Certification in Coaching – Cascading a culture of learning and collaboration

Developing a coaching culture is the most positive way to ensure the curriculum is the fulcrum for quality learning outcomes across the whole school or college.

Ask yourself:-

  • How is curriculum intent, rationale and ambition accurately translated into positive classroom practice?
  • How is learning sequenced over time and across phases, year groups and key stages?
  • What is in place to ensure all staff engage in professional learning conversations about their practice, curriculum content, concepts, and learning outcomes?
  • How is CPD planned to deepen knowledge and understanding linked to the vision and ambition for excellence and improvement?

The Learning Cultures’ coaching and curriculum teams have worked together to develop a Certificated Coaching Programme for schools and colleges to use to embed coaching successfully and sustainably over time. There is, within our schools and colleges a wealth of talent.  Current policy and good practice create an imperative to tap this by creating the right strategies that allow for collaboration and highly focused learning conversations that will provide the best solution to ensuring cohesive outcomes for pupils, teachers and their leaders and managers.

Coaching is the conduit that will provide the thread to linking subject specific and cross curricular learning. Coaching will help to create the dialogue that ensures skills and knowledge are woven through all learning. Coaching will ensure all staff embrace change, feel safe to innovate and can find their own solutions that deliver powerful learning outcomes.

A Journey in Coaching – Certificate in Coaching Competence provides a framework within which a school can begin to embed coaching.  We work over three terms with six members of staff (smaller or larger groups can be an option) who want to train as coaches and who will be the catalyst to begin the coaching journey for the whole organisation.  We provide all the materials, research documentation, three days training and on-going, on-line and telephone support.  We have opted for a certification rather than an accreditation route as this requires more on-the-job outcomes defined through evidence where the theory is applied in the context of educational learning. Read more by looking at the certification page on our website. Contact us here for more information.

We also have a range of coaching training courses for all staff including leaders, managers, teachers, support staff and those with a pastoral role.

We are continuing our highly acclaimed Redefining the Curriculum courses for both primary and secondary schools.  Have a look at our new course focusing on the role of the subject specialist.  Booking early is highly recommended.

Call us on 01746 765076 or Glynis directly on 07974 754241 if you would any more information.  You can also email Glynis at glynis@learningcultures.org. If curriculum cohesion is part of the question, coaching is without doubt the answer.

Preparing for subject specific ‘deep dive’ conversations and observations

The phrase ‘deep dive’ is the latest new terminology to come out of OFSTED’s focus on the curriculum and how it is planned and delivered.  I can’t help it, every time I hear the phrase it conjures up for me an image of an OFSTED inspector, in a rubber swimming hat, goggles and baggy trunks preparing to dive into the depths of murky subject knowledge or the dearth of it. Let’s unpick what this means for subject specialists or leaders.

Managing how the curriculum is implemented should fall to the subject team leader or subject expert.  It is their responsibility to create opportunities for that in-depth look at what is happening in the classroom to ensure that the content of subject learning is rich, builds on prior learning and prepares pupils for the next stage of their education. It is their role to translate the curriculum intent into clearly defined strategies for implementation.

This includes a focus on what the National Curriculum is asking for in their particular subject or wider area of study.  English, Maths and Science have a much more in-depth overview of what should be taught than the foundation subjects.  There is a degree of choice and opportunities for subject teams or departments to use their own local context, expertise and knowledge as the starting point for determining the content of their curriculum plan. The essential ingredients are,

  • the sequencing of learning over time
  • creating opportunities for pupils to make connections within and across their learning
  • ensure pupils understand the key concepts that link their learning within a subject and across subject boundaries
  • highlight the key skills that pupils will use and strengthen as part of their learning

In order for the subject or department lead to build a continuum of learning they must define the strategy that ensures schemes of work identify all of the above.  They must look closely at their own criteria for ‘deep dives’ into evaluating the quality of teaching and learning within their subject.  This will include collaborative planning meetings, opportunities to share through the use of professional learning conversations, highly interactive lesson observation and the review of pupil outputs such as in their written work, question and answer sessions and what they have produced in terms of models, presentations, art work and other media.

Some of OFSTED’s research provides a starting point for what subject leaders can use to determine how they can assess the quality of education and learning within their sphere of influence.  Specifically phase 3 of their research which includes 25 curriculum indicators that define what good curriculum design might look like. Also, the more recent publication of their research into lesson observation and workbook scrutiny. These documents give us clues as to a definition of high quality in education outcomes. Individual leaders and managers can add their own deep knowledge and understanding and create a powerful strategy for change or maintaining the status quo.

There is a lot to do and a lot to think about but now I think it is time for a deep dive into rest and recreation as we head for a well-deserved holiday for everyone with a pupil or curriculum centred role in a school or college.  We will continue to dive into the research, create our own and strengthen the Learning Cultures’ CPD offer based around our own deep expertise knowledge and understanding.  I will also keep publishing news-posts through the summer to highlight anything new that emerges.

Happy Summer and we look forward to working with you next term.

Glynis Frater

Observing Quality in the Classroom – measuring the impact of curriculum design

The quality of education is defined by OFSTED as ensuring pupils learn the content of a well sequenced curriculum across all subjects.  This re-balance (their language) requires leaders and their teams to look more closely at what is taught and how it is taught linked to their rationale and ambition for curriculum intent.

The clues to how this can be managed in school are linked to the myriad of speeches, publications and research that OFSTED have published over many months.  My post from last week, Curriculum Coherence and Coaching Conversations talks about a triangulation. This includes, lesson observation, book scrutiny and professional conversations with all stakeholders. The imperative to translate what is planned (intent) into education outcomes that deepen learning over time (implementation) and clearly define how all pupils will achieve their full potential (impact) is critical.

What we have to work with can help to create highly useful best practice models. The result of using these will deliver curriculum clarity to satisfy the inspectorate but will, more importantly, also foster a culture of highly interactive collaboration and the sharing of positive pedagogy that will have a lasting impact on morale, motivation and high quality learning.

Observation of learning is the key. This includes observing pedagogy and the learning outcomes that emerge from that. It also includes assessing the learning through what is written, how well pupils read, how pupils answer questions and what is performed, played, displayed or recorded for practical subjects including drama, PE, design technology, music and art. I have taken the observation indicators that OFSTED are using as part of their own validation and added to them a set of indicators of what observers and teachers might be looking for in terms of learning outcomes. Essentially, a far less subjective set of indicators that are linked directly to evidence of what pupils produce, learn, what they retain and their attitudes to learning.

So, when defining the quality of education, focus on the questions below so that you are clear as to what you would like to see when you observe pedagogy, practice and learning,

  • what are you expecting to see in the classroom, what do you want to see happening?
  • how does the content of this lesson fit into a sequence of lessons and other learning?
  • how is the learning assessed to ensure understanding and next steps?
  • to what extent are all pupils challenged to achieve more?
  • how involved are pupils in their own learning and how well can they articulate how they have accessed and retained knowledge over time?

We are as up to date with all this as it is possible to be. We continue to offer our suite of curriculum courses, including an in-depth and up to date focus on Re-defining the Curriculum.  One of our Leadership and Management courses looks specifically at Lesson Observation. The Art of Positive Lesson Observation – How to use powerful feedback that nurtures reflection, learning and outstanding teaching looks in-depth at the power of positive two-way observation that focuses on learning and successful outcomes for the teacher and their pupils.  At this crucial stage of change you may be looking at performance management and we have a highly acclaimed training day Re-thinking Appraisal and Performance Management- Influencing learning, empowering people and creating a culture of positive change  which will provide a focus on how to ensure every member of staff has a deep understanding of the contribution they can make to high quality education outcomes.

Make time for positive and highly praised CPD from Learning Cultures that is solutions focused, informed by sector led research and delivered by experts in education.

Curriculum Coherence and Coaching Conversations

Creating a coherent and well sequenced curriculum requires a culture change. The imperative is for collaboration and opportunities for leaders, managers and teachers to share in a professional dialogue that defines the quality of curriculum design and how it is delivered.

Last week in my last news post I talked about the triangulation that OFSTED describe in their research into lesson observation and ‘book scrutiny’. The third element of this triangulation is creating opportunities for professional learning conversations with those who deliver the curriculum and those who are recipients of it.  Here at Learning Cultures we know that developing a coaching culture within a school will create the platform for highly effective partnerships to emerge that will translate intent, rationale and ambition into powerful pedagogy and learning.

A coaching dialogue is more than a conversation, more than a discussion. A coach develops the skills to ask questions that probe for deeper meaning to answers given. The first step in a coaching discourse is to establish the goal an individual has set and the parameters within which he or she needs to work in order to achieve that goal.  Where the coach has a profound understanding of the curriculum rationale and ambition for change, he or she can influence and challenge their coachee to determine how their goal or target will contribute to achieving the vision for curriculum design and implementation.

Coaching is about trust and where a coaching culture exists all staff know that they have a part to play in the school’s determination to be successful in their quest for high quality education outcomes. Staff in school know they can innovate, take risks and move out of their sphere of comfort without fear of judgement or reprisal. It is, undoubtedly, this approach that will foster a whole school model that will deliver a well-sequenced curriculum that builds on prior learning, fosters challenge and ensures a tapestry of knowledge and skills.

To complete the list we also have Coaching for Teaching Assistants, Coaching for Cover Supervisors and Coaching for Pastoral Leaders, Coaching in the Classroom and Coaching for SENDCOs or we can design a coaching programme exclusively for your school linked to our considerable curriculum and coaching expertise.

Sequencing learning, mapping subject concepts, content and skills to build a continuum of learning

This is one of the articles in our latest Newsletter Crafting a Creative Curriculum: Planning for a Continuum of Learning . Read the whole newsletter here.

Learning is made up of all sorts of stimulations that force the brain to open up neural pathways that will eventually ensure that what we are learning remains in our long-term memory.  The curriculum offers us a wealth of experiences so that learners can make connections, build on their prior understanding and use the skills they have learnt in English and Maths across a range of contexts or subjects. The careful sequencing of the knowledge and skills learners will learn as they follow the National Curriculum is essential.

OFSTED clearly states in the Quality of Education judgement of their new framework that curriculum planning must demonstrate how content builds on prior learning and leads learners towards stated end points that define progress made. It is not always easy to see clear pathways for learning the knowledge. For instance, in History, the teaching of certain periods does not necessarily have to be chronological. What is taught in one year may focus on the Romans in the next the Tudors. If there is no synergy and no communication across the whole learning spectrum it is unlikely that a sequence of learning will emerge.  It is therefore essential that there is a collective and whole school map that defines the content of the foundation curriculum in primary school from early years to year 6, with an eye on what will be taught in year 7. In the secondary school the map needs to cover what will be taught in year 7,8, and 9 with an eye to what has already been taught in at least years 5 and 6. The content and requirements of GCSE or vocational specifications should also form an integral part of the planning process so that pupils can have an opportunity for exposure to relevant concepts during their key stage 3 experience.

This is quite difficult to manage and requires a degree of expertise in the understanding of the relevant subject in its entirety.  The place to start is with the aims of the National Curriculum programmes of study. If we focus on History, once again, the specification does not prescribe in any way a logical sequence to the learning. It is suggested that there should be a coherent, chronological narrative and the need to deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms (concepts) such as empire, civilisation, parliament and peasantry.  The programme of study suggests that key stage 1 pupils should ‘develop an awareness of the past’ in key stage 2 ‘they should note connections, contrasts and trends over time..’ In key stage 3 ‘Pupils should understand how different types of historical sources are used rigorously to make historical claims and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.’ It seems clear that part of the planning must be to look at concepts that are key to how the learning should be sequenced. If time is a concept then deepening our understanding of how where we are now has been carved by past historical events should shape the content of the planned curriculum. To take a generic example, an understanding of the concept of power has a very different meaning in History, Geography, Science or PE.  The concept however that power can be destructive, can drive change and can shape and form something new will aid understanding and allow for connections to be made by pupils across a range of learning experiences.

However we determine the sequence of knowledge acquisition, skills competence and conceptual understanding it is essential that subject specialists and leaders create opportunities for serious collaboration across year groups, in departments, across the curriculum divide and at points of transition.  We need to ask the questions,

  • ‘What are we sequencing and how can we create a continuum of learning that will be meaningful for all pupils?’
  • ‘How will pupils learn the curriculum and remember the important learning points that will support them in the next phase of education?’
  • ‘How can we identify and develop the skills pupils need to access knowledge that will ensure they deepen their learning over time?’
  • ‘What are the essential concepts that run through many subjects that will support pupils to recognise the connections that knit their learning together?’

The curriculum is not a strait jacket, it is a guide and gives those with subject expertise an opportunity to be innovative and create seamless learning that will knit together a rich vein of conceptual and subject specific vocabulary, opportunities to use a wide range of literacy, numeracy and the wider skills that lead to deep learning and high levels of progression. The key to this is positive collaboration, joint planning and a map of learning over time. We explore these ideas as part of our course for subject leaders and Heads of Departments.

For Senior and Curriculum leaders

This is one of the articles in our latest Newsletter Crafting a Creative Curriculum: Planning for a Continuum of Learning . Read the whole newsletter here.

Supporting you to design a high quality sequential and seamless curriculum

We know we are at the cutting edge of understanding curriculum design and delivery.  Our curriculum training is receiving such accolades because we have developed the course content, tools and resources we use over several years. They are linked to what we know are powerful and positive principles that deliver a continuum of learning allowing pupils to make connections, learn how to learn and deepen their understanding over time. We also know through in-depth sector led research how to inspire teachers to deliver innovative and dynamic content.

OFSTED prescribe in their new Handbook for School their requirements for a quality of education. The messages are, deliver seamless learning, build sequence to that learning and weave skills and knowledge in order to create breadth, depth and balance.  We have endorsed these messages over several years. We focus on how to make this happen, not just a review of what needs to happen.

There are several strands and messages that resonate strongly with the ethos and practice we sincerely believe delivers the most potent learning opportunities for all learners and educators whatever their starting point.

Save time by using some of our outstanding resources that we have developed to support schools to make changes where necessary but to also focus on what does work, what is positive and what is already making a difference. Yes, the curriculum is key, it is the product by which we educate, impart knowledge and develop skills for learning, life and the future. The accountability system has up to now created barriers to innovation, risk-taking and creativity for many leaders and managers. School leaders and their teams appear to have the green light to take the initiative and make changes so that they can ignite the passionate teachers, reignite their disillusioned teachers and create a culture that allows pupils to search for meaning and develop the skills that will allow them to think deeply, progress well and achieve their full potential.

We have a full suite of training linked to redefining the curriculum offer.

Empower senior and middle leaders to translate the vision into a coherent rationale for recognising what currently works well but also what needs to change to challenge and ensure breadth, depth and a continuum of learning.

Create subject leaders and experts that know how to lead their teams towards sequencing learning, building on prior learning and striving for the acquisition of knowledge and steady accomplishment of skills that develop the expert learner.

Craft a collaborative assessment policy that consistently delivers opportunities for professional conversations, motivational dialogue and the sharing of positive outcomes.

Focus on transition to make sure there is no break in the learning. Make each key stage count towards the next and be relentless in the pursuit of collaboration that shares pedagogy, learning outcomes and innovative approaches to curriculum planning.

Have a look at our suite of coaching coursesCoaching is by far the most successful CPD strategy a school can use. It is also a potent classroom pedagogy.  If the landscape is bewildering coaching can really help to change to focus and build new perspectives.

We continue to receive outstanding praise for the work we do, we pride ourselves in being without doubt the most experienced and the most well-researched training organisation for the teaching profession. Start your professional CPD journey with Learning Cultures.

Inspecting the Substance of Education – OFSTED publish their framework for future inspections

Inspecting the substance of education is at the heart of OFSTED’s new handbook, published on 14th May.  There are few changes to part one and these are essentially linked to slight differences to how schools and inspectors need to prepare for inspection.  There is however, one significant additional section that ripples through the whole document.  ‘Overarching approach to inspection’. There is a clear message.  All school leaders must create the culture that delivers a high-quality and connected curriculum where all staff work together to achieve the highest possible standards for their pupils.

As set out in the ‘preparation’ section (paragraphs 54–55), inspections under the EIF always begin with in-depth discussions with school leaders and curriculum leaders about the school’s curriculum.

Leaders will need to ensure they have the answers to questions such as,

  • ‘What are pupils expected to learn?’
  • ‘What are the end points that leaders want pupils to reach?’
  • ‘What are the key concepts that pupils need to understand and in what order will they learn them’?’
  • ‘What is the sequence of learning that will ensure pupils build and deepen their learning over time?’
  • ‘How is the behaviour and attitudes of pupils creating the right conditions for learning?’
  • How is the curriculum supporting pupils’ personal development in many diverse aspects of life?

During inspection, inspectors will look to gather first hand evidence of whether what is being delivered and the work pupils are producing matches the curriculum intent. Inspectors will work together with curriculum leaders, talk to individual teachers and pupils and look at pupils’ work (in its widest sense).  Inspectors will draw together the various strands of evidence from different pupils, classes, departments and year groups.  What they want to see is the connections between different pieces of evidence gathered by the inspection team.

OFSTED’s rationale for this approach is to gather evidence that will allow inspectors to focus on the overall quality of education that is on offer across subjects, year groups and classes.  Essentially, it requires all staff to work collaboratively to plan how to implement an inter-connected curriculum offer so that pupils build on prior learning, deepen their knowledge over time, retain that knowledge and have the skills that enable them to continue to access rich learning experiences within the core and the foundation subjects and in a wider learning context as well.

Now is the time to focus on how to ensure there are opportunities for collaborative and shared planning.  Staff need to work together within their teams or departments. They need to communicate and plan across subjects and topics so that teachers and pupils can see the connections and concepts that transcend the subject divides.  There are many component parts of a sequential curriculum that need to be woven together to create a tapestry of learning. Where this happens learning grows over time and ensures all pupils are able to make connections across their learning, deepen their subject and conceptual knowledge and become unconsciously competent in their use of the skills that help them access curriculum content and obtain the cultural capital they need to for life.

The Learning Cultures curriculum team have designed some highly effective tools and resources. They are already being used successfully in schools to create a cohesive and collaborative approach to ensuring all staff who have a responsibility for planning and delivering the curriculum are working together to interpret the stated intent and vision and translating it into a positive and exciting interconnected curriculum offer.

All our training is informed by research and a deep understanding of curriculum and how it should be developed to create high quality learning.  Join us to learn from our expert team.

For senior, middle and curriculum leaders


For curriculum and subject leaders

For Primary and secondary literacy and numeracy co-ordinators

For those involved in planning for assessment of the curriculum

Essential CPD to weave a learning culture through curriculum design and delivery

Work with the experts and ensure that all your staff including senior leaders, middle managers, subject specialists, teachers and support staff are all equipped and ready to deliver a seamless and sequential curriculum. Create a curriculum offer that is designed to embrace knowledge, focus on skills and identify cross-curricular and subject specific concepts that will allow pupils to see connections and deepen their learning over time.

If you haven’t already and many have, start with our Re-thinking the curriculum suite, we have places available throughout the summer and autumn terms.

Collaboration and positive professional dialogue are key to creating the right culture to ensure all staff build on what they do well and what needs to change. Creating a coaching culture is by far the best way to ensure all staff are working together using professional dialogue to share good practice, develop highly effective strategies for learning and achieve the school vision.  For leaders and managers developing the coaching skills that will empower others to deliver the vision, rationale and ambition for curriculum change is profound. Join us at one of our coaching events highlighted below.

For pastoral leaders who will have a pivotal role in assessing the impact of curriculum change on the well-being and learning potential of their pupils and for the SENCO where parity is high on the agenda as is a curriculum that meets the needs of pupils with special needs we have these tailor made training opportunities.

For Teachers and support staff coaching can have a significant impact on how well pupils can access the curriculum, deepen their learning, ensure that they become unconsciously competent in their use of skills and can access knowledge that will enter their long term memory as part of a process of deep learning over time. We have superb training opportunities with original and highly praised content.

Pivotal to ensuring that the vision, rationale and ambition is translated into positive outcomes for learners is ensuring that all staff know the part they play in the school’s journey towards creating successful outcomes. It is essential that professional development for all staff fosters confidence and provides opportunities for the sharing and cascading of good practice and the cascading of innovative learning opportunities. Ensuring the appraisal process and subsequent quality assurance processes will be a secure confirmation that the curriculum intent is translated into positive implementation and profound impact for all learners. Ensure performance management is linked to a professional development agenda using our training below.

Curriculum concepts, knowledge for sequential learning and the core and softer skills are at the heart of ensuring the curriculum weaves deep understanding and creates opportunities to build on prior learning and informs future learning.  Ensure all staff can see how the skills are essential to accessing knowledge and deepening learning over time.

All our courses are designed using the most up-to-date sector led research.  We have created a CPD offer that means all the materials and resources are available for you to use following on from the training so that they can be used to cascade yours and your colleagues learning to others.  Build a learning culture that delivers seamless learning with a curriculum packed with concepts, skills and knowledge using prestigious and expert training programmes.





Creating a culture that fosters professional dialogue and delivers a seamless curriculum

How do leaders in schools create the right culture that fosters constructive professional dialogue? Amanda Spielman from OFSTED puts the importance of professional dialogue at the heart of her last two major speeches, one to ASCL and the other to the Muslim Teachers’ Association.

“The Quality of Education judgement is central to putting the curriculum, the substance of education, back at the heart of professional dialogue in schools and colleges. It’s been great to hear that these conversations are emerging, even before the first inspections under this new framework.”

In order to create that school culture where all staff have the opportunity to engage in professional dialogue there needs to be a profound understanding of the difference between professional dialogue and a conversation.

Professional dialogue is one of the phrases that is completely embedded in all of our coaching programmes.  The essence of learning how to coach for those in education is in the development of a range of coaching attributes including highly effective listening skills, the ability to ask incisive, deep and rich questions and to have the confidence and the capacity to influence others to change.  Creating a CPD strategy that embraces coaching fosters professional dialogue and moves individuals away from simply using unstructured conversations.  It can have a profound impact on ensuring all staff are empowered to deliver a consistent, whole school approach to how the curriculum intent, ambition and rationale is translated into innovative planning, highly effective pedagogy and a shared understanding of the sequencing of content over time.

“OFSTED have the concept of dialogue at its core to establish, what  pupils are being taught? How well are they being taught? and, How is what they are being taught setting them up for the next stage in their education?”

The curriculum rationale and ambition that reveals its intent and how this is consistently implemented in every classroom and in many cross curricular contexts is at the heart of what OFSTED want to focus on as part of assessing ‘the substance of education’. Creating opportunities to deepen the skills of leaders, managers, teachers and support staff in how they use professional dialogue as opposed to simply having conversations will help to create the essential, consistent and seamless curriculum offer that builds on prior learning, deepens knowledge, enhances pupils’ skills over time and ensures assessment finds the gaps in understanding and informs future learning.

“The point of observation by inspectors is to see whether the school’s aims and intentions are being translated effectively into practice, ‘does it all come together as it should’.”

If, as Amanda Spielman talks about in her speeches, leaders, managers and teachers are to be an integral part of professional dialogue about the curriculum and how the intent is translated into highly effective delivery that has a demonstrable impact on learning over time; then all staff need to have the right skill set to be an equal participant in that constructive dialogue.  They will need to listen to what is being asked of them, be able to respond with incisive questions that are designed to draw out deeper meaning and have the vocabulary and deep pedagogical and subject expertise that will demonstrate their professional understanding of how the school is successfully delivering powerful learning for all pupils.

Have a look at Learning Cultures’ coaching courses, we have a training opportunity for all staff, for leaders, middle managers, subject specialists, teachers, support staff and SENCOs.

Join us at one of our highly praised curriculum courses, they have been so successful and we continue to update them as more information emerges from DfE and OFSTED.

Subject expertise and subject leadership are pivotal to the proposed changes and we have a new course researched and designed by our expert curriculum team.

Enhancing the Role of the Subject Leader – managing curriculum change that delivers sequential, seamless and deep knowledge and skills


Literacy and Numeracy: the essential threads that weave through a deep and rich curriculum

If you are reading this you are using one of the most important skills there is for learning.

It is essential as part of any review of the curriculum to identify the core and generic skills for learning that will open the door for all learners to access the information they need to build a sequential bank of knowledge.

Context provides the vehicle for mastery of the literacy and numeracy concepts that will help pupils to deepen their understanding and become unconsciously competent in their use of the skills they need to access knowledge within subjects and across the curriculum. Each subject expert needs to think carefully about the skills that allow pupils to deepen their understanding of the content of their subject.

Think about the skill of comprehension which is undoubtedly the most important skill for pupils to master in order that they can read and understand. This is carefully taught within English where the texts are used to help pupils to deepen their reading skills. Complex and rich texts are often an integral part of learning in other subjects. However, these texts are often written for the subject and take no account of the reading age of the pupil. Subject specialists, need to have the skills to help pupils decode the language, the vocabulary and the inference within those texts.

What about the skill of measuring in Maths? There are countless examples of where measurement is used as part of learning across the curriculum. Design and build, interpreting a map, making a cake, working out velocity and speed, conducting an experiment, defining cause and effect, comparing or contrasting, to name but a few.

The above two examples are specific skills linked to the teaching in English and in Maths.  There are also the concepts and generic skills that need consideration.  Consider the concept of space or shape, scale or time. All have their place as part of deciphering knowledge in many contexts across the curriculum. Curriculum planning must ensure there are opportunities for pupils to use different vocabulary, understand the method or the process and be able to see how their learning in one subject relates to learning in another one.

The curriculum is not a set of isolated, individual subjects but a tapestry of learning where the concepts, skills and knowledge are interwoven to create the right set of circumstances for pupils to learn and deepen their understanding. It must ensure that knowledge is retained within pupils’ long-term memory and set the context for future challenge.

The key to creating this woven fabric of knowledge and skills is to create opportunities for departments to work together to identify the age-related skills and knowledge within their subject and sequence the content so that there is seamless learning from one year to the next.  There should also be opportunities for cross curricular planning where teachers and their subject leaders can identify where the concepts, skills and knowledge overlap or are re-inforced.  Where teachers have a profound understanding of the wider curriculum they can share with their pupils where similar or the same knowledge is part of learning in other subjects.

Start by reflecting on how much time is given to curriculum planning, who is involved and to what extent there are opportunities for cross-phase, cross-curricular and cross-year collaboration to ensure depth, breadth and balance. Then encourage teams to to collectively piece together a curriculum map that will create the evidence that pupils build on prior learning, deepen their understanding and can develop the skills that will help them to access and master ever increasingly complex and challenging subject content.

We have developed a suite of training to support schools in their quest for curriculum cohesion.

For senior leaders and curriculum managers we look at the strategic vision and consider how to make sure we keep what works well and what needs to change:

For subject leaders we have a new course built on recent research and using our own expertise to look in detail at how to sequence a learning curriculum that builds on prior learning and deepens knowledge over time.

Research suggests that transition creates a dip in learning of anything up to 40%.  We have two highly regarded training courses that look at how to ensure positive academic as well as pastoral transition focuses on curriculum cohesion and building on prior learning.

Specific to those with responsibility for embedding literacy and numeracy across the curriculum we have developed the following outstanding training programmes. They have been part of our repertoire for several years. Our messages haven’t changed, the change of emphasis on curriculum intent, implementation and impact mirror what we already know works and delivers deep and challenging learning.

Weave your own tapestry curriculum using the resources and strategies that we know work.