The Curriculum at Maxwelltown High School
How do we develop a curriculum the meets the needs of all our learners
The curriculum for MHS fulfils the following criteria identified through A Curriculum for Excellence and our Situational Analysis:
- The 7 principles of curriculum design.
- Development of the 4 capacities.
- Skills for life, learning and work.
- Improving pupil’s access to cultural and sporting activities.
- Improving health and wellbeing.
- Exposing all pupils to a diverse range of subjects and activities in S1-S3
- Maintaining interest and enjoyment, challenge and pace by ensuring that pupils have progression through the curriculum, and that they experience different educational experiences from year to year.
- Acknowledgment of the different needs of individuals and the fact that paths through school may vary from learner to learner.
- Provision of a range of certificated courses at a range of SCQF levels for all learners in the Senior Phase.
- Allowing opportunities for pupils to work with outside agencies that offer them support.
- Ensuring there are opportunities for pupils to experience and engage with the world of work, higher and further education.
How does the proposed curriculum model meet learner’s needs?
The model chosen needs to deliver the following aspects of Building the Curriculum 3:
Coherent – smooth, well paced transitions through the experiences and outcomes, from early to the end of level 3. Our new curriculum model ensures that pupils develop the skills in each of the eight curriculum areas throughout S1, S2 and S3. It also ensures that all pupils are provided with a coherent curriculum from S1 to S6.
Breadth – ‘A broad general education will include all of the experiences and outcomes across all curriculum areas up to and including the third level.’ Pupils study every subject in S1 and S2, allowing teachers to develop understanding at level 3. Given that our learners may well have not completed level 2 by the time they come to us in S1, we need to ensure that in S1 there is time to move from level 2 to level 3, and that work at level 3 is consolidated in S2. As a large minority of pupils will still need to engage with experiences and outcomes at level 3 in S3, option choices are offered in a structured way within the curriculum areas. This enables pupils in S3 to become secure at level 3 and begin to move into level 4.
Depth – Learners should experience deep learning that encompasses higher order thinking skills. Pupils should have the opportunity to explore subject areas in depth – sometimes this means taking a block of time to give learners the opportunity to fully engage with a subject area. The structure for expressive arts and technologies in S2 addresses the issue of depth for subjects that have less contact time. All subjects are working to ensure that deep learning, including higher order thinking skills, takes place during lessons.
Progression – Pupils move through and between levels in a planned way. There are opportunities for individuals to move through level 3 and into level 4 where appropriate.
Relevance – Lessons are relevant to the learner and provide real life examples that pupils understand and engage with.
Challenge and enjoyment – The school day consists of lessons that not only challenge the pupils in their learning, but also give pupils a sense of enjoyment. Some parts of the school week are structured to allow pupils to perceive school as an enjoyable experience. The electives in S1 allow pupils to choose options that are interesting to them.
Personalisation and choice – Pupils have the opportunity for personalisation and choice within lessons. In S1 and S2 they also experience personalisation and choice in their chosen electives. As they get older, the level of choice they are able to have increases, as does the ability to personalise their curriculum.
In the 35ppw models, the length of one period is 45 minutes. By slightly reducing period length, more time is freed up for the delivery of electives in S1 and S2. This enhances personalisation and choice and should improve overall enjoyment of school. TheSchoolofRugby, PARTY, profiling and other initiatives take place in this elective time, reducing the impact of these on subject areas. It creates a space for creative and innovative work to be undertaken by pupils and staff.
Other issues regarding meeting learner’s needs have also been addressed. These include:
- Retaining am registration – all pupils are seen first thing in the morning where issues such as readiness for the school day, absence notes and punctuality can be addressed.
- Moving to a 2,3,2 structure – acknowledging the fact that many pupils have not eaten before school and need an earlier interval. Pupils will be encouraged to eat a healthy snack or breakfast at this time.
- 5ppw for health and wellbeing in S2-S6 – to include PE, PECS and PSE.