Sequencing the Curriculum – weave a tapestry of knowledge, concepts and skills

Sequencing the Curriculum – weave a tapestry of knowledge, concepts and skills

Quality is a relative term, how can we measure to what extent our pupils are learning substantial knowledge and deep understanding.

Curriculum language and vocabulary

There is a language and a vocabulary that is essential as part of a deep understanding of what is meant by ‘the quality of education‘ when the focus on quality is closely linked to the curriculum and how it is successfully delivered. Sequencing is one such word that must be an essential part of conversations about the curriculum. Another is the complex issue of concepts within subjects and across the curriculum. Conversations need to focus on exactly what is meant by ‘working towards clearly defined end points’, or ‘building on prior learning’.

The focus on knowledge is also something that needs careful consideration. What is knowledge and to what depth and range do teachers in both the primary and secondary phases need to go to ensure high quality is deemed to be achieved and sequencing of the curriculum builds on prior learning and is planned carefully towards defined goals and end points?

Recent OFSTED subject specific research reviews have highlighted the terms substantive and disciplinary knowledge as two distinct types of knowledge within the subjects we teach. Understanding these terms can certainly help as can a deep review of the standards that are defined in some detail in the core subjects from key stage 1 to key stage 3. Knowledge is the outcome; how pupils access knowledge, retain it and use it provide the lens to assessing to what extent curriculum implementation is leading to high quality learning and teaching.

Sequencing the knowledge – a focus on standards

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Sequencing the learning, creating opportunities for deep reflection and recall and taking incremental steps towards deep understanding over time.

The core programmes of study that make up the National Curriculum provide us with an in-depth list of standards that are essential within each year from year 1 to year 9. Sequencing the curriculum is, therefore, intrinsic within the standards from year to year and key stage to key stage.

The progressive verbs such as compare and contrast, describe, recognise, gather, identify, appreciate, discuss; create a sequential ladder that builds on prior learning and creates opportunities for recall and reflection that will ensure pupils are deepening their knowledge and understanding over time.

The foundation subjects in key stage 1,2 and 3 provide comprehensive aims for what each subject is about. These documents are the essential blue print for defining what to teach, how to teach it and how to build a body of knowledge over time that will remain with the learner and be what allows he or she to assimilate new knowledge along the way.

Sequencing the curriculum is not so well-defined here, however by referring to the very clear pathways within the core subjects it is possible to build sequential pathways into plans for all subjects. The important starting point with the foundation subjects is to look in some detail at the aims for each key stage and build a sequential plan that embraces the skills, knowledge and concepts that form the warp and weft of the curriculum.

Pedagogy and curriculum concepts

Creating the pedagogy that delivers a sequential, conceptual, knowledge rich and skills focused curriculum.

In order to create a sequenced curriculum offer that creates the knowledgeable learner, the subject leader and the teacher need to recognise the concepts that underpin how pupils access knowledge, make connections with that knowledge and retain that knowledge over time. What is included as the body of knowledge is the domain of academics and subject associations. The curriculum shapes the knowledge so that pupils can learn, deepen their understanding and shape their own thinking to make sense of the world and their place within it. However, in order to teach each subject, the subject leader and the teacher need to define the concepts that shape the knowledge.

Conceptual learning must be an integral part of the long- and medium-term planning process. Each subject has its own core of knowledge, but each subject is also bound by the concepts that explore and explain that knowledge and how it changes perception, explains cause and effect, explores similarities and differences and determines sources in a wide variety of contexts. The vocabulary that defines the term concepts is rich with possibilities and creates for the teacher and for the pupil opportunities to be creative, analytical and perceptive.

For instance, the concept of source is a feature of more than just sources of evidence in history, it is there when we consider the source of a river, the source of a particular product, the source of light and so on. We could consider the concept of sustainability in a geography study of the rain forests or the development of new forms of energy. Settlement is a concept that provides a focus for the historian who wants to explain the reason for the siting of London as the capital of England or why the Romans chose to build their towns and villages where they did.

The prevalence of concepts is not to be under-estimated as part of sequencing the curriculum and planning for progression. It is, however, important that teachers have the knowledge, the expertise and the confidence to create a pedagogy that recognises and uses the vocabulary of concepts and knows where they apply, not just in one subject, but everywhere across the curriculum and beyond.

Creating the expertise that weaves a tapestry of knowledge and deep understanding

Sequencing the Curriculum to Deliver a Tapestry of Knowledge, Skills and Concepts.

There is recent research evidence that makes abundantly clear that many teachers lack the subject expertise that give them the relevant potential to weave  magic into the current standards based, subject and knowledge rich curriculum that defines what is to be taught and how it should be taught.

OFSTED reports over the autumn term 2021 include many criticisms of the quality of education and so many of them cite that pupils in both primary and secondary schools do not acquire knowledge that stays with them over time, do not have the grasp of subject specific and cross – curricular concepts and are not building on prior learning.

This is not the fault of schools and in every way leaders, subject specialists and teachers are grappling with a whole host of issues and problems that are out of their control. What we can control is carefully planning for future CPD that helps leaders, managers and teachers to understand the vocabulary of the curriculum. Schools must ask the question, how do we teach essential knowledge through deep pedagogy that defines the concepts and sequences the learning to carefully build understanding over time? The Early Career Framework must provide schools with the opportunity to recognise that sequencing the curriculum is the absolute curriculum intent and ECT mentors need to have the skills themselves to support their ECTs with deep understanding of the curriculum vocabulary and how to use it in their planning and teaching. Teachers with many years of experience need the same level of support to develop the language, the pedagogical skills and profound subject knowledge that will create the evidence that the curriculum has depth, breadth and ensures parity for all pupils whatever their starting point.

Have a look at what Learning Cultures offer to support schools to have evidence of sequencing the curriculum. Our training is designed through collaboration with research-based study, outstanding educational professionals and a commitment to provide the highest quality continuing professional development for all schools and colleges.

Just a sample of our excellent training packages. Visit our website for more.


Subject Specific Professional Development – the future of learning

Subject Specific Professional Development – the future of learning?

Curriculum quality at the heart of a successful school

Subject specific professional development must be high on the agenda as we start an uncertain but optimistic new year. Reading through a plethora of OFSTED reports from last year suggests that there is a way to go for many of us in developing within our schools the expertise that focuses on the explicit meaning of ‘the quality of education’. The criticism is mainly aimed at teaching in key stages, 1, 2 and 3. The sub-section in the OFSTED Handbook for Schools within the section named ‘The Quality of Education‘ entitled ‘Curriculum narrowing‘ highlights the issues that are a concern. Some ‘deep dive’ questions linked to the findings here could include,

Asking the right questions that focus on subject specific professional development for subject leaders and their teams

In primary schools

Asking the right questions and sharing ideas leads to high quality subject specific professional development

In secondary schools

Creating a CPD Strategy that Builds and Enhances Subject Specific Professional Development

Subject expertise, a blending of understanding of knowledge, concepts and skills.

There is a wealth of research evidence to suggest that teachers, specifically those teaching in the primary phase do not have the relevant expertise or training to reasonably say they are experts in some of the subjects they are teaching. This can also apply to teachers in key stage 3 who are teaching subjects that are not their specialism. Whether your school follows the National Curriculum or chooses a different curriculum model the issues in terms of levels of expertise remain the same. In order to plan and teach well, subject leaders and their teams of teachers and support staff must:-

  • Consider the most important knowledge or concepts pupils need to know within and across the subject spectrum
  • Check pupils’ understanding and identify and correct misunderstandings and gaps in learning
  • Ensure that pupils embed key concepts and transfer key knowledge into their long-term memory and apply them fluently in a range of contexts
  • Plan to build sequential knowledge to ensure that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before
  • Create medium and long-term subject plans so that pupils can work towards clearly defined end points
  • Use assessment to check pupils’ understanding and prioritise feedback, retrieval practice and reflection to deepen learning

Assessing staff expertise and their CPD needs

Putting together the curriculum pieces: concepts, knowledge and skills to create outstanding curriculum quality

Assessing staff expertise and their CPD needs is essential as one delves more deeply into what the statements above are asking for. Below are some of the obvious questions subject leaders need to ponder as part of their own subject specific professional development.

  • What is the important knowledge pupils need to know in each year and across key stages?
  • What is a key concept and how do we teach conceptual understanding in each subject and in more cross-curricular contexts?
  • What pedagogical strategies create the right conditions for pupils to embed learning in their long-term memories?
  • What is the sequence of learning in each specific subject?
  • How can teachers work together to develop long and medium-term curriculum plans?
  • How consistent is the assessment of learning across all subjects?

A Solutions Focused Strategy for Subject Specific Professional Development

CPD must be enlightening, illuminating and create opportunities where learning is cascaded widely.

The most important strategic decision to make is to maintain a plan for ensuring your staff have access to excellent professional development opportunities. All staff need to know that they are valued and that their status is not undermined by a lack of opportunity to continue to learn for themselves and to learn with their peers and others who are specialists in in-service training. The curriculum still lies at the forefront of a definition for what constitutes a high-quality education in a school or college; so in making plans for future CPD opportunities it is to the curriculum and how it is designed, delivered and valued for its impact and effectiveness that the priorities for CPD and in subject specific professional development particularly that are most likely to reap rewards for the individual, the team and for middle and senior leaders.The next strategic decision to make is how to put subject specific CPD into practice so that subject staff, senior and middle leaders and teachers all feel that they are developing professionally, are challenged to think deeply and grow in their role and take away learning that they can use and cascade to others. CPD must also be accessible, enjoyable and based on deep research and considerable expertise. We have a range of online and face to face CPD opportunities to ensure that your staff remain ready for the professional challenges of 2022. We are the leading experts in curriculum CPD, plan your strategy and be ready to showcase the high quality education your school provides.

Happy New Year from Glynis and the team at Learning Cultures  01746 765076 / 07974 754241

Does lesson observation support professional development?

Does lesson observation support professional development?

Lesson observation is an essential tool in the pursuit of high-quality education outcomes.  For many schools, in the classroom observation has not been possible during the pandemic. The return to full time schooling has been fraught with extra pressures and calls on the time of everyone which may mean observation of learning has taken a bit of a back seat. So, now is the time to look again at the purpose of lesson observation.

Is it

  • part of the performance management process
  • a formalised approach to assessing the quality of teaching and learning
  • linked to pay and promotion within the school system

or is it

  • a shared opportunity to support individual teachers to continuously improve
  • a part of the CPD strategy that allows teachers to observe each other and reflect on their practice
  • an integral element in creating cohesion within subjects and across the wider curriculum

Creating a culture where lesson observation is for teachers to learn from each other, reflect on their own practice and that of others, deeply commit to setting their own goals for incremental change and improvement and welcome the feedback from colleagues or line managers who genuinely have more or different experiences to share is powerful.

Lesson observation and answering ‘deep dive’ questions about the curriculum

Be visible and consistent in how to share curriculum and pedagogical excellence

‘Deep dive’ scrutiny’ is high on the agenda for all those senior leaders who may be due an OFSTED visit in the not- to- distant future. For many who have already been inspected they will know the importance of having the right answers about the curriculum across a range of subjects and within a whole school context. There is an imperative to ensure that all subject and middle leaders have created profound opportunities for their teams to be able to articulate how well pupils are retaining and deepening knowledge over time. Teachers must have the evidence that they are building on pupil’s prior learning and have grasped basic concepts before moving onto more complex ideas. There must also be evidence that lessons are differentiated so that opportunities to access and retain knowledge can be the privilege of all learners whatever their starting point.

What comes through from much of the feedback from OFSTED reports, speeches and briefings is that they are seeing a cumulative lack of continuity across different subjects. Where there is an intense look across the curriculum, subject leaders and teachers are not consistent in their understanding of how curriculum intent is translated into implementation. There is a significant emphasis by OFSTED on how well the curriculum is planned to ensure that pupils remember and retain important knowledge that can be accessed across a range of contexts.

Developing a strategy where lesson observation is part of a process of ongoing learning for all those with a pupil facing role will create the culture where conversations explicitly define how pupils are learning and the depth of knowledge they are accessing. Professional learning conversations that flow from lesson observation will also support a collaborative review of how learning is assessed to ensure that knowledge is retained as a springboard for deeper understanding. Positive change emanates from giving teachers a collective opportunity to share and disseminate good and outstanding practice.

Lesson observations shine a collective light on the quality of education

Putting the spotlight on knowledge and learning

Before we can begin to use lesson observation as a vehicle for continuing professional development and provide an opportunity for the pursuit of challenging reflection and feedback all those involved need to have a profound understanding of the indicators that define high quality education. They are set out in the OFSTED Handbook for Schools, so that is one place to begin to define high quality. However, there are other indicators that provide a broader definition and build in many other factors linked to learning. Have a look at UNESCO’s paper, Defining Quality Education. Read around the research from the Education Endowment Foundation. Join us for a live webinar where we look at the seven principles of quality assurance that influence positive change and ensure all staff play their part in the delivery of high quality outcomes across the whole school or college. Quality Assurance Strategies for Outstanding Curriculum Implementation and Impact. This course provides all the materials, research and resources to develop a quality assurance strategy across your school or college. Book here now.

The curriculum is the focus within the OFSTED handbook  and creating conversations linked to observing learning in the classroom will build consensus and create the evidence that all staff are working together to understand what high quality education outcomes look like to an external observer as well as an internal observer. Learning in this way provides individual teachers with the opportunity to observe pedagogy, focus on cognitive science, build a collective view of how well the curriculum is sequenced, understand where there are connections across the curriculum and share how literacy, numeracy and metacognition are essential to the learning process everywhere.

Defining quality as a process through lesson observation

Pedagogy and pupil outcomes – putting the pieces together.

OFSTED have devised for their own process of quality assurance a list of 18 indicators of what they want to see from observing lessons. We have used these to focus on the outcomes we are looking for from pupils as a result of observing learning through the lens of these particular indicators.  They provide a framework for building consensus on what is working well in the classroom and how that manifests itself in relation to the outcomes that pupils produce, and the deep knowledge they possess as well as how competent they are at using a range of core and wider skills. It is the learning and the depth of knowledge and understanding pupils have that create the evidence and the measures of the quality of education in a school or college. Have a  look at the 18 indicators and what we have added alongside each one and that focuses more on what an observer should be looking for in terms of impact. Explore some of the online box sets and live webinars to enrich CPD for your staff.



Curriculum Cohesion and the Role of the Middle and Subject Leader

Curriculum Cohesion and the Role of the Middle and Subject Leader

OFSTED are receiving funding to increase the number of visits to schools and colleges from September 2022 to ensure that all schools can be inspected by the end of 2024. Therefore, there is an imperative to focus on the latest Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and look in detail at what is required in terms of curriculum cohesion within subjects and across the curriculum. It is the pivotal role of middle and subject leaders to shape the strategies that will ensure all staff plan and deliver a  curriculum offer that meets the needs of all pupils.

Middle and subject leaders have to work closely with their senior leaders to shape, share and translate the curriculum intent. They must create the inspiration to influence members of their teams to implement well planned and highly innovative knowledge rich and skills focused content that delivers breadth, depth and sequential progression over time.

Emphasising the Importance of Dialogue

A focus on dialogue cannot be underestimated. Professional conversations are an integral part of how middle and subject leaders create the right culture of cohesion in their own subject areas. This must then translate into time to share where cross-curricular concepts, skills and knowledge connect across different areas of learning.  Amanda Spielman in her recent speech to the  Schools and Academies Show emphasises exactly the points made above.

“……… in its fundamentals, the EIF is still the same. Our focus is still squarely on substance and integrity. Bringing the inspection conversation back to the curriculum – what’s taught and how, not just about exam results. Treating you as experts in your field, not data managers…And our emphasis in the EIF is on dialogue. I know you appreciate these professional conversations…”

AmandaSpielman speech to the Schools and Academies Show last week (18/11/2021).

Recent OFSTED reports from across the education spectrum re-enforce this absolute need for a consistent approach to planning, to quality assurance, to pedagogy and learning, to equality, diversity and inclusion and to assessment.

Lesson Observation and the Power of Learning Conversations

A triangulation – delivering quality through the curriculum

OFSTED’s research from 2019  looks in some detail at a series of criteria for what inspectors are looking for when they observe teaching and learning in the classroom. Lesson observation is a key factor in determining the quality of pedagogy and how well the curriculum intent is being interpreted and translated into high quality implementation that fosters depth, breadth and parity in all subjects.

These indicators are a useful barometer for senior and subject leaders to use as part of their strategy for ensuring lesson observation provides an opportunity for the sharing of good practice, a focus on consistency and interpretation of the curriculum intent and a dialogue about continuous improvement.

However, a top-down approach to lesson observation that is led by the senior team is unlikely to have the desired results. It is the quality of self-evaluation and positive feedback from lesson observation that should be related to clearly defined criteria consistently linked to the Teachers Standards, a deep understanding of what constitutes quality and highly motivated teachers that ignite their pupils passion for learning. The dialogue of challenge, positivity, reflection and self-reliance build trust and a willingness to innovate and set the highest standards.

Continuity in the assessment of pupil outcomes

Assessing pupil outcomes provides all those involved with curriculum implementation with an opportunity to determine how their planning and teaching have impacted on their pupils’ ability to develop competence in skills for learning, deepen their knowledge over time and apply a range of curriculum concepts within subjects and across the curriculum.

Creating the evidence of learning from what pupils achieve in all aspects of learning across the curriculum.

Below is a list included as part of OFSTED’s research into what is an essential part of assessing how what pupils produce provides profound evidence linked to the quality of education judgement in the EIF.

  • Building on prior learning
  • Depth and breadth of coverage
  • Pupils’ progress
  • Opportunities to re-enforce learning through practice
  • Acknowledging the skills that support knowledge acquisition
  • Linking skills and concepts across other curriculum areas

Once again it is the dialogue that will create the opportunity to share a deep understanding of how well the curriculum is being implemented through the assessment process. It must transcend all subjects both core and foundation and build a deeply held conviction that there is a collective vision that translates into evidence that all learners achieve their full potential whatever their starting point.

Creating a Culture of Positivity and a Shared Vision

Quality Assurance principles set the scene of positive and shared dialogue.

Creating a consistent whole school approach to designing and maintaining high quality assurance systems requires middle leadership to play a pivotal role. The secret is in the power of challenge through the ability to ask incisive and probing questions that lead to individuals taking responsibility for achieving the best possible outcomes for all, both staff and pupils. The three statements below are taken from the Quality of Education judgement in Section 2 of the EIF and relate directly to evidence of positive implementation. Current OFSTED reports show just how important these discussions are to the inspection process and inconsistency in the way different subject leaders, specialists and teachers answer the related questions collectively bears weight on the final judgement.

  • discussions with curriculum and subject leaders and teachers about the programme of study that classes are following for particular subjects or topics, the intended end points towards which those pupils are working, and their view of how those pupils are progressing through the curriculum
  • discussions with subject specialists and leaders about the content and pedagogical content knowledge of teachers and what is done to support teachers, including with remote teaching
  • discussions with classroom teachers about how often they are expected to record, upload and review data

Quality of Education OFSTED Education Inspection Framework

It is essential that there is a sharp focus on how to create the right culture where professional conversations lead to the sharing of good and outstanding practice, a consistent message as to how pupils are progressing and a profound understanding of how pupils learn and retain knowledge over time. This won’t happen without a clear strategy that creates opportunities for teams to talk to each other, time for cross-curricular discussion and the use of lesson observation and the assessment of pupils’ work as an essential part of professional development.

Fostering Challenging Dialogue Through Coaching

Achieving a consistent whole school approach to quality assurance in every subject and facet of school life is made far less daunting if there is a constructive and well-defined strategy that embraces every professional across the school. Creating an opportunity for senior, middle and subject leaders to learn how to coach will provide the models and the tools that shape a solutions focused future. The outcome will focus on the positive, create the mechanisms to share good and outstanding practice and build teams that know how they can work together to achieve the vision and realise the ambition they have for all their pupils and their colleagues.

Coaching creates a culture of self-belief, trust and a shared dialogue that leads to excellence and improvement.

Coaching is a powerful approach to CPD that will define consistency, self-belief, trust and a commitment to excellence and high-quality outcomes. The opportunity to learn how to listen, how to ask probing, challenging and incisive questions, how to influence others to solve their own problems, be innovative in their practice and steadfast when things go wrong.

Here at Learning Cultures, we have a suite of coaching courses and programmes that will build a coaching culture. Where coaching is at the heart of a vision of excellence and improvement it creates outstanding futures for all. Have a look at our highly praised coaching courses or join our Certification Programme.

Essential Professional Development for Teaching and Learning

Essential Professional Development for Teaching and Learning

Deepening learning, reinforcing pedagogy and building expertise

Research tells us that high quality teaching has a significant impact on ensuring all pupils have the same opportunities whatever their background and starting point. Promoting effective professional development for all staff in schools and colleges plays a vital role in improving education quality. The Learning Cultures research and curriculum teams weave the findings of reaseach across all of the CPD we offer to schools and colleges

There has never been a more critical time to ensure that there are planned opportunities for senior leaders, subject and middle leaders, teachers and Teaching Assistants to know that they are valued and invested in.  There is an imperative to provide positive learning experiences that will help all staff to make the right decisions and develop effective strategies to build strong futures for their learners and their organisation.

Here at Learning Cultures we have the expertise, the experience and the reputation to build the CPD solutions that will make a difference to the success of your organisation, your leaders, your teachers and all those who have a support role to know the part they play in achieving the best possible outcomes for learning.

CPD solutions for high quality education systems

Creating the right CPD solutions and answering deeply challenging questions?

The Education Endowment Foundation has just published a review of professional development in education which is a follow up to a guidance report publisned in 2019.  Guidance Report: Effective Professional Development (2019).  This echoes what I have said above and highlights the real need to find strategies for ensuring professional development is an essential part of planning the school vision and ambition for high quality curriculum impact and positive approaches to managing the professional development needs of staff.

Senior leaders in education need to approach the planning of CPD in the same way as they plan for high-quality education outcomes linked to curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. Continuing learning for adults is defined by similar principles to those we expect to see in the design and implementation of a well-structured curriculum. The strategy has to ensure that what is planned in terms of the curriculum will be delivered with great skill, outstanding professionalism and deep subject expertise.  Constructing systems that ensure that the curriculum builds on prior learning, allows for the sequencing of knowledge and is planned towards clearly defined outcomes will not happen unless there is careful consideration given to the skills and expertise of those who will shape the detail.

Designing a balanced CPD Programme

Where CPD is an integral part of the school or college development plan positive change takes place. Taking time to consider the training needs of all those who will be responsible for translating the curriculum intent into curriculum implementation has a powerful impact on what ultimately defines success for the school, the senior and middle leaders, their teams and teachers and their support staff.

Creating a balance that leads to sequential learning for all.

There needs to be a balance that requires a systematic review of the processes that will deliver sustained excellence and create the evidence that outcomes are of a high-quality and are clearly defined in terms of the impact the curriculum has had on all those it touches including pupils, teachers and those who lead.

For those with a strategic leadership role this should include:-

  • Having the generic knowledge to build strong teams of subject expertise
  • Building the right strategies for change, challenge and curriculum innovation
  • Creating the tools and techniques that will deliver high quality outcomes
  • Embedding a culture that celebrates ongoing professional learning
  • Defining the vision for continuing professional learning for all staff

Without the above, defining the curriculum intent or the wider school or college vision is unlikely to deliver what it set out to achieve. It is the expertise of staff, the motivation of learners both adults and pupils, the identification of gaps in skills, knowledge and understanding and opportunities to build on prior learning, develop new techniques, reflect on positive change and continue to practice and grow as professionals that are the absolute keys to success.

How do you create a learning culture?

Below are some of the guiding principles that underpin the philosophy that defines the Learning Cultures approach to training for all those in education.  They should also be in the forefront of the minds of those who lead when planning for change, defining their vision or creating a strategy for implementation.

  • CPD is not an add on, it should be an integral part of the process of planning
  • Leaders must have the generic expertise to guide all those who deliver subject specific or skills focused learning
  • Planned CPD should align with clearly identified needs linked to positive appraisal and the identification of expertise across the curriculum
  • Participants must be able to set their own learning goals and have the time to reflect on how their learning improves their role and that of members of their sphere of influence
  • Existing mechanisms such as meetings, INSET, networks and lesson observation all provide profound opportunities for informal or formal CPD
  • Use the expertise within the school or college setting to create opportunities for learning within cross-curricular and inter-departmental sessions.
Powerful coaching questions create the challenge that leads to profound learning.

At the heart of all of the above is the principle of coaching. Creating opportunities for individuals to learn from each other, engage in professional learning conversations and build confidence in their own ability to experiment, take risks and find their own solutions provides the evidence that there is a symbiosis that will deliver the highest quality outcomes for all who educate.


Visit Learning Cultures’ website and and start your journey towards a CPD strategy that will improve performance, motivate staff and that will create a culture of professional learning and the sharing and good and outstanding practice. Call us on 01746 765076 or Glynis’s mobile 07974 754241. Email us at


Mathematical fluency across the curriculum

Mathematical fluency across the curriculum

OFSTED make it very clear in their latest handbook for school inspections that they are looking for specific evidence that all pupils can access a range of key concepts across the curriculum and apply them in a range of contexts. Mathematics provides the key to understanding across many subjects. Applying their learning in the context of other subjects will enhance a deep understanding of where learning in a Maths lesson is applied in many contexts elsewhere.

Pupils … need to develop fluency and unconsciously apply their knowledge as skills. This must not be reduced to, or confused with, simply memorising facts.

See the quote below from OFSTED that is included in the list of indicators that were used to inform their own rationale for what constitutes a high quality education linked to excellence in curriculum design and delivery (intent) and (implementation), mathematical fluency is clearly highlighted.

Mathematical fluency and confidence in numeracy are regarded as preconditions for success across the national curriculum.

OFSTED 2018 Intent indicator 2d

This September 2021 the Department for Education have published a guidance paper in conjunction with the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM)  focusing on Maths in key stage 3.  This follows a similar publication that looks at Mathematics in the Primary School published in July 2021. Both of these focus on the sequencing of the content of the Maths curriculum from year to year and key stage to key stage. Neither focus on the absolute importance of sharing mathematical concepts and using mathematical skills across other foundation subjects.

Making connections through collaborative CPD.

However, both papers create a powerful CPD opportunity for those with responsibility for ensuring depth and breadth and positive interleaving of curriculum subjects to ensure that all learners can make connections and develop fluency in Mathematics as is clear in the quote above.

Ask subject leaders and their teams where some of the concepts that are included as part of the narrative of these distinctly Maths focused documents apply in the context of other subjects.

Cross Curricular Mathematics – moving towards maths fluency

Maths is integral to many subjects across the curriculum. Map reading in Geography requires skills in interpretation of scale, measuring distance, working with contour lines that represent the steepness of a slope and measuring weather patterns demands intricate maths skills. Design Technology requires pupils to work with measurements, shapes and 3D as well as mathematical modelling. The opportunities in Science to use maths learning in a real world context are everywhere. Pupils are required to test predictions, record and measure, apply mathematical concepts, calculate results, use and interpret data appropriately, create tables and graphs to name a few of the many examples from The Science Programmes of Study at key stage 2 and 3.

Using words to figure out the reasons why…

The guidance discussed above talks about the need to focus on literacy and language as an essential element of teaching Maths. Opportunities abound to build for pupils a much greater understanding of the Maths concepts they are learning about in Maths lessons if they are able to share their findings from experiments using group work discussions or where they can use percentages to build a pie chart linked say to pupils’ preferences in relation to a study of food and health and then to discuss their findings. Writing up experiments that involve the interpretation of data, describing the weather patterns over say the past ten years to back up an argument on the evidence of climate change or putting together a presentation to sell a design for a product or model in a design lesson. All the examples given provide a rich vein of opportunity to put Maths in its context and create for pupils a deeper understanding of the reasons they need to have a sound grasp of the concepts that underpin Mathematics.

Creating opportunities for cross-curricular conversations to aid maths fluency

Whilst there is within the current debate about the curriculum a focus on subject specific knowledge it is essential that pupils from across the education spectrum can see the connections across the different subjects. Subject specific curriculum planning in isolation misses many opportunities to see where the learning in Maths lessons can be enhanced by seeing where it is applied in a variety of other subjects. Creating opportunities for inter-departmental conversations to take place will reveal just how much the Maths taught is also an essential element of learning elsewhere.

Where departments can work together to share the National Curriculum programmes of study and see first-hand where the connections exist conversation begin about methods, depth of knowledge, how to assess, ways of teaching, emphasis in relation to context and so on. Where these connections are made explicit for the learner there are real advantages to how the retention of mathematical knowledge is more easily translated from the working memory into the long-term memory.

Developing a deeper understanding of cross curricular maths to aid fluency

Another highly successful way of creating opportunities for cross-curricular teams to work together in a focused look at Maths in context is to gather together exam papers for subjects such as geography, design technology, physics and chemistry and simply look at how many of the questions include a core theme linked to Mathematics.

Cognitive science and mathematical fluency

Deep understanding of learning and memory will help to create mathematical fluency.

Learning Maths theory without a context will inevitably lead to cognitive overload where some pupils can’t take any more knowledge into their short term memory. Research into learning and memory confirms the absolute importance of creating opportunities for pupils to understand how concepts translate across different aspects of learning. There needs to be many opportunities for learning to be reinforced, revisited and retrieved over time. In this way the learning sticks and will be retained for longer.

It therefore makes a great deal of sense that teachers from across the subject spectrum can work in tandem with their Maths colleagues to share where the Mathematical concepts overlap and provide for the learner an opportunity to see the connections and for many a chance to understand why learning the Maths theory is so important to their ability to make sense of the world and how it works.

The role of the maths or numeracy co-ordinator in a primary or secondary school is an important one. Creating a culture where numeracy and Maths are seen as an integral part of learning across the subject spectrum really does have a significant impact on pupils’ motivation, understanding and ultimately their achievement in both Maths and other subjects.  Join us at our highly praised curriculum event:-

Enhancing the Role of the Numeracy Coordinator – Maths concepts into context across the curriculum and beyond

You may also want to send a colleague to a similar event focusing in detail on literacy across the curriculum, both have the power to change perception and build high quality outcomes for all pupils and the teachers who teach them.

Enhancing the Role of the Literacy Coordinator – weaving literacy through the curriculum

Literacy at the heart of a deep, rich and sequential curriculum

Literacy at the heart of a deep, rich and sequential curriculum

Every child should be able to read for pleasure and to access knowledge with depth and clarity, speak with passion and fluency and write with style and fluidity. This ambition should be at the heart of every school’s vision and rationale for curriculum design.  Each subject across the curriculum, at each phase, key stage and in every element of learning there is an imperative to read, write or speak. It is therefore, every teacher’s responsibility to focus on how learners are developing and using their key skills in literacy.

Creating the role of the Literacy Lead

Words and patterns of language build meaning and create structure for learners.

How do schools, both in the primary and secondary phases ensure that the implementation of a systematic programme for ensuring high levels of literacy is embedded across the whole curriculum? In the early years and key stage 1 this will include expertise in the school’s chosen phonics programme and how this works in synergy with other important pedagogies. For key stage 2, 3 and above the role of the literacy coordinator requires a deep understanding of how important competence in literacy is across all subjects.

Their role is to build a strategy that ensures all teachers can help pupils read fluently, comprehend what they read and articulate through the spoken and written word to demonstrate they have understood, can infer, explain, analyse and evaluate the knowledge they are gaining. The literacy lead needs to communicate what progress looks like for each age group, ensure sufficient resources are available, build a picture of pupils who are falling behind, identify those who need more challenge and lastly but so very importantly coordinate training for all the teaching and support staff.  Our online webinar will provide a wealth of resources and strategies.

Enhancing the Role of the Literacy Co-ordinator – weaving literacy through the curriculum

The Reading Framework – Teaching the Foundations of Literacy

The Department of Education have recently published (July 2021) The Reading Framework – Teaching the Foundations of Literacy . Within this document there is a wealth of advice and guidance on how to ensure that reading is prioritised across all subjects. It is mainly aimed at early primary school leaders and how they can organise a collaborative and highly focused approach to ensuring that no stone is left unturned in the quest for all pupils to be able to read and therefore access the curriculum. It is called The Reading Framework but there is a clear emphasis on the importance of reading in influencing pupils to write and speak as part of their growing depth of understanding from reading.

The effective teaching of reading, requires not just a systematic synthetic phonics programme but its consistent implementation….and a recognition of the importance of talk, of accurate assessment, and of building a love of stories and reading. Headteachers need to prioritise reading and make it their mission to make sure every child in their school becomes a fluent reader.

Foreword from the The Reading Framework July 2021

The importance of talk on the road to comprehension

Talking is an essential element of learning to read, to deepen understanding  and to build a bank of essential vocabulary. The number of words a child has heard by the time they start school is often an indicator of how well they will do in developing skills in reading and as part of their ability as writers. Schools play an important role in helping to bridge the gap between those children who do not come from language rich homes and those that do. Teachers must consciously focus on the absolute importance of talk on the road to helping all pupils to become fluent readers not just in English or literacy lessons but across all learning in every subject and beyond.

Talking and listening allows learners to make connections and weave their thoughts into a deeper understanding of the written word.

The emphasis  in the Reading Framework is primarily aimed at those who teach in the early years or in key stage 1. However the guidance given and some of the principles apply to pedagogy at any stage along the education trajectory. Thinking out loud, listening attentively, validating new vocabulary, asking deep and rich questions, explaining why things happen, making connections, all support a deepening of understanding, the acquisition of knowledge and greater competence in reading and comprehending.

Phonics play their part along with a range of other strategies

There is some evidence that suggests that explicitly teaching phonics especially in the early years and key stage 1 does have a positive impact on helping pupils to learn to read. The Education Endowment Foundation in their research on the efficacy of explicit phonics teaching emphasise that phonics are important but they should form a part of a much wider approach to learning how to read, how to understand what is being read and develop a love of reading and the pleasure it can bring to all of us.

Learning to read is a highly complex undertaking that is underpinned by two fundamental processes:

  • word reading through the recognition and decoding of words, and
  • comprehension of texts through a range of knowledge and skills.

It is the skilled combination of these two dimensions that facilitates all reading success.

Caroline Binton: Phonics: Mastering the basics of reading (EEF)

There is clear advice from several research studies that the teaching of systematic phonics should be combined with the development of fluency and comprehension. The need to ensure all teachers have the knowledge and pedagogical skills to create the right depth and balance is essential. Teachers also need to focus on pace, engagement and responsiveness.

Literacy is an essential element of all learning. Pause to reflect on how to create a culture that allows all subject specialists to see the role they play in creating a culture of positive reading for pleasure and learning.

Early reading is crucial for all pupils so that they can begin their curriculum journey and become  successful learners. Using texts that tell stories, build suspense, capture the imagination all help to make the experience of learning to read enjoyable. Using non-fiction ignites curiosity, extends knowledge and widens experiences and must also match the pupil’s own interests. Developing fluency in reading is a complex process. Exposure, accurate understanding, learning the meaning of new vocabulary and revisiting texts all helps. The magic formula is in the pedagogy and how teachers talk, read aloud, listen and build new language to add to existing language in a classroom full of rich texts and innovative learning strategies.

For all those who have the role of Literacy Lead or Literacy Coordinator our training course will give you all you need to enhance your role and create for you the strategy to make a significant difference.

Enhancing the Role of the Literacy Coordinator – weaving literacy through the curriculum – An online webinar

The clear message from many researchers and the latest paper The Reading Framework from the Department for Education recommend a literacy lead or co-ordinator. Focusing on literacy across every aspect of learning, in every subject and throughout the learning journey has lasting benefits for the pupil, for the school and for the community.


Coaching and the Role of the Subject Leader


Coaching and the Role of the Subject Leader

The subject leader is pivotal in ensuring the planned curriculum; the curriculum intent, is translated into knowledge rich content across all subjects and in the wider curriculum context. OFSTED are back and by all accounts their remit is a zero tolerance approach to anything less than high quality education outcomes defined by a cohesive approach to a whole school drive for curriculum excellence.

Here at Learning Cultures we are focusing on how to create the right CPD experience and the most useful resources that will arm subject and curriculum leaders with the tools to demonstrate to OFSTED that they have the will and the expertise to inspire their teams to deliver a substantive and high quality curriculum and articulate with powerful aplomb the impact that the pedagogy, sound subject expertise and positive feedback to learners is having on the life chances of each and every learner they teach.

Why Coaching is the Essential Strategy in Building Cohesion

Complexity and positive conversations – developing a cohesive curriculum

An essential role for the subject leader is to be an integral part of planning the wider curriculum vision and then translating that vision into subject specific strategies for their teams to implement. Coaching provides an opportunity to involve the whole team. It provides the catalyst for each and every team member to realise their own essential part in defining how they will teach, what they will teach and how they can support their learners to achieve their full potential.

Curriculum cohesion does not happen by osmosis. It requires serious strategic planning. A school is a series of highly intelligent silos where individual teams of experts know how to teach their subject, how to impart knowledge and how to help learners to increase their level of competence in a range of essential skills for learning.

Without careful and deliberate manoeuvres that will create opportunities for teams to work together not very much can happen. Where there are opportunities for professional learning conversations to take place learning can be sequenced over time, there are clear opportunities to plan how to build on prior learning and how to set carefully crafted goals that lead to high impact outcomes. Where these conversations are crafted using the powerful skills of coaching the results are outstanding, the evidence of cohesion and collaboration evident and the motivation to succeed powerful.

What do Subject Leaders Need to do to Develop a Coaching Culture?

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential. It is helping them to learn not teaching them.
  • Know your team and the strengths within it, build a consensus as to who has expertise and where the gaps are that need to be filled
  • Define and communicate the whole school curriculum vision and rationale for an ambitious and rich curriculum offer
  • Create space and time for joint planning where individuals can work together to develop curriculum maps that take account of how learners build on prior learning, how the learning is sequenced to build and deepen their knowledge over time and how specific end points are planned along the way
  • Train and be trained in essential coaching skills so that teams can work together to define their goals and focus on how within the strategic boundaries that encompass curriculum intent they can ensure the taught and learnt curriculum delivers high quality outcomes for all learners
  • Develop proactive and highly motivated professional learning communities who will challenge each other and build a consensus that over time learners are deepening their understanding where knowledge is retained in the long term memory and all pupils are becoming increasingly and unconsciously competent in a range of learning and thinking skills
  • Ensure that there are opportunities for the sharing and cascading of good practice where pedagogy, assessment and subject expertise are celebrated within individual subject specialisms and in cross-curricular forums that will help to demonstrate where concepts, skills and knowledge transcend specific subject divides.

Support for Subject Leaders from Learning Cultures

Strategic planning to create high quality curriculum outcomes for all

Coaching is at the heart of everything we design and deliver here at Learning Cultures. Creating the right culture where the curriculum vision and rationale is translated into ambitious subject specific and cross-curricular content is vital for success. OFSTED make the role of the subject leader pivotal in how they approach their deep dive inspections. The questions they ask require all members of phase, subject or departmental teams to be able to answer with clarity, confidence and a deep understanding that the curriculum intent is translating into powerful strategies for implementation that lead to measurable impact and learning for all.

The Curriculum team at Learning Cultures have used a wide range of research and our many contacts in outstanding schools, MATs and the wider education community to develop a range of exceptional training courses for senior, middle and subject leaders, teachers and support staff. Our aim is to ensure that all those with a pupil facing role have the expertise, the resources and the tools to deliver a knowledge rich, skills focused and sequential curriculum that delivers high quality outcomes for all. We receive phenomenal reviews and we are proud of the feedback that tells us just how valuable our input has on improving opportunities for collaboration and professional learning conversations that a coaching culture encourages.


How Green is Your Curriculum?

How Green is Your Curriculum?

A curriculum for the future must include a serious focus on the current global crisis that continues to dominate our lives. The evidence that climate change is a real and ever-present phenomena cannot be ignored. The people that will be the most affected are those we currently teach in our schools, those who will soon go to school and those yet unborn.

I was at the Chelsea Flower Show last week and had the happy chance to visit a unique stand inside the pavilion where the most beautiful displays of flowers, plants and vegetables told an exceptional story about the resilience, imagination and determination of those who choose to work in horticulture.  The stand in question nestled alongside this exceptional show case of talent and told the story of a remarkable collaboration between Putney High School, architect Clare Bowman from architects RCZM and the Royal Horticultural Society.  They have created a ‘biophilic’ classroom’ Their website celebrates their stand being awarded a gold award at the show and says the following,

The school showcased its ground-breaking research into the impact of plants and nature on student wellbeing.

Putney High School’s ‘Breathe’ campaign, of which the biophilic classroom is a part, shows how a few simple steps can have a significant impact on both wellbeing and the ability to learn.

Headmistress Suzie Longstaff, with the help of sustainability architects Clare and Richard Bowman, and many keen botanists and green fingered students, embarked on a mission to ‘bring the outside in’ to improve the learning environment and encourage restorative benefits such as wellbeing and increased focus.

The project began with a few plants in the Sixth Form Centre but is now spreading into other areas, including the libraries, with the Junior School Reception classrooms the latest to undergo a green transformation over the summer.

The Environment as a Cross-Curricular Concept

Sow and reap the fruits of learning through a green curriculum

My mind raced with possibilities. The advantages the school were seeing from their decision to use plants and green aesthetics were easy to evidence but the emphasis is about a cleaner atmosphere, well-being and a calmer more serene environment. This, clearly, also goes a long way to enhance the potential for learning. However, I could see the possibilities for much more in terms of developing subject knowledge within specific subjects and as a way to create opportunities for pupils to see connections across the subject divide.

Think of the vocabulary associated with discovery around the world of plants, trees and flowers such as nourish, drought, systems, photosynthesis, osmosis, verdant, temperature, pollution, moisture, condensation, texture, infrastructure, symmetry.

Putting the environment in the hands of the next generation

Opportunities to make sure that the curriculum includes a plethora of ways to explore the natural world and bring many elements into school are boundless, not very expensive and provide rich possibilities for deep learning across all subjects. Art and creativity, English through poetry and literature, science brought to life, literally, a chance to delve into history and how plants and horticulture shaped the past and the lives of many who have gone before us. Geography; well, here I would need to write a whole post; the possibilities are boundless. Music and how the natural world has inspired many composers, design and the use of wood, paper, silk and cotton, to name but a few.

Learners want to be a part of a green curriculum

Growing towards a greener curriculum

The events that have shaped 2020 and 2021 have further raised many questions about how we consume, how we travel, how we spend and how we waste. There is no question that we will have to change our behaviours to build a greener future for the next generation and beyond. We have within our schools and through the curriculum an opportunity to raise awareness of how through a deeper appreciation of the natural world we can change the patterns of behaviour that have led us to this devastating impasse.

Many young people have already turned to activism to make their voices heard, others are asking questions and making the adults think about their habits and behaviours. Defining the curriculum in terms of how we can build better futures, learn from past mistakes and find innovative ways to determine greener and more sustainable lifestyles for this and future generations will inspire and nurture a learning environment that has so many possibilities. The environment is an element of curriculum implementation in most schools. Let’s make sure it is not an add on but a deeply focused element of all learning across every subject, cross-curricular possibilities and out of school exploration.

Small steps towards a greener curriculum

Embedding a culture where the focus is on sustainability and a more tranquil environment has well researched benefits. Small changes might include the introduction of plants and other additions such as colour schemes that reflect the outdoors, corridors that have plants, pictures of the pastoral, outdoor spaces where trees and shrubs are planted and areas to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers all reap real benefits for both well-being and learning.

In 2018, an environmental impact study of Putney High School’s campus revealed the benefits of the existing mature, natural landscape, and made recommendations to diversify the use of nature through the introduction of additional green infrastructure to support health and wellbeing.

A focus on some of the evidence that the climate is indeed changing with devastating consequences for many provides a rich vein for discussion, debate and enquiry. Finding out more about drought, flooding, forest fires, crop failure, bio-diversity and loss of habitat crosses subject boundaries and builds deep and important knowledge through the opportunity for increasing competence in a variety of essential skills for learning. The science of hope for new technology, changes in behaviour and more local environmental initiatives all provide opportunities for teachers to innovate and deepen understanding of how the next generation can make a significant difference.

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.

I had such an enlightening time at Chelsea last week. The whole experience reinforced my belief in the possible. Many of the exhibitors were used to planning for a spring show with all its possibilities for the summer ahead, autumn was a different challenge and without exception all those there rose to that challenge with great skill and imagination.  All our children, whatever their age, local-context and background deserve to have access to the beautiful world we live in and we need to bring them as close to nature as we possibly can.

Glynis Frater from Learning Cultures – have a look at our innovative and  sustainable CPD courses that will enhance learning and grow your staff whatever their role in your school or college.

How to manage a deep dive into curriculum implementation

Take a deep dive into subject specific curriculum implementation

A deep dive into subject specific implementation of a well-crafted curriculum must be part of the role of the senior school or college leader in partnership with subject and curriculum leaders and in collaboration with teachers and support staff.

Senior leaders will not have the relevant knowledge of every subject taught across the school and nor should they.  Instead a senior team must focus on the domain-specific knowledge relevant across all subjects and create for their subject leads and curriculum leads the right conditions to enable strong expertise to translate the aims and content of their specific programme of study into highly relevant and challenging knowledge rich subject content. Time for subject specific and cross-curricular collaboration that leads to a shared understanding of the knowledge, skills and concepts within subjects and across the subject divides will reap richness, breadth and creativity that leads to evidence that the curriculum has substance and the school is delivering high quality education.

Deep dive questions for Senior Leaders

Working together towards a shared goal

The first step in creating a profound understanding that subject and cross-curricular curriculum content is delivered linked to the stated intent is to create a set of deep dive questions that will reassure leaders that middle, phase and subject leaders are consistent in their interpretation of the curriculum intent, their own subject’s specific content, skills needed to access that knowledge and the concepts that knit the curriculum together. These might include,

  • What through the teaching of your subject content inspires pupils to want to learn and find out more?
  • How is learning differentiated to embrace the needs, experiences and aspirations of all pupils?
  • What is the evidence that the planned curriculum builds on prior learning and is sequenced towards clearly defined end points?
  • How are rich texts used to promote a growing confidence and love of reading across all subjects?
  • Where do subject concepts transcend one subject and apply to others?
  • Where are there clearly stated opportunities to develop mathematical fluency where it is essential for the acquisition of knowledge in subjects other than Maths?
  • How can the defined curriculum content create for pupils an opportunity to recognise the generic and thinking skills that will allow them to access knowledge within and across all their learning?

Learning Cultures have two outstanding courses for senior and curriculum leaders

How can subject leaders use deep dive questions to inspire their teams?

Lighting the way through team working and collaboration

The planned curriculum, the intent, must not remain on the shelf, in a folder or in the cloud. It must be the pumping heart of the school’s ambition for all pupils. It must inspire, motivate and excite teachers to deliver high quality pedagogy and create for pupils a sense of wonder and a desire to continue to learn always.

A sample of deep dive questions to ask subject leaders:-

  • How does your planned curriculum build on what has been taught previously and acknowledge pupils’ growing confidence in what they know and seek to find out?
  • How does planned and observed pedagogy promote positive learning behaviours?
  • What are the strengths within the team that will support expert teaching across the subject?
  • What is in place to ensure that all staff have or will receive subject specific relevant CPD?
  • How can the planned curriculum ensure every child whatever their starting point has access to the full curriculum?
  • What is in place that ensures consistency in assessing how well pupils are learning the curriculum and producing high quality work?

This course for subject leaders is invaluable in setting the scene for managing this complex role

A deep dive into cross-curricular collaboration

Cross- curricular illuminates connections

Creating the right conditions that allow pupils to make connections across all their learning, deepen their understanding and retain knowledge requires them see where skills, knowledge and concepts transcend subjects and apply across other parts of the curriculum.

Here are some deep dive questions for senior leaders to share with their subject leaders

  • How do subject leaders work together to create the right conditions for their teams to share their understanding of how pupils learn and how learning is retained over time in the long-term memory?
  • How do teams across the subject divides share their pedagogy and celebrate good classroom practice as part of a CPD strategy?
  • Where is the evidence that subject leaders and teachers know where concepts, skills and knowledge overlap to help their pupils to make connections across all their learning?
  • How are subject leaders and their teams working together to ensure that pupils understand the key concepts that transcend subject learning?
  • How is literacy and especially reading a key part of learning across all subjects?
  • What is the evidence that there is no missed opportunities for pupils to develop their mathematical fluency in subjects other than mathematics?

Build the confidence of curriculum teams

Cohesion requires highly effective and active professional learning communities

Cascade learning through powerful conversations

Searching questions such as the ones above will take time, a collective knowledge and a cohesive understanding of how the curriculum is designed and delivered if there are to be meaningful answers. Where subject leaders and their teams work in isolation, in silos, it is unlikely that many subject leaders and certainly few teachers would be able to answer them with confidence.

Outstanding curriculum planning and delivery is no accident. It is predicated on a culture of distributed leadership where senior, middle and subject leaders work together to build a tapestry of learning within and beyond subjects. There is a focus on professional development through highly interactive professional learning communities that challenge and probe. They exist so participants can learn from each other how pedagogy, knowledge and skills development are intrinsic in the development of a sequential, broad and balanced curriculum.

We have a complete range of coaching courses for all staff in a school or college, have a look at our Coaching in Education section on our website.

Creating a deep dive culture

Team working and collaboration inspires deep learning

Building a consensus on what is taught, how it is taught, and how learning is assessed to ascertain how well learning is assimilated requires all those with a pupil facing role to share their own practice and learn from others. This can only happen if there is a well-defined strategy that creates the right culture of collaboration and opportunities for professional learning conversations to take place. There must be a curriculum of CPD for curriculum leaders, teachers and their support teams. Time is essential but even when time is set aside much more is needed in terms of strategic commitment, including the following essential ingredients:-

  • Introduce or continue with professional learning communities that focus on powerful strategies for delivering curriculum breadth and balance, progression and deep learning
  • Introduce coaching and in particular some of the techniques related to instructional coaching that will help to guide and support all staff
  • Reflect on the purpose of lesson observation to ensure that it is an integral part of CPD where opportunities for feedback and a sharing of good and improving practice are the focus
  • Ensure that all subject leaders and their teams are clear as to how their planning and delivery reflect the aims that are fundamental to their specific National Curriculum programme of study
  • Subject meetings focus on learning and the evidence that all teachers are building on prior learning, sequencing the learning and deepening understanding over time
  • Assessment of learning is formative with regular opportunities for teachers to work together to moderate pupils’ work and share how they feedback to pupils
  • There are staged opportunities prior to a new academic year and throughout the year for cross-curricular CPD sessions where teachers can share their pedagogy, define concepts that transcend individual subject curriculum and focus on generic learning and thinking skills

Leading a coaching culture in a school or college is profound and achieves the results that other processes rarely do. We have the expertise and resources to build dynamic strategies that will lead to positive impact for pupils and staff. Have a look at some of the services we offer for leaders.