Kick up the Curriculum!
In every class you visit, you will see some wonderful learning taking place but if I have to sit through one more assembly on The Great Fire of London, The Romans, The Egyptians or Victorian Childhood and toys, I swear I will scream!
Last July, during our end of year Senior Leadership Team strategic meeting, we decided that it was time for a change. Our teaching standards are excellent, as are our outcomes, but it was agreed that although we encourage our children to take risks in the classroom, we were not doing this as educators. And so Kick Up The Curriculum was born.
In our final staff meeting of the year, every teacher within the school was challenged to look at their planning and ‘throw out’ something that had lost its spark or had been in place for a while. What replaced it needed to be exciting, innovative and something they had never done before. Teachers were encouraged to depart from the National Curriculum and take a risk on something totally new. They were assured that some may be more successful than others but that all successes or failures were learning points for us all.
Initial looks of fear and uncertainty began to transform into exchanges of ideas, sparks of interest, laughs, and before we knew it, a flurry of activity and enthusiasm across the school. Some of the units taught were:
- A Brief History of Time
- Computational Thinking
- British Mammals
- Trade and Economics
The enthusiasm of the teachers quickly transferred to the children and, before we knew it, the school was awash with excitement. This project resulted in us talking as educators as never before, researching and discussing effective teaching, evaluating successes and failures, suggesting ideas and celebrating each other’s success on a scale previously unseen. Pupil outcomes and engagement have exceeded all expectations and teacher confidence and motivation has grown immeasurably.
Since introducing this initiative, we have been visited by several schools who are keen to use this initiative in their own schools. As independent schools, we are in a wonderful position to deliver a world-leading curriculum, free from the constraints of the National Curriculum and Ofsted. To be ‘good’ you must tick all of the boxes. To be truly ‘outstanding’ you need the confidence to set the rulebook aside and provide the curriculum that the children deserve.