The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Gareth D Morewood

Maintaining an inclusive curriculum offer is more important than ever

A personalised approach and an inclusive curriculum with a broad range of subjects is essential to ensure all pupils have the chance to succeed, says Gareth D Morewood.

This week I have met with the parents/carers of 22 Year 9 students. Every year I like to have a separate discussion confirming KS4 pathways and supporting choices for the next stage of their education. We have some young people who require a very personalised approach and an inclusive curriculum offer is essential for this to be achieved.

Historically schools have been required to provide children with a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum as part of their all-round development (DES, 1978; Schools Council, 1983). Interestingly an HMI Survey in 1978 found that the schools which performed best in the basics invariably did so in the context of a broad curriculum that covered work in the arts and humanities.

Today we have the EBacc, a performance measure for schools that although not a qualification in itself, is recognition of students gaining grades C or above across a core of five academic subjects – English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language.

This is not an appropriate suite of subjects for all learners and I think it is as important as ever to ensure young people get an opportunity to access appropriate high-quality teaching in a range of subject areas. 

We have always offered an additional Supported Learning Pathway choice for English and Maths; these options are, in effect, more curriculum time for learners taught by subject specialists. 

If all of our students who don't achieve a 'C' in English and maths must continue to study it post-16 until they do, coupled with the fact that English and maths are core skills, it seems sensible to me that we afford some of our learners more curriculum time to achieve that.

So, some of our Year 9 students choose two different subject options (drama and computing, for example) along with the additional English and maths choices. This then allows seven GCSE subjects with increased time for core areas.

SEND leaders panel discussion

  • What does an inclusive school look like in 2016?
  • How can we source appropriate curriculum pathways in today’s current climate?
  • What does a whole-school graduated approach embedded within QFT teaching for all look like?

Whatever our curriculum looks like, I always think it should reflect the needs of the learners. Even though some may see it as a stance at odds with current educational policy, I still firmly believe in 'personalisation not normalisation'. What about you?

References

  • DES (1978), Primary education in England, A survey by HM Inspectors of Schools London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
  • Schools Council, (1983), Primary Practice, London: Methuen.

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