At St Stephen's we are passionate about enquiry-led learning and have therefore been developing an enquiry-led curriculum with an emphasis on mastery of the subjects. This means that the children are following a line-of-enquiry in order to answer a specific question, for example, 'How are humans and wolves similar?'. Enquiries may have a specific subject focus such as Science or History but provide rich cross-curricular opportunities within them.
All enquiries start with a 'wow' experience to engage the children and end with a 'Prove it' activity. The children are immersed in the required skills and knowledge and are given the opportunity to 'Try it' and 'Use it' before embarking on the final 'Prove it'. Because the children know their 'Prove it' at the beginning of an enquiry, their learning is always purposeful and with clear direction. Our enquiry 'Prove its' have been carefully chosen to ensure breadth across the school and so that they are particularly relevant to the children at St Stephen's.
Every enquiry starts with a 'wow'. This is to engage and excite the children as well as providing them with a rich life experience. The photos below show some examples of previous 'wow's. Year 3 explored the muscles of an animal as part of their enquiry based on the similarities between humans and animals. Year 4 visited a Gurdwara to kick start their enquiry which explored how a Sikh may choose to show their commitment to God. Year 5 visited the zoo where they got to take part in a rainforest experience which immersed them in their topic which explored saving the Amazon. As well as this, Year 6 experimented with the properties of materials as part of their enquiry which explored if all changes are reversible.
Try it and Use it
At the immersion stage, the children are immersed in the skills and knowledge they will need to achieve the 'Prove it'. This may involve the teacher modelling certain skills and then teaching the specific knowledge the children need. The children are then given the opportunity to put their skills and knowledge into practice during the 'Use it' phase of the enquiry. The 'Try it' and 'Use it' activities build on skills to ensure the final 'Prove it' activity is a successful as the children are equipped with all the knowledge and skills that they need.
The 'Prove it' is the culmination of the enquiry and what the children have been working towards for the duration. It provides the children with the opportunity to use all the skills and knowledge they have acquired to achieve something real and rewarding. The 'Prove it' should also lead to the children being able to answer their enquiry question for example 'Which front won the war?', 'What is Skellig?' or 'How can pizza be healthy?'.
When the challenge has been completed, it is always celebrated. This might be by sharing the work with the rest of the school and community or making the outcome available online for others to access. We feel it is very important that the children have their hard work acknowledged and also used as inspiration for others.
For our full curriculum map, please see the attached document below:
Whole School Enquiries
Throughout the year, we plan days or weeks where the children can focus on a subject or area of enquiry in more detail. This allows them to develop specific skills, gain a more in-depth knowledge and take part in new experiences.