New curriculum based on personalised learning to be introduced

18 July 2006

Students trialling the new Enquiring Minds curriculum An innovative curriculum, designed to explore the principles of personalised learning, will be trialled in two Bristol secondary schools from September 2006. Ashton Park School in Bower Ashton and Gordano School in Portishead will implement the new curriculum which will focus on students' own lives in order to bring education to life. The initiative is part of the Enquiring Minds three-year research and development project to pioneer personalised learning in practice, led by education innovator, Futurelab, in partnership with Microsoft.

The Enquiring Minds curriculum allows teachers and pupils to negotiate the content of their learning and is designed to allow pupils to gradually take more control over how they learn. The approach will involve Year 7 and 8 pupils, with the aim of encouraging young people to draw on their own experiences to produce knowledge that is meaningful to them. The schools will work from the new curriculum for up to three hours per fortnight throughout 2006. It is expected that 60 pupils and four teachers from each school will take part.

Ross Martland, Assistant Headteacher for KS3 at Gordano School, said: "I am excited that we are establishing space in the curriculum for students to co-create their learning with teachers, without traditional subject constraints. Our aim is to use a mosaic of student's lives as a basis for extended questioning and enquiry. We want students to ask big questions and to come up with rich answers and solid reasoning."

Enquiring Minds supports young learners to take responsibility for their own learning and equips them with the skills and tools, including digital technologies, required for effective learning. This approach allows children to act as researchers and innovators and not simply as the recipients of knowledge, and so better prepares them for life and work in the 21st century.

The new curriculum, along with a draft handbook for educators who would like to see how this approach could be implemented in practice, is available to download from the Enquiring Minds website.

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