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An innovative, flexible approach to NC2014
Our framework, your curriculum
We designed Curious-city to provide a framework that allows schools to innovate and express themselves while covering the National Curriculum.
About the approach
Curious-city is based on an enquiry-led pedagogy and “States of Being”, that get learners becoming Authors, Scientists, Historians etc, rather than focusing on topics or projects. The enquiry framework of “engage, practice, challenge” ensures a balance between knowledge and skills, encouraging independent learning and genuine curiosity. Overarching themes and structure are aligned with cognitive development through all primary year groups, creating a progression of understanding clear in the work produced.
The pedagogy, along with local learning, community and culture form the core of an innovative, engaging framework which aligns with Ofsted’s new focus on an intent/ implementation/ impact structure. We consider the needs of each school individually and work with closely with them to achieve their goals.
How we work with schools
Your curriculum should be unique to your school. We actively encourage every setting to think about what they want to get from Curious-city and how it will reflect their own values and aims. Some schools take all 49 enquiries, which cover all year groups and subjects, as well as working with us extensively on a pedagogical shift. Some introduce it in stages and others take only the elements that work for their situation.
However you engage with Curious-city, we work alongside you to make sure that it is genuinely effective. We will be with you in your school, part of the team, understanding your challenges, coming up with ideas and helping you keep on track.
Curious-city in different settings
Creating an innovative curriculum
The Dolphin School, our flagship Bristol setting, launched the Curious-city curriculum approach to coincide with the opening of their new school site. Head Shelley Dixon saw this as a chance to establish something special. We have worked with all staff extensively to develop a curriculum that is right for them; local, culturally relevant and academically robust. In addition to design, we work alongside staff to ensure everyone can confidently deliver our exciting enquiry-led approach. Coaching, mentoring, training, providing access to a local network of education providers and visitors all come as part of the Curious-city offer. The response from staff, parents, Ofsted and most importantly the learners, has been amazing.
Contact Team Lead Alison Camp to see how Curious-city could work for you
Curious Linguists - language teaching for non-specialists
Curious Linguists provides a new approach to languages at Key Stage 2. Like Curious City, it is based on enquiry-led learning and aims to generate curiosity and excitement about languages and their associated cultures.
We start in years 3 and 4 by focusing on a key aspect of the Purpose of Study of the National Curriculum: “Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world”. Learners explore languages in their broadest sense, investigating similarities and differences, touching upon key concepts such as gender and register as well as learning about cultures and traditions. There are opportunities to celebrate community languages, think about why learning other languages is important in today’s society and investigate how languages change over time.
In years 5 and 6, learners choose one language to focus on, thereby ensuring that schools meet the National Curriculum requirement of making significant progress in one language. Using community mentors to support learning, it can be delivered by non-specialists meaning that this is a sustainable option for all schools and does not rely on teachers having advanced subject knowledge in a language. The enquiries are varied in duration and can be used at any point in the year, making it a flexible way to deliver languages.
“There has been such a buzz around the school today. Ben was beaming saying that the children didn’t want to go home. They were thoroughly excited to have more autonomy over their learning and were THRILLED about their homework project! Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is a brilliant start to the direction we want to take as a school and a real privilege for me to see our staff so enthusiastic and the children so enlivened by their learning.“
- Sarah Bagnall, Iron Acton, after the launch of the Curious Linguists program
Learning material and curriculum work with non-school organisations
We also use our detailed knowledge of the curriculum and our years in teaching to create educational materials and programmes for non-school organisations. Most recently this has involved work with both the WWT and the League Against Cruel Sports. This has centred around designing and writing a suite of pre, during and post visit questions and tasks that help schools get the most of their trips, as well as helping the organisations consider their in school offers. These were, of course, bespoke to the needs of the settings and organisations themselves.
Contact Team Lead Alison Camp about Curious-city for your school or organisation
Initial teacher training and NQTs
Teaching is a tough job, but also a hugely rewarding and inspiring one. The difference between those who flourish and those who struggle is good training and support. We've spent years running courses, advising schools and training and mentoring to help new teachers thrive. We now also have our very own Salaried School Direct course, giving career changers a great route into primary teaching.
Here are some of our past and current relationships:
Conact Team Leader Celia Jenkins for options on support and training
Coaching, mentoring & counselling
Coaching can be a challenging approach to understand. Many people have experienced 'coaching' that was in fact mentoring or are interested in it, but don't really understand how it can help them. It can easily be seen as a 'loose' approach when in fact it is robust, focused and highly effective.
Coaching is for everyone and it is a sign of professional and personal strength when an aspiring leader, struggling teacher or Executive Headteacher seeks out the insight it can provide.
These are actual examples of work we've done and the effect it has had.
Contact Team Lead Kristian Hancock to discuss coaching for you or your organisation
Facilitating system-wide change
Over the past decade we have worked all over the world, changing teaching on a country-wide level. We have instituted systems of teacher training in Colombia, created student programmes and advised on everything from top-level leadership to front line classroom practice.
These are some of the countries we've worked with over the past decade, helping governments and organisations make progress in even the most difficult circumstances:
Contact Director Nicholas Garrick to discuss change in education, from a single school to a whole country
CPD: training & skills enhancement
We offer various programmes of training for all levels of education, from NQTs or TAs to Senior Leadership. We’ve designed curricula, run schools, built schools and even created educational systems for entire countries. More importantly, we’ve all spent years in the classroom, so we understand the challenges faced by educators at all levels. If there’s something you’re interested in consulting us on, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org. Our current courses are below.
Upcoming CPD opportunities
We have three main forms of CPD on offer currently: Re-examining Curriculum, Coaching Training and Grounded Leadership (see below).
If you are group, partnership or Trust it may be more cost effective to commission a bespoke version; email us for information.