DEVELOPING A FUTURE READY CURRICULUM
There is a sense that education is on the cusp of significant change. Across the country, school leaders are engaging in a broad and robust debate about how best to prepare their pupils for the world of the 2030s, 2040s and beyond, and the economic, social and technological opportunities and challenges of the future.
July’s Future Fwd Conference will be a fantastic opportunity for business leaders, entrepreneurs and educationalists to come together to discuss and reimagine how the schools of the future will operate, and how curriculum innovation in the present can best prepare our young people for a rapidly changing workplace.
At King’s High Warwick curriculum innovation is part of our DNA. Our Curriculum of the Future Project is currently underway and is designed to encourage deep thinking and intelligent discussion around five core questions:
What will be different about the world into which our students graduate in 5, 10, or 20 years’ time?
What are the next stages in the development of our use of technology to aid student learning?
What are the dispositions and character attributes that will be most highly valued by employers in the future?
Which elements of the curriculum could be developed to reflect the growing political, environmental and social priorities of our times?
How can our curriculum and broader educational experience enable our students to succeed and thrive in their future lives and careers?
The project outcomes will be extensive and impactful as we work hard to ensure that our educational offer is innovative, forward-thinking and future-inspired.
TWO NEW GCSE EQUIVALENTS
A project outcome is the development of two new, GCSE equivalent, ‘Future-Ready Courses’, designed in collaboration with experts from higher education and industry. The new courses will be launched for first teaching in September 2022 and they have already proved to be very popular among our students within our GCSE options process.
From September, we will have more than 50 pupils starting the new courses. The aim is to provide powerful and inspiring alternatives for our students which will enable them to explore new and future-facing domains of knowledge, promote creative and innovative thinking, and which adopt a different assessment model to the terminal assessments of GCSEs.
'INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP'
Sustainable Engineering - introduces students to a host of new technologies so that they gain practical skills to understand how engineering solutions can mitigate the effects of climate change and help humanity live more sustainably.
Data Analysis - teaches the skills that will help our students analyse, evaluate and contrast large and complex data sets.
Neuroscience - will enable students to understand the structure and function of the nervous system, neurons, and the brain with a focus on neuropathologies and the bioethical issues stemming from this.
Entrepreneurship - will explore theories of business and enterprise before requiring students to put these into practice through a pupil-designed business venture.
Social Justice - explores wealth inequality, causes of poverty, racial and gender inequality with a strong focus on critical and creative thinking, problem-solving and collaborative learning.
Climate Change - introduces our students to climate science, the natural systems maintaining the Earth’s climate, the human impacts on these systems, and how scientists monitor climate systems.
Global Citizenship - examines the inter-connectivity of nation states and requires students to reflect on politics, economics and global development, covering topics including democracy and the nation state, international law and human rights, and social media and citizenship.
Law and Legal System - allows students to practise advocacy skills whilst exploring topics including criminal law, law and the media, police powers, and the law and feminism.
DIFFERENT METHODS OF ASSESSMENT
The new courses will combine in-depth knowledge with a sharp focus on the valuable skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, oracy and digital literacy. Moving away from the heavy GCSE focus on written examination and terminal assessment, the new Future-Ready Courses will combine modular written assessment with a much broader range of assessment methods including TED-style talks, presentations, ‘viva voce’ discussion, film-making and business planning.
For example, the assessed component of the Sustainable Engineering module will see students build model electric vehicles, wind-powered generators and load-supporting frames; the assessed component of the Law and Legal System module will see students practice advocacy skills in a courtroom scenario.
As one of the first schools in the country to be designing courses in these new subject domains, and using innovative assessment methods, we hope that our experiences will encourage and inform wider innovation as educationalists reflect on the current system and curriculum and consider how best to prepare their pupils for the future and the profound social, cultural and economic changes that will accompany the Age of Artificial Intelligence.