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Getting the curriculum right can set teachers free.

During my NQT year I was a shocking teacher. I lurched from lesson to lesson, with the aim of getting through them.  There was no interconnection between lessons and no sequence of lessons. During my second year of teaching I was very fortunate to be able to work with Jeff Stanfield, then the Geography Advisor for Hampshire and we create several schemes of work together. It became clear to me that individual lessons matter little without a coherent curriculum that binds them together.

In 2008 when I became a middle leader, I inherited a 'curriculum' that was on one page, a bit like this:

I really wish I was joking. The thing is, if teachers are to focus upon planning for every pupil, then they need to be aware of the bigger picture. Working without a scheme of work and a detailed curriculum us crippling. Not only so young people not benefit from a common curriculum entitlement, but much time is wasted in needless planning. Now, I'm not talking about prescription here, but…

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five.Emotional ConnectedDemandingReflectiveCollaborativeAs always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain)1. EmotionalI can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound learning.  I think we sometime need to ta…

So what does being an Assistant Headteacher for Teaching and Learning actually mean?

James T. Kirk: I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I only know what I CAN do.I’ve been an Assistant Headteacher and part of the school’s teaching and learning team for 45 working days now.  I remember a few comments on being appointed back in May along the lines of ‘isn’t everyone responsible for teaching and learning, blah blah…’  Of course, that’s a no brainer as leadership extends right into the classroom (indeed, successful leadership’s roots are firmly in the classroom).  In addition, a few people have asked me what this job actually means. This will be useful for those who may be considering the move.  You can read the first and second posts about the SLT adventure if you like.  I don’t pretend to be any sort of SLT expert by any means, even when I’m growing half a beard for Movember.  Those reading this who are already in SLT may wish to reach out if we share common areas.I’m very lucky to be working in a school that places such a high value on developing teaching and l…