Core Knowledge - Natalie de Silva


Interview with Natalie de Silva

Executive Head Teacher, West London Free School Primary and Earl's Court Free School Primary


Why did you introduce CK in your school?

Our CEO had an interest in the work of ED Hirsch and encouraged the rest of the leadership team to do their own research. Everyone quickly and unanimously agreed that this was the ideal curriculum for our Trust. We are determined to give every pupil in our schools the knowledge and skills to succeed; the Core Knowledge curriculum will help us to fulfil this promise to all our children, no matter what their background.

What are the main differences you have noticed in classrooms since CK was implemented?

There is a clear focus on the acquisition and subsequent application of knowledge. The learning environment has also become even more focused, with thought-provoking questions on displays that extend children’s thinking skills.

How would you describe the impact of CK on your pupil’s learning?

Pupils are acquiring knowledge and skills at a much greater rate than I have previously seen in schools where I have used other curricula. Their language acquisition is simply incredible; this includes pupils with EAL.

What impact has CK had on your staff?

They have become much more interested in developing their own subject knowledge and are conscious of extending the vocabulary they use with our pupils. They are excited by the topics they’re teaching and they are enjoying the opportunity of teaching topics that are unusual in other schools, for example, the Magna Carta or Henry Moore, to children in the EYFS.

What are the next steps you are taking with CK in your school?

We are working with Emma Lennard to develop our Year 1 planning further and we are building up a bank of useful curriculum resources that we would like to share with other schools.