Curriculum Coherence for Primary Schools

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About this course

This course contains videos and additional resources to support schools as they revisit the curriculum.

The videos can be used either by individuals or within department and staff meetings. They are divided into sections so that they can be accessed as and when needed.

What this course contains:

• Watch the free introduction and then join for the full course now.

• The course contains over 15 videos accompanied by course notes. These cover topics such as cognitive science, concepts and demanding texts; sources of support for those leading the curriculum; knowledge organisers, vocabulary and gathering evidence of impact.

• Additional resources such as curriculum prompts, subject association links, overviews of subjects and links to high quality curriculum resources such as 100 objects in history.

• You can either work through the sections or click on any topic at any point to access the video and additional information.

We know that there will be a renewed focus on the curriculum in the inspection handbook from September 2019.

There are three elements when reviewing the curriculum:

One: what is the vision that leaders have for the curriculum in their schools? What is it intended to do? Leaders need to be able to talk about the vision and the purpose of the curriculum in their setting. In other words, what are the school’s aims for the curriculum, what is the overall knowledge and understanding to be gained at each key stage?

Two: there is an expectation that leaders know how the curriculum in their school is being implemented. How does the big picture of the curriculum translate into plans and what does this look like in the classroom? This is a more detailed narrative than simply naming the subjects on the timetable.

Three: leaders willneed to know the impact that the curriculum is having on pupils’ knowledge and understanding. This has implications for how that information is gathered. The key question is that leaders need ‘to know’ but this does not necessarily mean they need to gather that data and information solely through numbers on a spreadsheet.

Why this focus on the curriculum? The research has found that across the sector there has not been a coherent narrative of the purpose of the curriculum.

The research has also found that there has been a narrowing of the curriculum in many primary and secondary schools. This is because priorities have been distorted. This is not necessarily anyone’s fault. It is rather that in the pursuit of great grades, the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum has sometimes been sidelined.

And then there has been an over focus on exam preparation. In primary there have been many schools whose main priority has been SATS preparation in upper key stage two and year 6 in particular. This has happened for understandable reasons: schools want their pupils to do well. But the problem is that by narrowing the curriculum to focus on SATS practice, not only are pupils missing out on a wider curriculum, but over practice is not effective. So, in order to prepare pupils better for their reading tests for example, it is better to expose them to plenty of texts and stories in the wider curriculum rather than masses of comprehension and inference practice.

In secondary, on the other hand, a narrowing of the curriculum in order to prepare for GCSEs has meant that some pupils are not studying art or one of the humanities after year 8.

And it is for these reasons that the inspectorate will be asking questions about how the sector provides the richest curriculum for the greatest number of pupils.

In the next session we will look at these elements in more detail.
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Mary Myatt combines encyclopedic knowledge of schools with crystal-clear description of curriculum principles – a must-read for all those involved in improving education.

‘This book has been invaluable and really balances theory, critical argument and practical applications for how we can achieve this in our curriculum planning and subject CPD.’

Aja Cortizo, Professional development Team Lead, Glyn School

‘This is exactly what I needed to read before the team goes to rewrite the curriculum this term. It is definitely a must read to completely rethink the curriculum because it covers all aspects to truly ensure ‘high challenge and low threat’ across all subjects. I’m so excited about redesigning the teaching and learning to ensure children are engaged and inspired.’

ISBN-13: 978-1911382836