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National Curriculum

Designing your curriculum

The curriculum should be seen in its widest sense as the entire planned learning experience. This includes formal lessons as well as events, routines, and learning that takes place outside the classroom. The new curriculum recognises that the ethos of the school and approaches to assessment, teaching and learning and behaviour also represent powerful learning experiences for young people. This big picture of the curriculum is explored in the principles of curriculum design and represents an important starting point in planning. To support schools design activities provides a series of tools built around three curriculum questions. The case studies section of the site illustrates how schools have designed exciting learning for their students and should be used in conjunction with the design activities.

If schools are to achieve the intended outcomes of this new curriculum for learners then it is important that schools design a curriculum which is coherent and suited to the needs of their learners in their local context. The national curriculum now provides flexibility to achieve this. There are still national statutory requirements, however. The curriculum aims and subject programmes of study are statutory together with the general requirements outlined in the about the secondary curriculum section.

The navigation bar on this website highlights the key elements of curriculum – aims, personal development, skills, cross curriculum dimensions, subjects and assessment. Curriculum design involves weaving these elements together  to create a coherent curriculum which makes sense to learners, is relevant, engaging and motivating, and enables learners to make good progress and transitions throughout their time in school.

Guidance and support on the principles of curriculum design.

Resources and activities to support curriculum design and planning.

Curriculum case studies

Pupils construct three-dimensional object using pasta and marshmallows

Bringing skills to life

Honywood Community Science School in Essex has found that...

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