Outstanding pedagogy, inspiring curriculum content and a commitment to ensuring every learner achieves their full potential is what every leader in education wants to see happen on their watch. So, let’s seize the initiative through carefully looking at what Amanda Spielman is saying and change the emphasis away from planning for results to planning for curriculum breadth and balance and creating a continuum of learning that deepens knowledge, builds skills and fosters creativity. The data, the positive results and the highly energised school staff and pupils will follow.
The political charge surrounding OFSTED’s foray into how the curriculum should be delivered is already in full swing. Many commentators are having their say, some negative, some positive, most sceptical. It is, in my opinion, the most welcome and pragmatic reflection on what needs to change in order for schools to win back the autonomy to use the talent they have to develop a curriculum that meets the needs of all their pupils.
Amanda Spielman talks about bringing back the ‘substance of education’. I am sure all leaders of education including myself would agree that it never went away except in the fact that in order to keep our jobs and our sanity we have had to shape strategy towards data driven outcomes linked to SATs and GCSE results. Free us from accountability regimes linked simply to one quality control measure at the end of primary and secondary schooling and the substance or whatever we would prefer to call it would blossom and grow like the pupils who receive that education.
This is an opportunity for all school leaders and their teams to review their curriculum and ask the questions:-
- What are our intentions in relation to learning outcomes for all pupils?
- How do we plan to ensure that all learners can build skills and access knowledge across all their learning?
- How well do we build on prior learning to deepen knowledge and understanding?
- How collaboratively do we build a cohesive and seamless curriculum that weaves the skills through the development of core and foundation or subject learning?
- How can we measure impact and have the evidence of successful outcomes that are qualitative as well as quantitative?
- How will we ensure all staff have the skills, knowledge and resources to build on what they already do well, embrace change and have the confidence to innovate?
The above is linked to what is deemed outstanding practice from national and international research. It also echoes the current messages from OFSTED. What is being said so far makes sense. Start the conversation and reflect on current and future curriculum intent, implementation and impact linked to the questions above and positive change will ensue regardless of what OFSTED or policy makers say.
Our training programmes focus on how you can achieve a cohesive, collaborative, skills focused and knowledge rich curriculum offer that will lead to successful outcomes for all learners. The two courses below are a starting point for all senior and middle leaders with responsibility for curriculum design.
- Re-defining the Primary Curriculum – Content, cohesion and purpose
- Re-defining the Secondary Curriculum – Defining purpose, designing content and delivering impact
Then put coaching at the heart of your CPD strategy and develop a culture of collaboration and structured learning conversations and watch positive change create outstanding futures. Have a look at our Coaching in Education courses.