Designing the Stopsley Curriculum
In 2019, we decided to review our school curriculum, to ensure that it was tailored to meet the needs of the children of Stopsley and accurately reflected the school’s vision and values.
The National Curriculum states that each school should have:
'A school curriculum [that] comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.
Throughout its design, we used academic research to guide our thinking. One of the strongest messages that resonated with us was that: “Schools need to focus on developing Character Skills alongside improving their pupil’s academic attainment. It is not a question of either/or. Schools need to be doing both” (Social Mobility Commission Report 2013).
Defining our vision and aims.
We started by asking everyone in our community, staff, governors, parents and children what do we want children to leave with from their time at our school?' We focused on specific attributes, which fed into our vision statement.
Preparing our children with skills for later life
According to a report by former US Secretary of Education Richard Riley…
"The top 10 in demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet."
We knew that it was imperative that our Curriculum prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life and that with the fast changing world in which we live, that a focus on key skills was needed.
“When we talk about education in this country our first thoughts turn exclusively to exam results and academic achievement… if our education system focused on the 'soft skills', young people would leave school better equipped to face life and its challenges” (All Party Parliamentary Group April 2014)
Our research identified the following skills and attributes most highly desired by industry leaders:
- Flexibility and Adaptability
- A good mix of qualifications, practical skills and personal qualities
- Good interpersonal skills
- Ability to solve problems and create new ideas
- Take responsibility and show initiative
- Apply technology purposefully
(QCA Futures Study 2006)
Our curriculum needed to be designed to develop and refine these skills throughout the children's time here at Stopsley in a structure that delivers much more than simply a set of subject based skills. “Content is not the heart land of the curriculum. The centre to which everything in it must always be returning is the sort of people we want our students to become” An Aims Based Curriculum (M Reiss J White, p46)
Now that we had identified the the skills and character we want to develop, we needed to find the correct vehicles to use to deliver the curriculum through. We looked at many different possibilities and decided that linking learning to the Global Development Goals enabled us to do this in the most effective way possible for our children and encompassed the following statement from renown educator Guy Claxton perfectly: "If the core purpose of education is to give young people a useful apprenticeship in real-life learning, then the kinds of learning they do in school has to match the kinds of learning that people do in the wider world'" (What’s the point of school?” p91).