Curriculum jargon buster

Know your 'intent' from your 'implementation'? Your 'substantive' from your 'disciplinary'? Check how much you know about these and other key terms. Share our handout with staff to help them brush up on their curriculum knowledge too.

Last reviewed on 6 October 2022
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 37684
  1. Intent, implementation and impact
  2. Curriculum breadth vs depth
  3. Substantive vs disciplinary knowledge
  4. Core vs hinterland knowledge
  5. Threshold concepts
  6. Spaced interleaving
  7. Vertical vs horizontal structure 
  8. Cumulative vs segmented vs spiral curriculum 
  9. Context dependent vs independent
  10. Download this article and share it with your staff

Intent, implementation and impact


What you want pupils to know and to be able to do. It's not a vision or mission statement

How you teach your intended curriculumThe extent to which pupils have learned what you intended them to learn, and how you know this
  • A long-term plan (such as a curriculum map), showing the knowledge and skills you want pupils to gain at each stage, and by the end of their time at school
  • Your rationale for why you've made these choices
  • Teaching methods
  • Classroom resources
  • Sequencing and structure
  • Assessment
  • Outcomes in externally set assessments
  • Pupils' destinations (e.g. further or higher education or employment)
  • Conversations with pupils that demonstrate they know, can do, and remember more than they did before

  Breadth of curriculum  Depth of curriculum Definition The range of subjects taught across the whole curriculum, and the span of knowledge within each subject How deeply specific topics within each subject are studied Examples A broad curriculum focuses on all curriculum subjects (for example art, PE, PSHE) not just