Curriculum design: Step 6 – Diminish disadvantage

The 6-step process of curriculum design…

Our approach to curriculum design – as outlined in the book School & College Curriculum Design: Intent – follows a six-step process as follows…

The sixth and final step towards designing an effective curriculum is to diminish disadvantage because if we are to provide an ambitious curriculum for all we must also accept that not all pupils and students start from the same point and that some will require more support and more time to reach their destination.

We diminish disadvantage by closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils – including those with SEND or High Needs – and their peers. This can, in part, be achieved by identifying the academic barriers that each pupil and student faces, then choosing the appropriate strategies to support them to overcome those barriers, and finally setting the success criteria for them. Intervention strategies work best when they are short term, intensive, focused and tailored. What’s more, there is no substitute for ‘quality first teaching’ and so improving teacher and teaching quality must always take precedence.

One way to support disadvantaged pupils is to use research evidence such as the EEF toolkit which posits that feedback and metacognition are the most impactful strategies at a teacher’s disposal. But the application of such evidence must be carried out carefully because each pupil is different, just as each teacher, each class and each school or college is different, and so what works for one might not necessarily work for others.

We can also help to diminish the disadvantage by better understanding the root cause of that disadvantage. One such cause – though by no means the only cause – is a lack of cultural capital. One of the most tangible forms that cultural capital takes is vocabulary and so our curriculum should be a means of explicitly teaching vocabulary – the language of and for learning – in order to equip pupils and students with the tools they need to access the curriculum and achieve.

Go to: Step 1 | Step 2 | Step 3 | Step 4 | Step 5

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