This section contains resources and links relating to Teacher Standard 3 and ECF Section 3, around subject and curriculum. You can read the detail of the teacher standard and ECF section by expanding the sections below.

Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

  • have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject, and address misunderstandings
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum areas, and promote the value of scholarship
  • demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject
  • if teaching early reading, demonstrate a clear understanding of systematic synthetic phonics
  • if teaching early mathematics, demonstrate a clear understanding of appropriate teaching strategies.

From the Department for Education’s Teachers’ Standards

Learn that:

  1. A school’s curriculum enables it to set out its vision for the knowledge, skills and values that its pupils will learn, encompassing the national curriculum within a coherent wider vision for successful learning.
  2. Secure subject knowledge helps teachers to motivate pupils and teach effectively.
  3. Ensuring pupils master foundational concepts and knowledge before moving on is likely to build pupils’ confidence and help them succeed.
  4. Anticipating common misconceptions within particular subjects is also an important aspect of curricular knowledge; working closely with colleagues to develop an understanding of likely misconceptions is valuable.
  5. Explicitly teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed within particular subject areas is beneficial.
  6. In order for pupils to think critically, they must have a secure understanding of knowledge within the subject area they are being asked to think critically about.
  7. In all subject areas, pupils learn new ideas by linking those ideas to existing knowledge, organising this knowledge into increasingly complex mental models (or “schemata”); carefully sequencing teaching to facilitate this process is important.
  8. Pupils are likely to struggle to transfer what has been learnt in one discipline to a new or unfamiliar context.
  9. To access the curriculum, early literacy provides fundamental knowledge; reading comprises two elements: word reading and language comprehension; systematic synthetic phonics is the most effective approach for teaching pupils to decode.
  10. Every teacher can improve pupils’ literacy, including by explicitly teaching reading, writing and oral language skills specific to individual disciplines.

Learn how to:

Deliver a carefully sequenced and coherent curriculum, by:

  • Identifying essential concepts, knowledge, skills and principles of the subject and providing opportunity for all pupils to learn and master these critical components.
  • Ensuring pupils’ thinking is focused on key ideas within the subject.
  • Working with experienced colleagues to accumulate and refine a collection of powerful analogies, illustrations, examples, explanations and demonstrations.
  • Using resources and materials aligned with the school curriculum (e.g. textbooks or shared resources designed by experienced colleagues that carefully sequence content).
  • Being aware of common misconceptions and discussing with experienced colleagues how to help pupils master important concepts.

Support pupils to build increasingly complex mental models, by:

  • Discussing curriculum design with experienced colleagues and balancing exposition, repetition, practice of critical skills and knowledge.
  • Revisiting the big ideas of the subject over time and teaching key concepts through a range of examples.
  • Drawing explicit links between new content and the core concepts and principles in the subject.

Develop fluency, by:

  • Providing tasks that support pupils to learn key ideas securely (e.g. quizzing pupils so they develop fluency with times tables).
  • Using retrieval and spaced practice to build automatic recall of key knowledge.

Help pupils apply knowledge and skills to other contexts, by: 

  • Ensuring pupils have relevant domain-specific knowledge, especially when being asked to think critically within a subject.
  • Interleaving concrete and abstract examples, slowly withdrawing concrete examples and drawing attention to the underlying structure of problems.

Develop pupils’ literacy, by:

  • Demonstrating a clear understanding of systematic synthetic phonics, particularly if teaching early reading and spelling.
  • Supporting younger pupils to become fluent readers and to write fluently and legibly.
  • Teaching unfamiliar vocabulary explicitly and planning for pupils to be repeatedly exposed to high-utility and high-frequency vocabulary in what is taught.
  • Modelling reading comprehension by asking questions, making predictions, and summarising when reading.
  • Promoting reading for pleasure (e.g. by using a range of whole class reading approaches and regularly reading high-quality texts to children).
  • Modelling and requiring high-quality oral language, recognising that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing (e.g. requiring pupils to respond to questions in full sentences, making use of relevant technical vocabulary).
  • Teaching different forms of writing by modelling planning, drafting and editing.

From the Department for Education’s Early Career Framework

Early Career Hub resources about subject and curriculum

Other Chartered College resources about subject and curriculum

External links related to subject and curriculum

DfE references list for Early Career Framework Section 3

Resource completion : 3 - Subject and Curriculum