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Narrowing the achievement gap through curriculum development – probe 6 Natalia Buckler (CUREE) & Michael Jopling (University of Wolverhampton)

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Presentation on theme: "Narrowing the achievement gap through curriculum development – probe 6 Natalia Buckler (CUREE) & Michael Jopling (University of Wolverhampton)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Narrowing the achievement gap through curriculum development – probe 6 Natalia Buckler (CUREE) & Michael Jopling (University of Wolverhampton)

2 Probe methodology Within this project, probes set out to: – –locate effective curriculum innovations with specific foci – –describe in detail their component activities and processes and their outcomes – –identify what might be significant about the context within which they take place Principles: – –Triangulation of evidence within and across the case study sites – –Exploration of patterns across the participating schools in order to identify and capture descriptions of effective practice – –Analysis of the fieldwork and documentary analysis findings against the wider knowledge base to explore why things work and what makes the practice effective

3 Probe foci over three years of curriculum research Assessment Dialogue and group work CPD Engagement and participation Wellbeing Narrowing the gap Management of curriculum change

4 Probe concept map

5 Selection of case study sites We looked for sites where there was both – –visible curriculum development and – –consistent attention to closing the gap in outcomes, particularly achievement, of vulnerable learners Importance of diversity and security of practice in both aspects of the research Long list of possible case study schools selected from own networks, the National College Narrowing the Gap programme, the DCSF Extra Mile programme and QCDA curriculum co-development networks Prior to short listing, detailed scoping involved analysis of publicly available evidence (Ofsted reports, school policies and descriptions of curriculum on the school websites) to establish the nature and security of relevant practice

6 Methods Interviews with participating teachers Interviews with school senior and middle leaders Student voice and perception data, gathered through informal interviews with 2-5 individual learners Observation data School documentation relating to narrowing the gap and curriculum development policy and practice

7 Example: Crown Hills Community College Personalised support to students to enable them to access the curriculum and to explore cross-curricular patterns in learning behaviours Academic tutoring programme aimed at disadvantaged & underachieving students ‘I spend all my time boosting, bolstering cajoling and convincing students of how fantastic they are. And that’s the secret of the success of it. I think if ever we take them as a deficit model then we’re never going to get to where we want to be.’ (Programme Leader)

8 Probe 6: Key findings Schools focused on facilitating and supporting access to the curriculum by: Building positive learning relationships between learners and teaching staff and increasing student’s sense of ownership of their learning Making curriculum experiences broader, more relevant, challenging and engaging Securing coherence at transition phases Monitoring children and young people’s progress

9 Facilitating and supporting access to the curriculum The schools adopted a ‘whole person’ approach to narrowing the gap, focussing on a range of skills their learners needed to develop in order to access the curriculum, achieve and do well Primaries focused on basic skills, lack of which they saw as a barrier to their children’s ability to access the curriculum The secondary prioritised areas such as improving motivation, developing effective learning habits, and enhancing students’ understanding of learning and assessment processes as key to supporting access to the curriculum

10 Making curriculum experiences more relevant and engaging The schools worked hard to improve the overall quality of teaching and learning, engage (or re-engage) all children and young people, increase the variety of learning experiences and encourage active learning and participation.

11 Conclusions The importance of staff working collaboratively in developing effective curriculum experiences for vulnerable learners: – –Across key stages to ensure continuity of curriculum and facilitating transition – –To ensure individual and group interventions were linked to mainstream curriculum

12 Approaches, such as APP were recognised as having a great potential for involving learners in assessment and target setting processes, as well as for monitoring their progress in specific skills The importance of maintaining a whole-school focus on narrowing the gap. Despite the significance of early interventions, there were support strategies in place in all key stages of the case study schools which aimed to build on the initial positive outcomes and ensure progression Conclusions (cont)

13 Reference CUREE(2011). Coventry: CUREE. Narrowing the achievement gaps for vulnerable children and young people through effective curriculum experiences. Summary available at:

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