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National Curriculum

Question 2: How do we organise learning?



With a clear vision of what you want your curriculum to achieve for your learners you can make decisions about the best ways to organise learning. A curriculum that has maximum impact for learners will use coherent themes to link learners’ experiences across the school. This includes their experiences in individual lessons, the learning approaches they encounter, the routines of the school day, school events, out-of-hours activities and the school environment and ethos.

Schools have found these activities useful in helping them to identify the implications of their vision for the organisation of their curriculum, and the types of learning activities and experiences they need to have in place.

Turning vision into reality

If … then …

How can you link what you say you want to achieve for your learners with how to actually achieve it? One approach that schools are finding helpful is the use of ‘if’ and ‘then’ statements.

Look again at the mind map from Bridge High School outlining their vision of success (resource sheet B). If they want their learners to achieve those things then what learning experiences do they need to build into their new curriculum?

Bridge High School felt they needed to make their curriculum more interesting and decided that opportunities for in-depth study and more practical learning experiences were the way to go. You can read the details of what they chose to do in the curriculum design model.

Think about your vision and write a list of the experiences and opportunities you need to build into your new secondary curriculum.

How can we build these opportunities and experiences into our curriculum?

To be effective, all the learning experiences you have identified will need an appropriate allocation of time, equipment, space and staffing. You will also need to make sure that the most appropriate teaching and assessment approaches are used.

Schools have found that resource sheet C helps them reflect on their current curriculum and how they might organise their resources and teaching and assessment approaches more effectively to help them better meet their aims. They use it to identify where they are now on the continuum and where they need to be in order to achieve their vision for their learners.

Having identified the organisational changes you want to make, can you build a picture of what you need to do to bring them about?

Opportunities of the new secondary curriculum

The new secondary curriculum programmes of study have been written to a common format. The programmes of study have key concepts that outline the big ideas in the subject and key processes that highlight the essential skills that students will need in order to make progress and achieve in that subject. Some key concepts and processes appear in more than one subject, making it easier to see links between them. Curriculum opportunities in each of the programmes of study also identify what can be done to enhance learners’ engagement with the subject and highlight the potential for cross-curricular links.

When you first look at the programmes of study you could encourage staff to look across the subjects to highlight where there are overlaps and where there are elements that need to be kept distinct. This will help to inform your decisions about how you allocate your resources.



Working through these activities should have helped you identify the changes you might need to make to the design and organisation of your curriculum to help more of your learners achieve your aims. You should also have considered the implications for the types of learning experience you will need to build into your new secondary curriculum as well as teaching and assessment approaches used within it.

Use resource sheet F to record the strengths of your current curriculum and the features that you want to build into your new curriculum to make it more effective in meeting your curriculum aims. 

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