It’s been a really energising week. We can finally get our teeth into developing a curriculum in detail. Whilst we have the parameters of a timetable and subjects, what we will teach, in what sequence and why will we do it this way, is at the heart of any school. The curriculum gives the school its purpose. Sometimes schools can fall into the trap of narrowing their curriculum and then teachers are encouraged to teach to ‘the test’. There is a lively debate amongst educators as to the ideal curriculum – knowledge based or skills based, or are these intrinsically linked with no real value added by false categorisation? Also what is the thinking behind some schools moving disadvantaged students on to a stripped back curriculum, perpetuating their disadvantage? A strong curriculum in depth, breadth and reach is the starting point. A rich curriculum can deliver exam success provided it is implemented through well taught and appropriately sequenced content, thoughtfully designed assessment practice and an appropriate model of progression. So perhaps after the endless months of wrangling over the school being built, you can understand my delight at being able to move forward to discuss what we teach and when, how much depth at what stage and which subject ideas we will link together. Then we move on to what resources to allocate, which way to teach and how to make sure all students are able to access each new concept, construct or fact. We are designing a curriculum with clear intent, to be implemented consistently and which will continually evaluate the knowledge and skills students have gained against expectations.
I have also been developing the teacher recruitment arrangements for the new school. I find this far more energising than discussions about battery versus radio controlled clocks for classrooms! We have a list of potential teaching staff who have expressed their interest over the past months and we are beginning the process of contacting them as well as finalising the job specifications and personal specifications. Vacancy adverts will run just after Christmas for key teaching staff then I’ll begin support staff recruitment in the Spring. The logistics involved with observing candidates teaching Year 7 students could be a stretch but I intend to reach out to our partner secondary schools and see if I can run that aspect of the recruitment programme at their schools.
Finally DON’T MISS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE. It’s tomorrow, the 31st October. Make sure you aren’t haunted by the spectre of lost opportunity!