St Andrew’s RC Secondary School in Glasgow has adopted an innovative approach to their senior phase curriculum design which includes an employability stand alongside a two year Higher and traditional pathway model from S4 to S6.
The following document and presentation sets out the importance of this particular design feature, the challenges the school faced and the lessons they are learning from the ongoing evaluations of their curriculum design. Evidence about success of the design focuses on improved outcomes for young people.
Other senior phase curriculum models can be accessed on the National Improvement Hub here. Support materials around senior phase design are now also available on the hub here.
Also noteworthy is the radical curriculum design at Craigroyston Community High School which unapologetically focuses on learner destination only. More on this here, as well as in this presentation at the SFL 2017: Craigroyston CHS. There are also tangible links with the Scottish Attainment Challenge and PEF documented here.
Over the past year at West Barns we have been developing a clearer rationale for our curriculum. From the outset it was evident that in order to move this forward we needed to work closely with our pupils and their families, staff and the wider community to define what kind of school we wanted at West Barns.
We felt it was important that the vision, value and aims reflected the views of our staff, pupils and families and defined the unique features of our school and its environment. We also wanted the whole school community to have a shared understanding of what we are trying to achieve.
Why ‘Team’ West Barns?
Over the past year we have been working closely with the whole school community to help us improve our school and provide a high quality education for all our learners. Developing a team spirit with pupils, staff, families and the local community has been an important underlying theme, and through this we have been able to move forward the learning and teaching as well as the life and ethos of the school.
This has included:
• Introducing cooperative learning to help pupils develop their group working and independent learning skills.
• Using school and house challenges and team sports to help build the school community.
• Providing all pupils and staff with more meaningful opportunities to develop the life and work of the school through School Committees.
• Working with outside organisations to ensure that our pupils have all the support that they need to do their best in school.
• Using Learning Journeys to help our pupils reflect on their learning and share their achievements with their families.
• Including parents and families in the work and life of the school through Parent Council, West Barns Helping Hands and other volunteering opportunities.
• Working closely with parents and families to keep them informed and find out their views on how we can develop our school.
• Finding more opportunities for the school to work with the local community.
• Working with local organisations to learn about and protect our local environment.
• Providing staff with opportunities to work together to help share good practice in learning and teaching.
• Developing closer working relationships with other schools through sharing good practice, joint professional learning opportunities, moderation and self-evaluation visits.
• Working collaboratively with other Head Teachers on curriculum development, professional learning and self-evaluation.
Using this as a starting point we began to develop a new vision, values and aims for West Barns that would support every child towards reaching their full potential and help them to develop the skills and confidence to face the challenges of the 21st Century.
From this starting point we have begun to evaluate our curriculum rationale, reflecting on our strengths and identifying those areas we now need to develop.
Coming soon – Developing a rationale for the West Barns Curriculum 2 – Pulling the pieces together.