My school is in the middle of a curriculum review at the moment. It’s a lengthy process – as are most jobs done well – and although it was started in the summer term, we had a TED before half term that was dedicated entirely to departments. This was a great opportunity, and one that I have never had in over twenty years of teaching. There were some really useful outcomes, so I thought I’d post some thoughts about them over the next few weeks.

The first job that we had all been asked to do was to review the sequencing of our Key Stage 3 curriculum. Now, it may not surprise anyone to hear that we use the Kangaroo Maths schemes of work in my school. Given that nearly six years ago Steve and I started the whole ‘schemes of work for the 2014 curriculum’ process with just such a sequencing activity I felt pretty confident that our curriculum was well structured. But I worked in a different school then, and I moved down the road to my current school two years ago. They (very conveniently) already used the Kangaroo Maths schemes, so I thought it would be interesting – and timely – to do this activity.

Now, some background … Everyone in the department is happy with the content of the units themselves. But we know that students arrive at our school with weak results in fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion when compared to other schools nationally. DfE shares this information with secondary schools and I have it passed on to me. So, when reviewing the sequencing I had that in the back of my mind as something we needed to address. Armed with this information and colourful printouts of the unit names (see below), a colleague and I spent about 90 minutes reviewing from scratch the ordering of the units.

For every one of them, we considered which units were prerequisites of the others – this obviously dictates a lot of the sequencing. But there was flexibility in places. For example, we moved ‘Investigating Angles’ in Year 8 to take place before ‘Visualising and Constructing’ – this is because the way in which we have decided to teach the V&C unit (for which we have a set of lesson plan outlines, resources and assessment – see below) relies on some understanding of angles in diagrams with parallel lines.

Perhaps the biggest headline of our sequencing was the decision to put a Stage 8 unit on Exploring FDP to the very start of Year 7. We are using this to put additional emphasis on the identified weakness previously mentioned, and allow teachers to tackle any misunderstandings in this crucial area straight away.

At the end of it all, we ended up with this:

Now, I hear what you are thinking – if only Kangaroo Maths offered an interactive version of their schemes of work. Well, hmm, you’d be right. And maybe, just maybe, we are working on that.

Anyway, back to school: remember – this took us until breaktime. It got really interesting after that. But you’ll have to wait to find out more!

Useful documents