Curriculum thinking: reading and resources for staff

Are you undertaking curriculum planning or considering a curriculum re-fresh? Or just want a better understanding of what is meant by curriculum? Use these resources as a starting point

For state schools in England, a renewed focus on the curriculum has been kickstarted by the Ofsted inspection framework. The quality of education judgement is based around:

  • intent – is the curriculum ambitious and coherently planned?
  • implementation – does the teaching help learners remember content and integrate new knowledge into larger concepts?
  • impact – do learners achieve well, and are they ready for the next stage of their education?

Find out what we have learned so far about the inspection framework in practice.

Unpacking the curriculum

Are you considering a curriculum re-think? Headteacher Josephine Smith shares a seven-step subject review process for secondary schools, while teaching and learning director Tom Fay provides a question framework to ensure all staff are involved.

See more on curriculum management.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

For many schools, evaluating the curriculum in terms of inclusion and diversity is a key part of the re-think process. For example, how do you go about challenging gender stereotypes? How do you build discussions about race and racism into the curriculum? What does the research evidence tell us about the best ways to ensure all pupils realise their potential

On the blog, you can follow inclusion lead Aldaine Wynter's journey in developing and embedding an anti-racism strategy, and find out how exploring the notions of core and hinterland knowledge has caused Ashmi Morjaria to consider what she doesn't know. 

Leading a curriculum team

The role of a subject leader or head of department is an exciting but challenging one. You need to lead and inspire, manage people, get paperwork done, monitor quality of teaching – and ensure you continue to do a good job in your own classroom.

To help with this juggling act, download the head of department year planner, primary middle leader year planner or independent school head of department planner.

Use the middle leaders skills audit to assess your strengths and areas for development, then select relevant units from the middle leadership essentials training course.

Preparing for inspection

If you’re a teacher, subject leader or senior leader and expecting a call from ISI or Ofsted inspectors, these resources will come in useful.

See more on inspections.

Planning for the future

All state schools must have a careers policy in place, which outlines the purpose of the school's career programme, along with how it is managed and evaluated. Download and adapt our model careers policy, and use our course on careers-related learning in primary schools to train and engage staff.

Get inspired

‘Focusing on an arts-based curriculum has had such a huge impact on our pupils’ wider learning, and we’re now in the top one per cent of the country for pupil progress’ says headteacher Naveed Idrees. Read about his journey from special measures to outstanding with an art-based curriculum on the Optimus blog.

For more inspiration, find out how:

Last Updated: 
19 Jul 2021