The Critical Role of the Subject Specialist

New thinking about how the curriculum is designed and delivered highlights the critical role of the subject specialist.

OFSTED are focusing on the expertise of the subject specialist as the new handbook for schools is released for consultation.

However, there is a great deal to think about when focusing on the roles and responsibilities of the subject specialist in the context of curriculum design, pedagogy, metacognition and how the subject content is assessed to ensure that pupils are learning and that the knowledge they gain remains in their long-term memory.

The focus on subject specific expertise alone is therefore, not enough. There is also an imperative to focus on the complex education concepts and wider learning strategies that need to be explored in order to create sequential learning that deepens and broadens knowledge for all pupils.

The profession has a unique opportunity to seize the initiative in creating powerful subject pedagogy and innovative approaches to conceptual as well as subject specific knowledge-based learning.

The curriculum is a tapestry that weaves skills and knowledge within subjects and should create opportunities for learners to develop core skills in English and Maths and then apply them in the context of the wider learning opportunities within the foundation subjects.  There are patterns and similarities across the curriculum that learners can use to deepen their learning and demonstrate higher level thinking skills over time.

The role of the subject leader must be to create opportunities for their subject teams to be creative and innovative in their planning and in their own learning of how their subject is part of how a learner makes sense of the world and the complex patterns that make it so enticing.

Subject specific knowledge is important. It is, however, how it is taught in order that the learner builds on their prior knowledge and understanding and allows for the absorption of new learning.  There must be opportunities to reinforce and repeat the learning so that it becomes an integral part of the learner’s long-term memory.  The more opportunities there are for learners to understand how they are learning and how this is both similar and different across all their learning the more opportunities there are for them to strengthen the neural pathways that guarantee their learning becomes knowledge and not just information.

The critical role of the subject specialist is fundamental across all phases and stages of education. There are some profound opportunities for re-thinking how the foundation subjects are planned and taught. Where schools have already started there is a frisson of excitement about the possibilities, pedagogies and new approaches that can be developed and enhanced.  Join us for our newly designed course that focuses on the role of the subject specialist and will provide a wealth of resources, ideas and strategies to build a creative curriculum that enhances subject learning and deepens conceptual learning to ensure high levels of progression and deep learning.

We continue our series of courses for the senior leadership team to focus on their role in new approaches to curriculum intent, implementation and impact