Blog Archive

Friday 1 May 2020

Curriculum Development - it's forever, but not how you think!

All departments are heavily in the midst's of curriculum reviews to ensure we have departmental curriculums that are framed around our whole school principles. These are aimed at ensuring our curriculum is ambitious, knowledge rich, culturally broad and inline with National Curriculum principles. 

The strongest curriculums are born from a process or 'discussion and disagreement' where 'discourse leads to distinction' (Rosalind Walker 2020). I stumbled across this wonderful blog post, after Mark Enser (a leading light in the Geography teacher world) shared it on twitter. For me, it summed up superbly the reasons and rationale behind curriculum reviews and redesign. Never should we say our curriculum is complete, it is always a work in progress as we should be debating and discussing with one another how it should grow and evolve. 

As Tom Sherrington and Oliver Caviglioli's recent research states 'Knowledge is empowering, unlocking doors, providing a foundation for achieving success. The more students know, the more they can learn' (Teaching Walkthrus 2020). This ties so specifically with our Mangotsfield aims to develop a knowledge rich curriculum - but how can this be done? I would like to refer back to this post from a year ago by Alex Quigley ( He summarises that we must first:
1. Identify the invaluable knowledge we want students to know - if we strip away time from our subjects, what are the immoveable pieces of knowledge they have to know?
2. Consider how we are sequencing the learning of this new knowledge - i.e. spaced learning and retrieval practice.
3. Make sure that time is given to developing 'networks' between the powerful knowledge -  considering how we think and how we use that knowledge to commit it to long term memory.

In a nutshell, whilst we're deep in our curriculum reviews, let's not lose sight of the discussion elements that will make our curriculums more robust. Don't be afraid to debate, disagree and argue - this professional discussions build stronger curriculums in the long run.

If you would like to read the fantastic article that inspired this post further then please click on this link. A summary by myself does not do justice to the eloquence of this article:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Ruth for capturing so well your key takeaways from these readings. I look forward to hearing the feedback from our Middle Leadership team who are currently all reading Sherrington & Cavigloli's section on curriculum in their recent book.