OAT English curriculum project

2023-02-26T15:49:39+00:00February 26th, 2023|English|

Since January 2020 I've been working for Omiston Academies Trust as their Senior Lead for English. Over that time I and the amazing team of lead practitioners I lead have created what we think is a fantastic English curriculum. Not only have we been working on a book which will explain the entire process from intent, to implementation to impact, we've just launched a website - OAT English - to host all of the resources and training materials we've created. All the materials are covered under a Creative Commons license so that - as long as you don't try to [...]

Where we’re getting curriculum wrong Part 2: Powerful knowledge

2020-04-04T17:00:00+01:00December 12th, 2019|curriculum|

In part 1 of this blog series I discussed the importance of cultural capital, where we might be getting it wrong, what it consists of, and how to resolve the problem of 'dead white men'. Where we're getting 'powerful knowledge' wrong While we can make a case that all knowledge is precious, not all knowledge is equally precious. In Bringing Knowledge Back In, education professor Michael Young advanced the idea of ‘powerful knowledge’. In Young's view, knowledge is powerful if it fulfils a number of characteristics. It should: provide reliable explanations and a sound basis for making judgements and generalisations about [...]

A broad and balanced approach to English teaching and the curriculum

2018-06-29T18:30:54+01:00June 29th, 2018|English|

Having launched a stream of invective against the use of 'balance' as a weasel word in my last post, I want to offer a more nuanced take on what I think balance ought to mean. I see the purpose of a curriculum as being to introduce students to that knowledge which will be of most use to them in academic contexts and to allow them to have the maximum amount of choice in what goals they choose to pursue in life. All skills are activated by knowledge and - if we want students to be creative, intellectually curious and productive - [...]

Should we learn to love our shackles?

2015-09-12T10:48:33+01:00September 12th, 2015|leadership|

"Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better." Albert Camus There's already been some pretty scathing reactions to the master plan to introduce a common curriculum and assessment system into UK schools Dame Sally Coates lays out in Schools Week. Carl Hendrick describes her ideas as a dystopian nightmare and Pedro De Bruyckere sees it as a surefire way to turn education into the caricature that Ken Robinson paints it. But is there any merit in her ideas? Some gold we can pan for? Well, maybe. Coates says she wants to liberate teachers  "from the pressures of curriculum planning" so they "could focus [...]

One step beyond – assessing what we value

2014-09-01T09:31:17+01:00April 5th, 2014|assessment, English|

Hey you, don't teach that. Teach this! Do we always teach what we value? it seems to me that when push comes to shove, we end up teaching what is assessed. The urgency of accountability results, inexorably, in teaching to the test. And this, sadly, ends up with teachers teaching stuff that they don't particularly value. I'm not in any way a mathematician, but one of the problems with maths at GCSE is that the knowledge students are taught is atomised: they are rarely shown the links and connections between, say, vectors and averages. Why not? Because the examination doesn't require them [...]

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