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National Curriculum

Cross-curriculum dimensions

What are dimensions?

The are seven cross-curriculum dimensions: identity and cultural diversity; healthy lifestyles; community participation; enterprise; global dimension and sustainable development; technology and media; creativity and critical thinking.

The publication cross curriculum dimensions a planning guide for schools can be downloaded from the key actions section of this page, together with planning tools for dimensions.

To achieve the aims of the curriculum, young people need to experience opportunities to understand themselves and the world in which they live. Cross-curriculum dimensions provide important unifying areas of learning that help young people make sense of the world and give education relevance and authenticity. They reflect the major ideas and challenges that face individuals and society.

Dimensions can add a richness and relevance to the curriculum experience of young people. They can provide a focus for work within and between subjects and across the curriculum as a whole, including the routines, events and ethos of the school.

Using dimensions

Once you are clear about what you want to achieve, you can make decisions about the best ways to successfully integrate the dimensions across your curriculum. Think about the entire planned learning experience. This includes lessons, events, routines, extended hours, out of school learning, locations and environment, as well as qualifications including new GCEs, GCSEs and Diplomas.

Build the dimensions into your curriculum in a way that reflects the specific needs, interests and context of your learners. Possible approaches that have been tried by schools include:

  • developing the dimensions through subjects, with links across subjects where there are common issues or areas of learning

  • developing the ethos of the school around a dimension

  • creating compelling learning experiences that focus on a particular dimension or combination of dimensions

  • thematic days, activity weeks or events that focus on a particular dimension are combined with lessons

  • activities that are integrated into the routines of the school

  • learning outside the classroom

  • using experts from outside of the school to stimulate discussion and debate in assemblies or with specific groups of learners.

Curriculum case studies

key stage 3 pupils at desk, one reading a piece of paper, the other writing

Bringing the world into school

Hornsey School is raising its pupils’ awareness of global...

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