“The curriculum is the totality of experiences which are planned for children and young people through their education, wherever they are being educated. It includes the ethos and life of the school as a community, curriculum areas and subjects; interdisciplinary learning: and opportunities for personal achievement.”
Okay, so I didn’t think up that quote myself, but I was able to think about the idea that
“the curriculum is provision of planned educational and enriching experiences which prepare young people to make informed choices for their futures”.
Not bad for just being put on the spot to respond to being asked “what is the curriculum?”.
If my values include; respect, equality (of opportunity), excellence, success for all, achievement for all, happiness and moral purpose, then my principles in relation to shaping and design of my school’s curriculum must reflect these.
The principles need to include;
- meeting the needs of all children, suitability
- ease of transitions for children into adulthood
- preparation for adult life, academia but not just that also for employability and ‘personas’ that can fit in any society
- ensuring that they allow the best value, the best results for children with courses which are highly credible
Pathways have a place as long as they are balanced with transparency with parents, the governing body and staff and studnets. As a head of a sponsored school, I would find it a challenge to respond solely to requests or demands on me for a curriculum that serves to fulfil the motivation and ego of the sponsor. Being a stubborn-minded person when needed, I am pretty sure this would lead to certain clashes and so I need to really consider, when the time comes, whether this would work for me in any school and if I would be prepared to be the head of a sponsor school. Either by applying to one, or in the unfortunate eventuality of this being proposed to me.
I don’t believe in change for change’s sake however, I am of the opinion that every child should have access to certain experiences, subjects or ideas they would not necessarily have. Why shouldn’t children from postcodes such as NW10 and NW2 and SW6 not go skiing or play chess, experience horse-riding or even play backgammon at break-time?
Research has shown how music acquisition leads to an enhanced ability to learn and persevere so it would be perhaps an ideal of mine to ensure that every child in my school had the opportunity to experience 1-2-1 music tuition to achieve a credible level of musical talent in any particular instrument of their choice.
One of the best sessions of the weekender was the chance to respond to the ultimate curriculum question for headship interview:
“What is your vision for the curriculum in the 21st century? Given the government’s agenda, the needs of employers and our freedom as an academy from the national curriculum, how would you ensure a curriculum appropriate for the 21st century?”
An ideal response would include; starting with clarification of having 3 elements; moral purpose; 21st century reference and preparation and would consider, includion, alignment to values, what the demands of the 21st century are, for instance preparing our young for jobs not yet created and building on the foundation of an existing curriculum which would better meet the needs of the students in the given school in terms of skills and knowledge and experiences.
The moral purpose remains the same and at the forefront of my mind, securing good outcomes to allow students to have social mobility and choice and it can begin with good curriculum planning supported by high quality teaching for every child.