Raising the Curriculum Profile – A whole school strategy that delivers inclusive and deep learning

The publication of the phase 3 findings of curriculum research from OFSTED leaves us in no doubt that all schools will need to reflect on their current curriculum design and raise their curriculum profile to ensure that all those involved in teaching and learning are working together to deliver an inclusive curriculum that ensures parity for all groups of learners and provides evidence that pupils successfully learn the curriculum and deepen their knowledge over time.

Amanda Spielman has described the change of emphasis as ‘an evolution and not a revolution’. Most schools have created a curriculum offer linked to the changes necessary as part of implementing the new National Curriculum in 2014 and much of that should be the starting point for any changes or innovations necessary to meet a new framework for September 2019.

A list of 25 indicators of curriculum quality emerge from the research.  They give us useful benchmarks to use to assess what is currently working well in school and what will need to be strengthened, changed or re-designed altogether.  There are four major areas for consideration,

  1. The role of the SLT including curriculum leaders is to ensure that the rationale for the curriculum design is shared across the school. In developing this there needs to be careful consideration given to knowledge progression and the sequencing of concepts in and across subjects.  The delivery of the curriculum has to be equitable for all groups and enhance pupils’ capacity to access the full curriculum. Leaders, including governors should, as part of the planning process, build in opportunities for review and quality assurance. There needs to be a commitment from SLT to ensure ongoing professional development so that curriculum expertise develops across the school.
  2. The role of the middle leader, phase leaders, heads of department, the SENDCO and heads of key stages is pivotal.  All middle leaders need to be involved in the dissemination and delivery of the vision for ensuring the curriculum offers parity for all groups of learners and meets and exceeds the standards set out in the National Curriculum. Reading is prioritised in every subject and Maths and numeracy are preconditions of success across the curriculum. Middle leaders collaborate to focus on knowledge progression and the sequencing of concepts in their own subject and in the context of learning in other subjects, projects or themes.  Effective CPD ensures middle leaders have the knowledge, expertise and practical skill to design and implement a curriculum.
  3. Teaching and learning teams including Teaching Assistants and support staff plan how the curriculum vision is put into practice in the classroom.  Working closely with their line managers, phase leaders or heads of department there is an imperative to ensure curriculum coverage allows pupils to access the content and make progress through the curriculum. Teachers need to prioritise reading as part of all subject learning and highlight how pupils access knowledge through the development of their literacy skills and their ability to use Maths and numeracy to deepen understanding where number applies in subjects other than Mathematics. The subject or curriculum team need to demonstrate that they are working together to create a model of curriculum progression and contribute to the development of curriculum maps that ensure sufficient coverage across a subject over time. Assessment of the learning is designed thoughtfully to shape future learning, is reliable and consistent and ensures pupils progress well.
  4. Ensuring the right expertise for all staff in school is essential.  Ongoing professional development needs to be an integral part of the planning and implementation process.  How to do this with tight budgets and possible capacity issues is most definitely a constraint.  Much of what is highlighted in the 25 indicators and summarised above is closely aligned to the approach we have developed over several years.  Essentially, what is being asked for is highly effective communication, collaboration and cohesion where all staff know the part they play in designing, implementing and assessing the curriculum. Using a coaching approach to planning a CPD strategy will provide a cost effective and sustainable model that will allow the professional conversations, shared learning and opportunities to deepen the knowledge required to enable curriculum expertise to develop across the curriculum.

Our Curriculum courses are highly rated and continually updated to provide you with all the resources you need to prepare for change,

We have a range of coaching courses that will provide all your staff with the expertise and professional dialogue to foster the sharing and cascading of good and outstanding practice that will ensure you can use the learning from our training to develop your own in-house cost effective and sustainable CPD programmes.

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