Curriculum coherence – threads of key concepts Uk Education

March 10, 20207: 22 p.m.

One way to create coherence in a curriculum is to pay close attention to the key concepts for each subject. These key concepts are carried under other names such as big ideas or threshold concepts. Whatever they are, concepts that, once understood, change a child’s understanding of the subject. They can also be developed across annual groups – they are not taught as one-off ideas, but are a common thread throughout the curriculum, with children developing a more complex understanding as they age.

The decision for the key concepts begins with the research. There are a number of sources of information to better understand them. Mike Askew wrote about that great ideas in math. The Association for Science Education (ASE) has published Wynne Harlens great ideas in science. And of course, the sections of the national curriculum for study purposes and goals for each subject include the concepts if you know what you’re looking for. You can find more (great) advice on this topic on the websites of the professional associations. You need a membership to access, but are worth the subscription.

Below you will find what my school has committed to for key concepts in each subject. There is also a link to the relevant specialist association, if available. I hope they are useful.


  • Structure of a sentence
  • Words, phrases and sentences affect the reader
  • Structure of stories
  • pictures
  • Tone and phoneme / grapheme correspondence
  • Word decoding / vision recognition

English Association website.


  • assessment
  • equivalence
  • classification
  • Numerical thinking
  • Position on a number line
  • Meaning of symbols
  • Sequences
  • Status

Mathematics Association website.


  • All material in the universe consists of tiny particles
  • Life
  • Heaviness
  • A force is required to change the movement of an object
  • Organisms have a limited lifespan
  • Organisms require energy and materials and often have to compete for them
  • Genetic information is passed on to the offspring
  • Find the cause of phenomena
  • Explanations best match the facts at a particular point in time

Science Association website.


  • Importance (people, events and developments)
  • Continuity and change (chronology)
  • Cause, effect and legacy
  • Perspective and evidence

History Association website.


  • The physical world
  • Place and space
  • Human environment
  • frame
  • interdependence
  • change

Geography Association website.


  • worship
  • Symbols
  • A good life
  • Holy places and pilgrimage
  • Key figures
  • life after death
  • celebration
  • font

Website of the RE association.


  • identity
  • Relationships
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • risk
  • Diversity and equality
  • Rights, duties and consent
  • Change and resilience
  • power
  • Career

Website of the PSHE association.


  • Work out
  • Conditioning
  • Performance and evaluation
  • collaboration
  • strategy

Website of the PE association.


  • depth
  • light and darkness
  • proportion of
  • Mood / color
  • texture

Website of the art association.


  • Work out
  • performance
  • Beat
  • style
  • Musical structure
  • Musical dimension
  • Libra

Website of the Musikverein.


  • pronunciation
  • Intercultural understanding

MFL Association website.


  • Product evaluation
  • design
  • Do
  • Rate it

DT Association website.


  • Digital competence
  • Algorithms
  • programming
  • Debug
  • Networks

Computer Association website.

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