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Cornerstones Curriculum

Discussion in 'Primary' started by hofficoffee, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Hi!

    I am a headteacher in West Wales currently thinking of investing in Cornerstones. How is it going and how are the children responding to it? It's advertised as having full coverage in a cross curricular way. Have there been any teething problems or weaknesses?

    I'd be really grateful for a reply.


  2. Hi

    We have Cornerstones at our school and it is really good. The topics all have amazing titles which instantly draws the children in. Each topic has a Big Start which is a trip, visitor, watch a film. This is to get the children's imagination going. Then there is the teaching with a different theme each week. After the teaching is a main project for the children which the teachers guide them through but the children manage themselves. Through this we invite parents in and other members of staff which the children love and they enjoy talking about what they learn.

    Only downside is the resources. We have had to create a lot ourselves but it is al worth it.

    Hope that gives you an insight
  3. Hi! We use it. I really love the topics and the ideas for start experience and final experience are great. As mentioned, the lack of resources to support some units is a bit problematic. Another issue we have is fitting in everything they put into a unit - we haven't managed to do all the literacy genres they recommend for each unit (often 4 or 5 in a 6 week unit) and do them well.
  4. DFC

    DFC New commenter

    As a school, we have only just started using it. I like the ideas and topics, but find the science coverage is more knowledge than investigation and lacking in SC1 skills. (I am a science specialist.)

    As I work in a school of high deprivation, lots of EAL / non English / poor parental support etc. the content relies on the basic skills being in place - which in my school are not, so the coverage is more difficult as many of the school are not at age related and cannot access the content in the way envisaged in the scheme. I also agree that resourcing some units, which are not similar to previous QCA topics can be difficult.

    Having said that, the children have responded well to the topics, but I wouldn't teach it again in the same way I have this term - but that is what reflective practice is for, isn't it. Next time - I will be more selective to meet basic skill needs.
  5. ecawemma

    ecawemma New commenter

    I know a few schools who are using it and find that there are too many Literacy genres in each topic to teach them effectively. Their children have done lots of writing without enough reading or speaking and listening to get the quality. I'm doing a training course for Y3/4 teachers on planning an unit which links with Cornerstones at the end of January if anyone wants to join us (plus Y5/6 and Y1/2 in February and April). Message me for further details.
  6. Hi, You don't have to cover all the genres within the ILPs they are there to offer ideas for staff if they decide to use that genre within their project.

    It isn't a scheme to be followed but a flexible tool to be used in a way that is applicable to your setting.

    If you get stuck give them a call they are always happy to help schools.
  7. Cornerstones has been very successful at our school. We are a large inner city school with 90%+ EAL aand high FSM. Like any curriculum, it needs to be adapted slightly to suit context, however the enthusiasm that pupils and staff have demonstrated over the last 3 years of delivering this curriculum is extraordinary. We would agree that the literacy needs to be refined to fewer genres per project, but with negotiation in planning between year groups, the depth and breadth of coverage can be achieved. We have also felt that it is more pupil led than our previous teaching. The coverage checker facilitates have proved invaluable.
  8. funkyyay

    funkyyay New commenter

    Which year group are you in?

    We are beginning September would love to link with a y3 teacher to discuss this further,

    We are starting with heroes and villains. Particularly interested in how you planned for literacy through this.

    Many thanks :)
  9. saimailyas

    saimailyas New commenter

  10. BDhami

    BDhami New commenter

    I am currently looking into Cornerstones, and I would appreciate any updated comments.

  11. lauly101

    lauly101 New commenter

    My school has had severe problems with CornerStones. The head bought into it a few years ago and found that coverage in many areas was poor at best. Since they have addressed many problems with it at Cornerstones HQ and have launched Love to Investigate.

    I found science coverage atrocious if I'm perfectly honest (but there hadn't been a sci coord in my school for a year before I took up the post) and we also bought into L2I which has healed some of the gaps.

    Many of the topics are very interesting but some I feel assume a certain level of prior knowledge that my pupils in the type of school I work in don't have.

    Some of the topics are limited at best but all of them offer excellent jump offs. I think it depends upon how stingiently you stick to it. We've got no room for movement which makes it a bit boring and leaves teachers feeling as if theyre not teachers just following a scheme.

    Y3 - don't do travel agents.. Many havent even left the area in which they live by Y3 (seriously) and it was too much above their experience. Plus I found it pretty boring myself. Children of the revolution is brilliant as is sports wear designers oooh and the big dip

  12. Benchster

    Benchster New commenter

    After years of cross curricular topic planning directly from the national curriculum, I have moved to a school that uses Cornerstones. I don't like it at all and find some of the linking activities very tenuous. Another scheme I have used in the past is the Eddison scheme which is fab for linking science into topics. If only I'd kept all my previous topic planning, I'd have published it and earnt a fortune.....but that was in the days of pen and ink planning!!!!
  13. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I have seen cornerstones have a negative affect on the ks2 writing outcomes for a couple of different schools. The English components are too heavily built around content and do not best suit the demands of the assessment framework - Also, not high level enough IMO.

    I got rid of this from a school recently - handed control for planning and coverage back to teachers, all of whom were / are very pleased...
  14. WildKyogre

    WildKyogre New commenter

    I was on placement in a school which used cornerstones (year 5, academy school so not bound to NC).
    It provides suggestions for what to do each week in English and your foundation lessons- each half term has a different 'topic' with one main subject focus. All others link to this (aside from maths). Eg. Alchemy Island- main focus is music so 1-2 music lessons each week but heavy links with science, computing, art etc.
    I really enjoyed the depth at which children could explore each topic through the cross curricular links- Peasants, Princes and Pestilence was a particularly good one. It's also flexible- my class teacher and I would cut bits and adjust to suit our and the class's needs. Some weeks, we did our own English or foundation subjects to link with the topic and cover what we needed to. We ignored PE suggestions and followed a separate PE scheme.

    - resource heavy (although I feel the payoff is worth it- the subject engagement was high)
    -it's poor if followed rigidly or with an inflexible timetable (eg. we MUST do history at 1.30pm every Wednesday- cornerstones may give you 3 history lessons in one week and none at all the next)
    -some subject suggestions/links were consistently weak (PE).
    -Science is also weak- You may only have 2-3 science lessons in a half term if not in a science heavy topic.
    - Cornerstones could be far more difficult to use if you're not an academy or choosing to rigidly follow the national curriculum for the foundation subjects. Eg. I'm not sure there's any topic on history covering 2.2.5 (Inca, Mayan or Benin).

    That being said, I really enjoyed teaching it and the children really enjoyed the content. I would definitely be willing to use it again provided whatever school I was with allowed me to be flexible with it. I much preferred it to having separate topics in every subject. I do think the program needs further work but is a good starting point for cross curricular study.
  15. shell43

    shell43 New commenter

    I found the Science weak too, not enough proper science, too much pseudo science!
    Also resources are not differentiated (not many either), if you are going to be in the same year group for a few years then you would get to grips with it. However I think its's over-priced for what it is. In addition it uses its own PDF reader system which does not allow you to take snapshots etc, which means adapting the resources is near on impossible.
    I would recommend you link subjects under a central theme yourself.
  16. Dale-Irons

    Dale-Irons New commenter

    I'm a Year 5 teacher in a large primary school. We've been using Cornerstones for the past year and it's revolutionised our curriculum. We've used it flexibly, choosing a range of topics and projects, my favourite being Alchemy island, which the kids loved. We've found our writing levels improve greatly due to the range of opportunities for writing and writing opps across the curriculum. We've also used Love to Investigate which has greatly helped our teachers with investigative science. The only downside is there is more content than you actually fit in the day, week, term...but you just have to make choices about which way you want your project to go and how much depth you want to teach it.
  17. panchkula

    panchkula New commenter

    The cornerstones curriculum sounds great . Would you be able to share planning g for Alchemy island as it’s the first topic we are doing ? My email is nisha91163@yahoo.co.uk
    It would be much appreciated.
  18. panchkula

    panchkula New commenter

    At last I found someone who is doing alchemy island . Would you be able to share the planning and resources if possible , it would be much appreciated . We start after half term . My email is
  19. pedchamp

    pedchamp New commenter

    I'd like to find out more about this curriculum. Is it just curriculum content or are you able to also assess what you teach or do you have to use another 'tracking' system for that?

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