Over recent posts I have presented the rationale behind the SMARTcurriculum methodology, practice which has resulted in the creation of the SMARTcurriculum Tool providing the data to informs decisions about curriculum size, character and flow through a school.
I now want to turn attention to the fact that, when working within schools, development practice often is validated by or formed around the question “What are other people doing?” An all too understandable question, sadly because there is no real knowledge base in the subject area, but is also prompted by a a general lack of confidence in the reasoning and rationale behind curriculum. Wouldn’t it be great to have a source where the current experience and tools are focussed on evidentce to inform all practicioners with relevant up to date information about the subject and the real picture of what is happening in relative size establishments.
There is very much a conversation at present about the establishment of a on budget curriculum, but what measures impact the finances enough to be sure the budget is balanced?
- ‘Schools can have anything… except more money’
- Number of secondary schools in deficit has ‘trebled’
- Schools cutting posts amid ‘funding catastrophe’
Is is right to fill the classes to their maximum in every case feeling justified by the evidence that small classes do not have significant impact on improving results? Would this decision be best be monitored and modelled so that the context of each institution and trust can respond to needs as they face them.
What impact does the teacher allocation have on a school, giving more time to planning preparation and assessment is important but more time needs more staff and costs increase, so where is the sweet point and what is right across the system? What impact do different delivery models have in efficiency and styling? How much time is needed to lead and support school staff?
All of these questions resolve themselves in local areas by leaders discussing through a variety of forums. The wise understand the contextual implications of the raw data and manage the information with deeper understanding. The journey we identify here is the purpose of that information.
The four stage process that begins with balancing the budget, not mutually exclusive the success of the students is the second dimension of curriculum design, thirdly in school change design balanced budget and successful students reinforces the message about the institution within a community and becomes a “school of choice” all of these lead to the capacity to invest in students, to enhance the curriculum resulting in enrichment.
The result of the work CJ Learning has been doing is about getting to enriched curriculum, schools becoming those ‘of choice’ in their community, children being successful and on budget.
Recently, working with a London school, having done significant work to on the curriculum through SMARTcurriculum methodology, the school rationalised over £600k and made significant savings, in modelling this year it was possible to consider investment in staff, not to increase staff loading, and consider strategic placement of classes so as not to increase class sizes or to reduce the breadth of subjects within the curriculum. The methodology at its best. We could not be happier to discuss how to be investing in the future of our young people.
The community of practice becomes a powerful knowledge base where real data is shared, compared and understood.
CJ Learning provides curriculum consultancy delivered through the SMARTcurriculum methodology. CJ Learning Technologies provides the SMARTcurriculum Tool and online measurement of your curriculum and its development providing key metrics and comparisons.
Contact us for details here.