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Starter for 10: Curriculum Development

Starter for 10: Curriculum Development - Aidan Severs Consulting Education Consultant

On the face of it, curriculum development and design appears simple. All you have to do is work out what needs teaching and in what order, right? Well, yeah, kind of. But to have a really excellent curriculum there's much more to it than that. I often get called to help leaders to untangle their curriculum development work and have seen plenty of curriculum documents that have tied their creators up in knots!

Over the years I've tried to provide school leaders, and inded anyone involved in curriculum development, with some easy-to-access, simple-to-read, freely-available blog posts to help them with the onerous task of developing curriculum - a job that's akin to painting the Forth Bridge.

If you're currently developing your curriculum, or an aspect of it, here's a few pointers for getting it right:

First of all you need to be thinking at a high level about what your curriculum needs to achieve, and how you are going to ensure that all your subsequent work does the job. Start by thinking about consistency, correct coverage and continuity by reading this blog post: The 3 Cs of Curriculum Design:

Then there's another C for you to think about: concepts. A concept-based curriculum can take teaching and learning to the next level, really helping pupils to build their knowledge, and to remember it as well: Curriculum How To: Developing A Concept-Based Curriculum:

The temptation, especially when dveloping a primary curriculum, is to make links between subjects where none exist. For some principles around how to avoid making those tenuous links, have a read of this: The Anne Robinson Curriculum: No Weak Links Allowed:

Once you've thought about the concepts you want to teach and how you might make strong links between content, you will want to start thinking about the content that will help to teach those concepts. It can get a bit tricky when you start to think about disciplinary knowledge, and procedural knowledge, and so on. This blog post makes it all clearer: What Are All The Different Types Of Knowledge? (part 1):

And once you've got to grips with the different types of knowledge you'll want to think about how to balance them - how much of one kind is needed, and how does that differ in each subject? Not to worry, this blog post has got your back: Knowledge vs. Skills: What's More Important?:

Lots of primary curricula feature units that centre around an overarching, or big, question. If that's the route that you want to take, have a read of this. It's possible to ask good questions and bad questions, and of course, you'll want to ask the good sort: Curriculum: What Is The Best Kind Of 'Big Question'?:

All of that, and you've not even got to really deciding exactly what it is you're going to teach yet. Well, this next part is crucial. The way you write your curriculum statements can be make or break - the difference between a teacher teaching the right stuff and a teacher teaching the wrong stuff. Check this one out before you embark on this mammoth task: How To Write Good Curriculum Statements (And Why I'm Not Calling Them Objectives):

And, no curriculum work should get too far down the road without a lot of thought being given to the most vulnerable and needy learners in your school. Make sure you're thinking about pupils with SEND right from the outset: SEND Provision Across The Curriculum: Start and End Points:

And, if you can see that attempting all the above without the appropriate support, help is at hand - that's where I come in. If you'd like to find out a bit more about why you should get me in to help with your curriculum development, have a read of this: How I Work With Leaders To Develop Curriculum:

Then, once it's all done, and the plans are all nicely documented and printed out, ready to go, you'll need to turn your mind to this, because the journey's only really just begun: From Paper to Practice: Beyond Curriculum Intent, and Into Implementation (Part 1):

If you know that going at it alone is too daunting, or if you know that you need to move things along at a quicker pace, get in touch with Aidan using the contact details on this page or by using the links below:

If all you need is a second pair of eyes on the curriculum development that you've already done, Aidan can help with that too:

Starter for 10: Curriculum Development - Aidan Severs Consulting Education Consultant


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Aidan Severs Consulting Education Consultant

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