I created a staff audit about the curriculum last term and had some worrying results. It was from the view of a subject leader and was incredibly useful.
Here are the questions. Now of course the results only really help my school but what if there are problems in certain areas this could give some ideas.
As best as you can choose subject leaders who are interested in the subjects that you are giving them. As a teacher, pick a subject you too are interested in. But be careful… there are some big subjects in the pile to pick from and some of these can be extremely daunting. In my second year of teaching I was given PE. I loved playing sport but couldn’t organise anything to save my life when I was 22 years old. There are also teachers that wished they’d never picked art because there subject leadership is used to tidy up the art cupboard than to improve the standards of art. Not fun!
The Ofsted Inspection Framework is extremely useful. If you look at the standards that we as schools should follow then you will know what standards in your subject are.
- the quality of teaching, learning and assessment
- personal development, behaviour and welfare
- outcomes for pupils
- effectiveness of leadership and management.
For example, an outstanding school would be able to show:
- Pupils love the challenge of learning and are resilient to failure. They are curious, interested learners who seek out and use new information to develop, consolidate and deepen their knowledge, understanding and skills. They thrive in lessons and also regularly take up opportunities to learn through extra-curricular activities.
If your subject encompasses this, then the standards are outstanding.
Please, please, please read the National Curriculum. Even if your school comes away from it every once in a while, it is worth knowing what everyone else is talking about.
I had to write the curriculum overview myself but once staff have got their heads around their subject they should be able to contribute their ideas to the overview. Staff meetings where subject leaders can talk to others from different year groups should help with gathering ideas. They get the opportunity to share their subject with other members of staff.
It is always worth leadership supporting staff with this as part of a training programme. Once this is in place and subject leaders are aware, building a culture of coaching and mentoring is amazingly supportive. In my seventh year of teaching, I had a second year teacher observe a lesson and give me feedback. The confidence that he had in doing this and my openness in receiving this feedback was helpful in improving my own practice as he could see things that I hadn’t. Working together is much more beneficial than working alone.
It is important that at the beginning of the year the vision of the school is shared with all staff. From Day 1, all staff should be aware of the aims of the school and how we are going to do this. Strategic decisions need to be shared otherwise no one will be on the journey with us.
Look at a range of websites, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook to get ideas to share with your team. It doesn’t have to be expensive to get fun ideas to get your children into your subject. In fact most good things are free and you’ll find that your local schools will work together and share ideas.
This fantastic science task that was completed across the school from Early Years to Year 6 was a great idea that was found for free.
There are websites that support in the ideas for SMSC and British Values, such as…
Also if you use a curriculum programme such as Cornerstones, you may find examples for your subject.
If all else fails, other schools have done the work so get on that search engine and get looking. You’ll find lots.