Curious City Curriculum

At Hillcrest we intend to implement an inspiring curriculum rooted in our shared vision:-

Where all children learn and discover together to create a better world’

and values:-

Resilience, Innovation, Partnership and Excellence.

We intend to help our children become life-long learners, be curious, to live healthy lifestyles, not be afraid to ask philosophical questions, be moral citizens and take opportunities to extend their horizons.


The intention of Curious-city is to create a culture of enquiry, curiosity and challenge that permeates both explicit and hidden curriculum. Our Curious-city approach not only inspires and guides our teachers to create contextually relevant enquiry-led experiences, it enables our school to create a bespoke, locally focused curriculum that goes beyond the National Curriculum.


Curious-city is a skeleton of curious and creative learning opportunities, progressively planned and mapped to the cognitive development of learners. At Hillcrest we aim to inspire learners with local people, places and stories relevant to the children who live in Totterdown, yet plenty of room to respond to the ever changing world.


We implement the enquiry-led approach in several ways. Using seven themes that help to steer and give a particular flavour to an enquiry, learners seek answers to questions posed. The seven themes help our teachers ensure that a broad range of perspectives are offered during a year, and that they understand the purpose of the enquiry. This helps create a balance of experiences each and every year and ensures a breadth of experience in every year group


States of Being enable learners to focus on and/or combine powerful knowledge in different enquiries. Each knowledge-engaged state symbolises an aspect of the curriculum, helping learners to master both skills and knowledge of a subject, not just remember it. For instance, we want our learners to be Scientists, not just learn about Science. As a result, whilst we have a skeleton of an enquiry, we also respond to the needs of learners: as they get older, we help them combine states. We want learners to discover for themselves that they can be an Author, Scientist, Geographer and Philosopher at the same time and that some people combine these states to become Archaeologists, for instance.


Cognitive development aligned with enquiry-led learning

In a nutshell, enquiry-led learning provides learners with key questions too big to answer in one go, but not so conceptually large that they cannot understand. The purpose is to guide learners through a scaffolded process, answering the big question with a piece of writing for example, performance or animation. As cognitive development, emotional literacy and language levels underpin Curious-city, as well as purposeful links to mastery-led learning principles and attachment theory, we recognise children's awareness of the world develops as they mature and that this has a significant impact on their ability to learn.

Lessons may also feel different at Hillcrest. Think of a child’s time in school as a series of experiences rather than a set of lessons. Sometimes experiences are short, sharp and immersive, other times they are light-touch events over a longer period of time. This is exactly what a curious, knowledge-engaged curriculum should be. The usual Author (literacy) and Mathematicians (numeracy) teaching sequences continue, enhanced by locally rich and relevant experiences through the inclusive of significant people, places and stories by weaving in faith, community and culture into enquiries.


The seven themes



enable learners to become…


Geographers • Scientists • Musicians • Authors • Philosophers • Mathematicians • Artists  •  Engineers  •  Historians • Linguists • Athletes


The impact of Curious-city can be seen and heard as well as represented in outcomes. Impact can be seen through the floor books, displays and challenges the children produce. The process of enquiry, as well as final outcomes, are represented within class floor books; the journey of learning. In classrooms and in corridors enquiry working walls demonstrate the learning journey; States of Being characters should feature in books, classroom displays and visual timetables as well as our website and newsletters. Our children will also talk about the approach earnestly.