Curriculum development

Curriculum development

for Bulmershe School

‘Witnessing the value of reflection for students was powerful – to cement the learning they may not even be aware they’ve embraced and to help them feedback what has and hasn’t worked for them.’ Teacher

Bulmershe School is a mixed 11-18 comprehensive school located in Berkshire. As part of its School Improvement Plan on raising attainment, the school was looking to develop a new personalised creative competence-based Year 7 curriculum. The aim was to skill-up teachers’ ability to plan and deliver more creative, engaging learning experiences by working collaboratively with creative professionals. They wanted to encourage students to become independent enquirers, reflective learners, creative thinkers, effective participators, team workers and self-managers.

All Year 7 (200 students) were involved in the year long programme that ran for two afternoons per week on a carousel of five week units for each tutor group. Learning experiences included: celebrating student life and positive achievements using photography on the website and wall projections; forensic science through animated video; unpacking identity through visual arts, music and craft. Within the context of the school’s richly diverse ethnic and faith backgrounds, a range of collaborative activities also took place, with students, teachers and partners exploring ways of breaking down barriers using such elements as a giant wall built from cardboard boxes to send messages and create an individual identity for each participant.

Curriculum links: Key Stage 3. PSHEE, Art and Design, Music, Dance, Science, Technology, PLTS.

Impact: With less teacher direction, greater collaboration and more student initiative, the programme was acknowledged by staff, parents, students and creative partners as being extremely successful in delivering personal, learning and thinking skills in an engaging way to stimulate enquiring minds. Young people’s reflective skills developed through observation and analysis, critical language and reflective conversation. The school recognised and valued the opportunity for its students to become more independent learners and wished to further develop teachers’ skills to expand in future years, but recognising the importance of incorporating more formal tracking of student progress.