Waterloo Curriculum and Learning Approach
The school went through a very rigorous process to identify what our goals and ambitions would be.
We began with all stakeholders contributing to the ‘backpack’ we organised for our learners. We imagined a child at 3 and tried to identify what were the key skills that every child passing through Waterloo would be required to develop in their backpack to ensure they able to become effective citizens of the future. We started with why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe.
We challenged ourselves, and our perceptions, by looking at research around the skills gap in employment. We imagined what were the core skills and attitudes that might be needed when that child reached 21. We looked at employability statistics and the impact of English and Mathematics. We also considered the flexible workplace skills and soft skills that would be required in order to be successful citizens and to be able to raise a family in economic security. We thought about how we could develop the soft skills of communication and the application of skills to wide contexts to ensure they were given every possible chance to succeed.
We asked ourselves questions such as what, ’would the use of future technology look like?’ For example, identifying that in an information rich age and with extensive web content any future learner would need to be able to consume large amounts of text. They would not need to just to read but to identify bias, identify need, identify important content and compare this content across a wide range of sources of varying quality. They will have to take what they need, use and apply it in any aspect of their life. In short the future will require the most sophisticated and discerning readers’ society has ever produced. We applied these questions to all aspects of our work and looked at a variety of sources which challenged our thinking about the future.
We came up with a range of hard and soft skills and range of attitudes and experiences. We loaded all of them into the child’s backpack as we imagined them moving through school and then we tried to encapsulate them into a clear set of goals. These goals we then turned into a hierarchy.
We ended up with our top line mission.
- Every child a reader, Every Child a writer (Literacy was at the core)
- Every child Numerate (The ability to use, apply and understand Mathematics to Mastery level)
- A school where every child has a chance to shine and is prepared for a future of possibilities. (A range of skills, curriculum opportunities, the application of skills in context and the use of a technology rich curriculum experience).
This order was deliberate though as this would be the filter through which all curriculum and analysis and decision making would be made. We applied this system to our entire decision making.
There are lots of things you could do, lots of things you should do, certain things you must do.
This is how we built our learning across school. Is it perfect? No. Is it working well? We think so and we think we are helping our learners succeed in a future none of us yet can see but we do know they will need to be literate, numerate, engaged and adaptable learners applying wide skills in a wide range of contexts.