy of the Roman Empire?’ We plan our topic curriculum with the questions in mind, providing children with the breadth of relevant knowledge required to answer the question in an essay-style piece at the end of each topic. Throughout, as we build up towards answering the question, we also provide opportunities for pupils to share their findings with their peers, both within their class and across the school, in a variety of ways.
We aim to build upon children’s prior knowledge as they progress through primary school, making links between each topic and the key concepts that may reappear. We promote the importance of knowledge through challenging ‘Power of Knowledge’ quizzes at the end of each topic so that the children can see just how much they have learnt, fostering a hunger for more learning in their subsequent topics.