Development of a modern and forward thinking curriculum

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Seventy five years ago, a woman with a passion for teaching and learning set up a 'school' in her kitchen - she started with one child. Today, that school has grown to become one of the leading Independent Schools in the country. The school has risen to its current position by being dynamic, forward thinking and by taking calculated risks. For the purposes of this dissertation, I shall simply refer to the school in question as 'The School'. As Headmaster of Junior Section, I am responsible for ensuring The School is just as dynamic and forward thinking in the next phase of its evolution.

The School is a selective independent, co-educational day school for children aged 4-18. It has an enrolment of 1150 children based on two distinct sites a few minutes apart. The Junior Section houses 454 children from ages 4-11 and has a three class intake at four years of age. The School has, over the past 6 years, had 100% success at KS2 Level 4 in English, Maths and Science and consistently averages over 90% at Level 5 in these three subjects.

Following a very successful inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2006, the Heads of both sections of The School asked the question 'where do we go from here?' What we did not want to happen was the 'post inspection lull'; for school to sit back, enjoy the accolades and rest on its successes knowing the next inspection was six years away..

The consensus was that if we continue to do the same as we have for the past six years, we effectively go backwards. Despite the glowing report, staff were increasingly frustrated; they questioned the value of Key Stage tests, the entrance exam to the Senior School, the prescribed content of the curriculum and the pedagogical approaches from the Early Years Foundation Stage to transition through to Year 7 at the Senior School.

The Head, with the full backing of Governing Body, decided the time was right to question what we did, how we did it and asked the question, could it be done better? The School embarked on an ambitious three year Development Plan, central to which was a Curriculum Research Project. The purpose of the project was to investigate the sort of world for which our youngest pupils were being prepared through fourteen years of education at The School. The rationale was that the lessons learnt, would provide a baseline for an evaluation of the current curriculum and a springboard for any curriculum subsequently developed. Make reference to Robinson - we can't forget about the 14 years - here or later.

The first strand of the Development Plan committed The School across the 4 - 16 age range to: 'The development of a modern, forward-looking curriculum for the school, designed to equip its pupils with the knowledge, qualifications, skills and values necessary for a meaningful life in the world of the mid-21st Century'. (The School Development Plan 2006 - 09)

The curriculum working group published the following rationale at the outset:

The curriculum review is designed to ask fundamental questions about the basis, priorities and nature of the education that our very youngest pupils will require to be highly successful contributors to their world. We start from the position that the basis of our national education system is arguably, already out of step with the existing - and increasingly rapidly changing - society.

Sir Ken Robinson has a similar viewpoint stating 'The labour markets of the 21st century are changing beyond all recognition. This is not a revolution in a figurative sense, but a real one comparable in scale and impact to the massive upheavals of the Industrial Revolution'. Robinson goes on to say that, 'these technologies are transforming the nature of work we do, how we work, who works and when and for how long. They are also generating many social issues and cultural challenges. One of the most significant changes is the shift from manufacturing to the so-called knowledge based industries. (Robinson, 2001 Page 4)

Beetham and Sharpe(2007 p22) support this notion saying "in the last century, a series of educational thinkers in the West sought to reinstate 'learning' as the central concern of pedagogy, arguing that undue emphasis had been placed on the content of what was taught, and that this had led to rigid and unhelpful habits of instruction... learners are no longer seen as the passive recipients of knowledge and skills but as active participants in the learning process".

Bearing this in mind, the working group concluded that 'Trying to make precise predictions about the future world is by the very nature an imprecise process. We therefore drew some generalisations that guided our thinking: that so little can be predicted, so our process is at best intriguing and at worst, futile; that any predictions we do make are educated guesses, no matter how much evidence there is to support them; that the one thing our children will face is uncertainty and change; that we need to ensure our children are able to live with uncertainty, embrace change, and thrive in the way they adapt to it'. ( The School Curriculum Working Group Report 2008)

This rationale led to a Curriculum Conference hosted by the school in October 2007 that included experts from the fields of further education, the environment, technology, recruiting, globalisation, health and community. The overwhelming message coming from the majority of key note speakers was that employers are already looking for attributes in recruits that are out of step with what the prevailing educational system of this country actively promotes. These attributes are currently promoted only by implication or as of secondary importance.

'Employers are decreasingly putting emphasis on the knowledge that their employees may have mastered through their education. Instead they are valuing increasingly highly the intellectual skills that allow people to deal with, assess and evaluate new information with which they may not be familiar to help solve problems, and to do this in the context of managing or working with larger teams of people( The School Curriculum Working Group Report 2008).

The educational problem we have raised is 'are we educating the children at The School in a manner that will provide them with the necessary skills and competencies to be successful in a future world'? Having spent the last 18 months looking at this question, the conclusion was that, although rapid change is inevitable, we have no idea what the future holds for our children. We can make an educated guess and respond to the needs of employers, many of whom are already working 'in the future'.

We also need to realise that the expectations of children and young people have changed. Stoll said 'Children and young people have very different expectations of their schooling than many teachers and school leaders had of theirs. Advances in technology are totally transforming access to knowledge and social networking sites are changing the way young people relate to friends and their world'. She went on to say 'the need is now stronger than ever to equip every child and young person to seize learning opportunities throughout life, to broaden his or her knowledge, skills and attitudes, and to adapt to a changing world'.

We can empathise with Alice in her conversation with the Cheshire Cat when she asked "can you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" The Cheshire Cat replied "that depends a good deal on where you want to go"

Where do we want to go as a school? Whilst we are free from National Curriculum constraints and from the new Primary Curriculum coming online in 2011, we should not ignore the important research ongoing in this field. This dissertation is an attempt to find a path that '… should prepare not just most children but every child to make a success of their life, developing the broader skills, knowledge and understanding that they will need for the future world' (Rose Review P2)

This literary based dissertation will refer to the growing amount of research in this field. For the most part, this research is focussed on mainstream education and takes little account of selective independent schools. As the Select Committee report on the National Curriculum states '…England's National Curriculum only applies to maintained schools and not to independent schools…' (Page 4). I will analyse the literature, draw comparisons and variations across the research and, having undergone a period of critical reflection of our own curriculum, ask the question 'What skills, competencies and attributes should be taught to KS2 children to allow them to thrive in a 'knowledge based' future?' In an attempt to answer the question, I will contrast The School curriculum with the current research as well as educational, university and workforce thinking and detail changes I would recommend, include any rational for change and describe how I would address any constraints.

Given this, it must be stated that we must never loose sight of the fact that the school continues to be very successful. This research is not taking place to enable wholesale change in the classroom; rather it forms the structure on which managed and reasonable change can enhance learning opportunities for young people. Our parents are great advocates of the school and buy into The School's ethos and aims. Robin Alexander alluded to the state of primary education in the Cambridge Review stating, 'It quickly became clear, though, that while primary schools are under intense pressure, they are in good heart. Highly valued by children and parents, for some they

are the one point of stability and positive values in a world where everything else is uncertain. There are still important debates to be had and changes which could make a big difference to many children's life chances'.

Chapter 2: Review of the Literature

'Is it possible to forge an education for children that will help them in the twenty first century, using a curriculum that has many features of the nineteenth century?' Haynes (2002 p.39).

Robinson expresses a similar sentiment stating, 'we need to re-evaluate the relationships of areas of educational experience that are separated. We need new structures of learning for a different type of future. We cannot meet the challenges of the 21st century with the educational ideologies of the 19th. (Robinson 2001 Page 201.)

Aldrich addresses the problem by posing a number of questions. "The fundamental question is who should determine the aims of the school curriculum, what they should be and how can they materialise?" Aldrich (1988, p.22).

So, who should determine the aims of the school curriculum? The Government's Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) believes it should be driving the primary curriculum for the 21st century. With a specific mandate, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families ordered a complete review of the primary curriculum under the direction of Sir Jim Rose with the main purpose of addressing the questions, 'what should the primary curriculum contain' and 'how should the content and the teaching of it change to foster children's different and developing abilities during primary education'( The final report of this independent review was published on 30th April 2009.

Have the Government really understood the issues facing schools and come up with recommendations that will drive up standards, fulfil the needs of the Every Child Matters agenda, and 'enable them(children) to enjoy this unique stage of childhood, inspire learning and develop the knowledge, skills and understanding which are building blocks for secondary education and later life' (

Robin Alexander , the Director of the Cambridge Primary Review would argue the Rose Review was not in fact independent and, had not gone far enough to address the state of primary education. The remit was narrow and controlled by the Secretary of State. This view is supported by the House of Commons Select Committee who noted 'the disquiet at the strong steer given by the Secretary of State to the Rose Review. By contrast, the Cambridge Primary Review is a much more wide ranging review and is seen as truly independent'(page 23).

The Cambridge Primary Review's remit was to 'identify the purposes which the primary phase of education should serve, the values which it should espouse, the curriculum and learning environment which it should provide, and the conditions which are necessary in order to ensure both that these are of the highest and most consistent quality possible, and that they address the needs of children and society over the coming decades'.

Both reports detail the limitations of the primary curriculum and both 'recognise that the primary curriculum is overly full, but neither offers a practical basis that appeals to us for reducing the load. (page 23 Select Committee Report).

As an independent school, should we be worried about what the Government's ideology is for primary curriculum? The Select Committee, The Rose Review and The Cambridge Review are all in support of a National Curriculum. But what exactly do they mean? Page 9 of the Select Committee's report, states 'A national curriculum sets out the body of knowledge, skills and understanding that a society wishes to pass on to its children and young people' That is fine definition, but, to make this work for an independent school, I would amend the definition; take out the word 'National' and define what we mean by society. We have already identified that independent schools can choose to work outside the parameters of a national curriculum and many independent schools do just that. They are independent businesses that fulfil the wants and needs of parents by ensuring the vast percentage of children have an enhanced opportunity in obtaining places at university. 'Society' therefore, is not a national order that government defines, but a culture that is developed in individual independent organizations and based on the stakeholders (parents) ability to buy into that culture. One could almost say it is an 'understanding that high society (parents who able and willing to purchase independent education) wishes to pass onto it's children and young people'.

Parents buying into The School do not want a state school education. This statement is based on meetings with twenty seven potential parents I took on a tour around The School from September to November 2009. In every single case, parents were looking for something far more than a national curriculum. This raises the question, 'where should we go from here'?

It would be naïve to think the independent sector could forge ahead with its 'own curriculum' paying scant regard to the national curriculum. There is a tremendous amount of relevance in both the Cambridge and Rose Reviews, but these can be enhanced by exploring developed curriculums such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), and other national curriculums such as the Curriculum for Excellence introduced recently in Scotland. All three believe their primary curriculums encompass the skills, competencies and knowledge needed for the 21st century.

Academics? Any number of leading academics have researched what they believe to be the essential criteria children to thrive in the future.

Individual Schools? Both the DCSF and the Cambridge review identify that while a broad National Curriculum is essential, there is a growing need for schools to take greater control of their own curriculum.

The Rose Review stated that 'The curriculum that primary children are offered must enable them to enjoy this unique stage of childhood, inspire learning and develop essential knowledge, skills and understanding which are the building blocks for later life'. (Rose Review, ES6). While the Robin Alexander, the Director for the Cambridge Primary Review was also leading an independent enquiry into the condition and future of primary education in England.

The Review was required because 'there has been no comprehensive investigation of English primary education since the Plowden enquiry of 1967. The Cambridge Primary Review was devised in order to make good this deficiency, to ask and answer the necessary questions without fear or favour'. It's remit was to 'identify the purposes which the primary phase of education should serve'.

The main difference wa that





What do we mean by the term curriculum?

The 'who' is easy. Being an independent school free of the constraints of government, The School community are able to 'determine the aims of The School curriculum'. That community i.e. Teachers, children, parents governors, have been very important in this process to date and continue to be so. Any independent school would be ill advised to embark on a process of change without consulting stakeholders and having a 'buy in'. An ill conceived curriculum could be perceived to the detriment of all concerned and has the potential to drive away your market share; the parents. A buy in from them is vital if any change to be successful.

However, it would be foolish to think 'we know better' being an independent school. The recently published Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum: Final Report, by Sir Jim Rose, asked the questions 'what should the curriculum contain?' and 'how should the content and the teaching change to foster children's different and developing abilities during primary years?'

He went on to say that in 'looking to build a curriculum that answers these questions and is fit for primary children's education, now and in the future, excellent teaching of communication skills leading to the achievement of high standards of literacy must remain a priority. So must the achievement of high standards of behaviour and other vital aspects of 'personal development'. In this day and age, the primary curriculum also needs to give serious attention to building children's capability with information technology'.

'The challenge of the education system is clear; that it should prepare not just most children but every child to make a success of their life, developing the broader skills, knowledge and understanding that they will need for the future world' (Rose P2)

'today's young people will need to be able t learn, retrain, think and work in teams and to be flexible, adaptable and creative. They also need to develop a sense of responsibility for themselves, for their health, for their environment and for their society' (Rose P2)

The 'what' is not so clear? Is it possible to forge an education that will help children in the twenty first century, using a curriculum that has many features of the nineteenth century? A debatable question and one that elicits quite emotive answers from teachers. I interviewed seven groups of teachers (28 teachers in total) over a two week period during the Autumn Term 2008. Each group was a year team (3 teachers) plus support staff. One of the questions was 'is our current curriculum providing the breadth of skill and competencies the 2020 research is looking for?' An interesting observation of responses was the significant difference in responses according to age group and seniority of respondents. All staff were very much in agreement with the 2020 notion that curriculum change is necessary to develop the kinds of skills and competencies that will enable youngsters to day to thrive as the adults of tomorrow. However, when it came to how each individual group would look to achieve this, the younger cohort of staff(under 35) and those who are recent additions to the staff , were very receptive to the ideas.

The well established staff, in particularly those with over 15 years seniority at school (which form a significant proportion of staff) who have been responsible for the development of the current curriculum over many years, and have seen the school go from strength to strength, were very concerned any changes would lead to a lowering of standards across the school and were happy to maintain the 'status quo'

Gardiner had a similar experience when talking to a Chinese professor of psychology about different pedagogies. On challenging the Chinese approach, he was met with 'We have been doing it this way for so long that we know it is right'. (Gardiner 2005 p.10).

The 'how' is the area teaching staff have the most reservations about. If we are to change the curriculum, where does the time come from to develop courses, staff training and resources. The real fear for some staff that their resistance to embedding technology in their own teaching would make this process even more difficult.

Right or not, in the context of "The School" our community in general accepts the time for curriculum innovation and change is here and there has been an important 'buy in' from Parents and a cautious 'buy in' from teachers.

So, what is curriculum? The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority(QCA) describes it as "everything that promotes learners' intellectual, personal, social and physical development. As well as lessons and extracurricular activities, it includes approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, the quality of relationships within school, and the values embodied in the way the school operates" (QCA need to include internet reference)

While I agree with the notion the curriculum encompasses everything a child experiences, from the moment s/he steps through the school gates in the morning to the time s/he leaves in the afternoon, the trips and excursions outside school, and the co-curricular activities, the challenge is to develop such a curriculum that will equip children to thrive in Robinsons 'knowledge based industries'

'The most significant and exciting challenge facing the whole of society, not just those that work in education, is how to devise and provide a coherent programme for young people that recognises the many forces at work, anticipating successfully some of the needs of an uncertain future, synthesizing the distilled wisdom of hundreds of generations, while at the same time sponsoring both autonomy and teamwork' (Wragg 1997, p.22)

Ken Robinson supports this saying that 'throughout the world, companies and organisations are trying to compete in a world of economic and technological change that is moving faster than ever. As the axis shifts towards intellectual labour and services, they urgently need people who are creative, innovative and flexible. Too often, they cannot find them. (Robinson 2001 Page 1) Robinson goes onto state that 'they want people who can think intuitively, who are imaginative and innovative, who can communicate well, work in teams and are flexible, adaptable and self-confident. The traditional academic curriculum is simply not designed to produce such people. (Robinson 2001 Page 52)

If we add Wragg's statement to the mix then we 'need to do this with existing staff that overtly support the change but inwardly could do anything to sabotage any change that may make them appear to lack skill sets necessary to deliver such a curriculum despite the provision for professional development'. reference

So, how do we develop a curriculum that enhances a child's opportunity to live a meaningful life, which looks to address the challenges a future world may hold and fulfils the needs and aspirations of parents and students in the present?

According to Browne and Haylock (2004) in the UK, there are approximately four million primary aged children in 18,000 schools. On average, children will be in a school of 225 with eight teachers, one of whom is the Head. There will be 30 children per class and the teacher will be female. There are two main contrasting approaches to education for this age group.

Progressive Traditional

Child centred Subject focussed

Broad curriculum Back to Basics

Individualised learning Teacher directed

Differentiation Whole class teaching

Choice Prescription

Discovery learning Direct teaching

Experience Attainment

Informal Assessment Formal testing

An understanding of where The School fits into Browne and Havelock's model may enable us to plan for the kind of curriculum we strive for. When I presented the year groups mentioned earlier with Browne and Haylocks two approaches to education the groups were asked to discuss the progressive v traditional model and agree an answer which best described:

a) The School and,

b) the individual teachers approach.

Generally, the younger staff and staff who had experience in a number of different schools, thought of themselves as 'Progressive' teachers with a varying degree of traditional values, however, again those staff with 15 years plus seniority at The School, to a person, described both the school and themselves as being traditional with varying degrees of progressive teaching.

Gardner (2007) identifies with this in summing up the resistances and obstacles to the cultivation of his '5 Minds'. He states that 'people are loath to alter practices with which they were raised and with which they are all too comfortable'. In practise, the four forms of resistance and obstacles highlighted by Gardner (p159), Conservatism, Faddism, Hidden Risks and Impotence are all concerns that have been raised by teachers during interviews, particularly conservatism and impotence.

Although Gardner is passionate about his five minds for the future he makes 'no claims to have a crystal ball, I concern myself here with the kinds of minds that people will need if they - if we - are to thrive in the world during the eras to come'. On saying that he is open to the fact, his is a 'values enterprise' and one that he feels should be developed in the future. Sir Ken Robinson in his talk at the TED conference in 2006 ( ADD WEBSITE) claims that so little can be predicted with any certainty that to do so is at the very best intriguing, and at worst, futile, whereas futures thinkers such as Patrick Dixon, appear very confident in being able to predict on a wide variety of matters with a degree of precision.

Where does that leave The School? There is a paramount need for our students to adopt of mindset that is adaptable, flexible and resilient in the face of whatever world they have to face and whatever changes they may have to encounter. We need to ensure our students are able to live with uncertainty, embrace change and thrive in the way they adapt to it.(2020 document) 'Moreover, if any cliché in recent years rings true, it is the acknowledgement that education must be lifelong. 'Those at the workplace are charged with selecting individuals who appear to possess the right kinds of knowledge, skills, minds - in my terms they should be searching for individuals who possess disciplined, synthesizing, creating respectful and ethical minds'. Gardiner (2005 p. 9)

What are the implications for the future of our curriculum models and priorities?

The School's current curriculum model is a traditional one with English, Maths, Science and IT core subjects and foundation subjects taught in isolation with little curricular overlap. The 2020 conference looks to introduce curriculum values and has at it's heart The School's current curriculum. The current curriculum was updated and rewritten three years ago and is now reviewed at the end of each term, so it is tried, tested, evaluated and updated on a regular basis. There is a definite comfort zone for staff within this curriculum.

Research Design

Throughout the last two years, it has become increasingly apparent that change is inevitable. The manner in which we go about the change is through action research. 'The key aim of Action Research is to bring about critical awareness, improvement and change in a practice, setting or system. It therefore involves reflection, planning and action as key elements.(Wellington, P21). Cohen and Mannion (2001;P230) comment on Kemmis and McTaggart that 'those affected by planned changes have the primary responsibility for deciding on courses of critically informed action which seems likely to lead to improvement, and for evaluating the results of strategies tried out in practice'. In a school that has a traditional hierarchy, this is a challenge to the validity of the research. While it is vitally important to ensure the validity and reliability of any changes met, the greatest challenge to change is the one of ownership. While I endorse fully the ideal that those most affected by planned change, i.e. the Prep 5 and 6 teachers, should have a major part in deciding what and how they will teach in the future, it is often hampered by the very real fact that teachers often do not want to take responsibility for the change, particularly if the change is outside their comfort zone and they perceive possible failings in their own adequacies. The hierarchical model becomes a default and an opportunity for staff to be comforted at the point in the planning cycle where change is evaluated.

Kemmis and McTaggart (1992:25-27) offer some hope and advice to address this issue through a selection of their observations that may help alleviate staff fears:

Get an action research group together and participate yourself.

Be content to start to work with a small group

Get organised

Establish a time line

Arrange for supportive work in progress discussions in the action research group

Be tolerant and supportive

Plan for the long haul on the bigger issues..

Work to involve(in the research process) those who are involved ( in the action), so that they share the responsibility for the whole action research process.

Throughout, ask yourself whether your action research project is helping you(and those with whom you work)to improve the extent to which you are living your educational values.

Oja and Smulyan(1989: 14) suggest that teachers are more likely to change their behaviours and attitudes if the have been involved in the research that demonstrates not only the need for such change, but that it can be done - the issue of 'ownership' and 'involvement' that finds its parallel in management literature that suggests that those closest to the problem are in the best position to identify it and work towards its solution.

With this in mind the approach adopted was two pronged. The research brief issues by the Headmaster and Governors covered the whole curriculum from 4 - 16, therefore a whole school approach was needed and appropriate working party set up. This working party fulfilled the whole school issue of developing the '2020 curriculum', and identified the four strands of Knowing, Being, Learning and Doing as central themes to future curriculum development.

The second prong was to create a smaller more inclusive group of teachers who would actually deliver the curriculum at Prep 5 and 6. This group of 12 staff involved in the teaching of the 9-11 age range were empowered to take control of the curriculum, free of the constraints of external testing and Senior School entrance exams and create a programme of study that would be fun, stimulating and deeply embed a thirst for knowledge and learning that would guide, enrich and facilitate future learning.

The main working party identified four strands. These strands radiate from the current curriculum and are known as 'The School' Curriculum Values:

Knowing Being Learning Doing

Inquiring Knowing myself Finding Out Mastering technology

Enriching Managing myself Evaluating Participating in society

Wrestling Projecting myself Understanding Acting with integrity

Mastering Understanding others Creating Serving the community

Relating to others Presenting

Working with others Remembering

These four strands are inextricably linked to the current curriculum and are interlinked to each other. The evaluation of the current curriculum has shown that many of the values implicit in these four strands are already at the heart of what we do.

The challenge for the Prep 5 and 6 working group was to take the four strands and challenge the current curriculum to deliver the skills and competencies embedded in the curriculum values model above, and to an extent already evident in parts of the curriculum, and develop the 'Values curriculum.

The red line represents the 'Threat / Opportunity Zone'.

Southworth, G and Conner (1999) illustrate Birmingham LEA's cycle of school improvement and has, at it's core, an evidence based approach to school improvement through auditing, target setting, action plans and monitoring the curriculum(p18). While this model has it's merits, it is a model that many schools within the authority have to fit in to, rather than the model being bespoke to individual schools.

'The School' Curriculum Model





Current Curriculum

Comfort Zone





Threat Zone

Figure 1

In Figure 1 above , I have restructured the Birmingham LEA model and included the four strands of Knowing, Being, Learning and Doing into the model.

The change process keeps at its core the current curriculum with the four stands closely linked to that core. Gradually, the four strands are moved away from the central comfort zone and towards the red 'threat' zone and ultimately straddle the red line( Figure 2). Starting in the comfort zone allows staff and children to feel less threatened by change As the strands are individually expanded, the perceived threat levels from both staff and children increase. However, the more they are gradually exposed to the challenges of working in this area, the more they become comfortable and the less it feels like a threat. Once staff and children start to feel this way, the more capable they are at looking objectively at the threats and start to see them not as threats, but as opportunities. This is the point at which you can really do some exciting developmental work with children and provide the bespoke modern and forward thinking education we want to provide.

The School Curriculum Model





Current Curriculum

Comfort Zone





Threat Zone

Figure 2

There is however a risk to this - the 'fight or flight' approach to risk and perceived threat is well documented - some staff will choose to move on and some will choose to resist change. Gardner highlights a number of through 'conservatism' ( why change if things have worked well for so long), impotence ( sounds good, but I don't know how to achieve them, so just show me what to do, but don't expect me just to assent) or any number of other Gardner (2007 p159). A recent economic factor may well challenge Gardner's theories - that is the real threat of falling numbers in independent education to the 'credit crunch'. Many independent schools are facing difficulties with falling enrolment and numerous small independent schools have closed, as they are no longer viable. Staff are rapidly waking up to the fact that jobs are not secure in independent education and that schools will retain staff who are valuable to, and valued by, the schools. As a result, staff are more likely to embrace change if it is a catalyst to retained employment. David Hansen,Executive Director of IAPS said, in his Key Note speech at the Headmasters Conference(Juniors) in November 2008, that the recession will 'hit the independent sector like a tsunami in 2009/10 and schools will have to prepare, you cannot carry any slack. If you are prepared, then the recession can be very good for your school'.

Fear of redundancy will ensure many staff will be more likely to embrace the change, particularly in the current economic climate that is seeing increasing numbers of parents struggling to finance their children's education and smaller schools closing through falling enrolment.

Evaluating existing practice - we found that although the perception was one of traditional values, traditional teaching, when staff actually reflected upon personal practise and through peer observation, the reality was that the teaching and learning over the past four years has shifted significantly from Browne and Havelock's traditional model to quite a progressive model , in some cases pushing the boundaries further than people had anticipated. Staff were surprised at the results of self-reflection, but immediately the perceived threat level of evolving The School curriculum felt far less daunting and achievable.

Summary and Analysis of research

'There is a paradox. Most children think they're highly creative: most adults think they're not. What happens to them as they grow up? Throughout the world, companies and organisations are trying to compete in a world of economic and technological change that is moving faster than ever. They urgently need people who are creative, innovative and flexible. Too often they can't find them. Yet governments throughout the world are pouring unprecedented resources into the very process that's meant to develop natural talent and abilities - education. Robinson (2001 p1). Robinson goes on to say that 'Business expects the educational system to give people the skills and qualities they need for this new world. The political response is to emphasise the need to raise standards. Of course we should. There's no point in lowering them. But standards of what? In these circumstances, political incantations about academic standards may seem a little feeble. They are'.

This viewpoint of Sir Ken Robinson is one that has been gathering momentum in all sectors over the last few years. Certainly, at The School's own 2020 conference, Key Note speakers such as Professor Mountford from the Cardiff Business School, John Morgan from Future Lab, Mathew Gough from the National Computing Centre, Tony Robinson from Friends of the Earth all had different messages, but with the same underlying principle. In order to thrive in the future, we need a different type of thinking. This thinking needs to permeate throughout all levels of society, but has it's roots firmly embedded in education. Lesley Jones, Head of Education at the RSA Academy believed this was possible through the Open Minds Curriculum, John Morgan had a slightly different approach with the Enquiring Minds Curriculum. The Thinking Minds curriculum developed in New Zealand is yet another example of that different kind of thinking that will be required in future.

Is this a knee jerk reaction to perceived falling standards in our schools, or could it be just another business opportunity. Ryle and Soper(2002) state that 'schools and Universities, so politicians frequently complain, are failing to fit their students to the job descriptions of the commercially competitive and vocationally specialised work world. But to school leavers and university graduates, this can feel like looking glass logic'. Ken Robinson(2001 p21) goes further and argues that 'in the next 30 years, more people will be gaining formal qualifications through education and training than since the beginning of history. Education and training are now amongst the world's biggest businesses accounting for more than six per cent of world GDP. There is an accelerating demand for educational qualifications of every sort'

The questions we need to ask are:

Why should we change the curriculum?

How do we change the curriculum?

What can we do better that we are already doing?

What are we currently doing that wee should stop doing?

What are we not doing that we should be doing?

Beetham and Sharp (2007 p2) said that 'in the last century, a series of educational thinkers in the west sought to reinstate 'learning' as the central concern of pedagogy, arguing that undue emphasis had been placed on the content of what was taught, and that this had led to rigid and unhelpful habits of instruction' and that 'learners are no longer seen as the passive recipients of knowledge and skills but as active participants in the learning process'.

But can creativity be taught? Creativity involves 'doing something original and of value'. It is a process, a relationship between it's various elements

The challenge for education must be to rebalance to conform to three principles:

Balance across the curriculum;

Balance within the teaching disciplines; and

Balance between education and the wider world.

Create a virtual learning area for parents

Transition between stages - EYFS - KS3

Average size primary school in the UK is 237 pupils -8% os schools in the 401-500 size range

Average class size is 26.2

Average pupil to teacher ratio 21.6 Grange is 15.6

Average adult to pupil ratio 12.4 Grange is 11.22

. describe the context of your study (A description of your school and a brief history of why you were doing the project);

2. the literature on creative teaching and learning (and the implications of this for your study);

3. a description of Action Research methodology (including your review/implementation of new methods/ their evaluation etc);

4. your findings and

5. the implication of your findings for future development of your school your


Ch.4: Summary and Analysis of Research Data 47

Ch.5: Conclusions and Recommendations 63

Ch.6: Evaluation of the Study 79