Our curriculum mantra is “keep up, not catch up”

At Jamia Islamia Birmingham, we are about helping everyone reach their potential. We have an inclusive culture striving for the very best outcomes for children in our care. We passionately believe that education has the power to open doors and change lives. At the heart of our education is a rich curriculum. We aim to inspire and empower students through our curriculum, which is delivered with consistently good lessons.

Our entire approach is centralised around our core values of:    

Adhab I Tolerance I Resilience I Aspiration

The pillars of our curriculum are built around our core values and they dictate our curriculum intent and vision.

Curriculum intent

The KS3 and KS4 curriculum at Jamia Islamia has been developed to teach students the most powerful knowledge in each subject area. Alongside teaching of the academic curriculum we support the inculcation of equality, inclusion and interaction through a carefully crafted SME programme. The skills and knowledge gained through the academic curriculum which also encourages students to explore community and enterprise is essential to enable our students to be empowered and contribute to society.

Recent times have shown the need for everyone to build a sense of resilience in dealing with a global pandemic. Resilience is a core value for us and is developed further in our curriculum as change and continuity, where lessons are sequenced in a structured manor enabling students to build on prior knowledge, as well as synthesise across topics and subjects. Although a linear approach is present in the curriculum, a network of links can be drawn between themes, topics and subject to show why certain topics are covered at particular times in the academic calendar. This is carefully constructed to fully support our student’s ability to internalise the knowledge gained across all subjects.

We believe that the choices we make about the content we provide and the order we present it are crucially important. They make a big difference to how students are able to develop effective schema, retain and recall knowledge and skills in long-term memory. We actively promote knowledge transference from short term to long-term memory through the use of regular retrieval practice.

We have high expectations of what the students at Jamia Islamia can achieve. To help our students to have successful outcomes, the most powerful substantive and procedural knowledge is carefully selected to ensure that the curriculum is knowledge rich and ambitious. We want to promote life-long learning and provide our students with the cultural capital needed to become excellent global citizens.

In keeping with our inclusion pillar, we believe every student should have access to the same breadth of curriculum. Carefully selected scaffolding is used for all students to reach equally challenging learning goals and have secure skills and knowledge in each subject.

As part of building resilience, we believe all students should be challenged and seek deeper knowledge and understanding. Embedded within the curriculum are opportunities for students to deepen their understanding through the use of the blue box challenge. These activities provide the opportunity for the students to think more extensively or consider different applications of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge they have been introduced to. Assessment opportunities are carefully planned so that they are purposeful and support learning. Information from assessment supports our evaluation of the effectiveness of our curriculum content and implementation. Assessments include low stake knowledge retrieval quizzes, end of composite assessment and GL assessments.

Our curriculum pillars in the classroom:

The Jamia Islamia Lesson

  1. Knowledge retrieval starter
  2. The starter activity is usually a low stakes knowledge retrieval quiz based on previous lesson.
  3. The task should take no more than 5 minutes including review and should be done in silence.
  4. Answers to each question must be reviewed using targeted questioning.
  5. The cycle: The lesson should be ‘chunked’ into cycles.
    1. Teach/model – A process or concept is modelled focusing on knowledge – ‘I do’
    1. Application – An opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and draw links to community & enterprise and change & continuity. – ‘We do’ and ‘You do’. The teacher needs to complete a collective demonstration of the topic, substantive or disciplinary knowledge with the students during the ‘we do’ phase. The ‘You do’ phase needs to be the phase where the students are independently applying what they have learnt. Appropriate scaffolding is required to support students and SEN requirements need to be taken into account. The task should be differentiated by outcome not by objective.
    1. Assessment for Learning – Learning is assessed through targeted questioning, learning checks, and test questions. Misconceptions are addressed and future lesson planning is informed.
    1. The learning cycle may be repeated throughout the lesson to ensure effective ‘chunking’
  6. Blue Box Challenge
    1. Each learning cycle will feature a blue box challenge.
    1. This is not a ‘do more’ task but an opportunity for students to extend thinking, deepen knowledge and build resilience.
  7. Plenary
    1. The plenary is an opportunity to assess key substantive knowledge and procedural knowledge and student outcomes.
    1. A plenary task may be early exposure to past exam paper questions, an inverse thinking task or a debate style discussion, which links the topic to community and enterprise.
    1. Every lesson needs to finish with an ‘Exit Ticket’ for students to demonstrate learning.

Implementation of the curriculum

Curriculum planning documents

Long term plan: Each department details their high level plan and overarching subject curriculum intent in the long term plan.

Intent StatementThe intent statement explains the ‘big ideas’ that each subject will consider and is the basis for all subsequent curriculum choices. It considers the disciplinary and substantive knowledge that will be developed, and the cohering strands that will thread the curriculum. Each subsequent curriculum choice promotes learning over time and the development of the students’ ling-term schema.

Medium Term Plan: The medium term plan detail how blocks of the content are broken down into sequences of learning, using the composite and component structure. The diagram below shows a typical composite and component structure:

The medium term plan outlines precisely and in meticulous detail what the pupils will be learning. It will detail the declarative (‘Students will know that….’) and procedural (‘Students will know how to…’) knowledge.

How will we assess the impact of the curriculum?

Work Scrutiny: To assess

  • The progress of learning over time
    • The progress of the curriculum priorities
    • The quality of students’ work
    • The impact of student intervention and SEN requirements of students

Learning Walks: To support

  • The quality of teaching and learning identifying strengths and development opportunities
  • The impact of whole school CPD / Coaching
  • The effectiveness of student interventions
  • Opportunities for development

Stakeholder’s voice: To listen

  • To the opinions of all stakeholders
  • To any new ideas or any concerns or barriers to learning and teaching

Assessment Data: To identify

  • Gaps in students’ knowledge through use of QLA data
  • Opportunities to address and develop the curriculum further
  • Any learning gaps and student’s knowledge retention skills

Lind Management: To consistently

  • Approach whole school priorities
  • Determine the effectiveness of faculty systems
  • Identify any support that is needed to develop people and teams