Many curricula do not help to maximise students' achievement at GCSE. They are focussed on 'content coverage' and not well aligned with the challenging demands of GCSE: applying knowledge (AO2) and analysing knowledge (AO3).
Blueprint, our 5-year, big ideas curriculum framework, is a coherent 5-year plan that is fully aligned with GCSE:
- Aligned goals (objectives) for Apply (AO2) and Analyse (AO3)
- Aligned teaching with learning stages to help students master concepts
- Aligned assessment with pre-assessments, diagnostic and summative tests
Kickstart Tools is a kit to help you transition from an existing year 7/8 plan to Blueprint. The 3 tools take you through the steps to align the objectives, teaching and assessment of your units with GCSE outcomes. Kickstart Tools is included in the Workshops and Online Course.
1. Audit units in your current scheme against Blueprint
First, find out exactly where in your current schemes you teach each Blueprint concept. The Audit tool consists of ready-made spreadsheets for doing this with publisher's schemes like OUP and the AQA KS3 Science Syllabus.
Second, check how well the goals (objectives) and teaching plan in your current scheme align with the objectives in Blueprint. Your current scheme may cover the specification content but does it prepare students for the demands of applying (AO2) and analysing (AO3) knowledge? The 5 stages in the Blueprint learning pathway are a reliable way to achieve the depth of conceptual understanding that GCSE now demands.
The Audit tool sets out the requirements for each learning stage, so you can rate them as 'aligned' or 'not well aligned'. When we have tried the tool on several publishers schemes, we found that the units are 'not well aligned'.
2. Align the teaching and assessment to GCSE outcomes
Step 2 is to improve units that you decided in step 1 are 'not well aligned'. You can either come up with better teaching activities yourself, or use the Alignment tool which contains our teaching ideas for all concepts in Y7 and 8. These teaching ideas are designed to integrate scientific thinking skills, maths and literacy. Here is an example of the teaching ideas for the year 7 unit Interdependence. Click on the image to go to the planner and see the details of each stage
3. Adapt the 5-year plan to your needs
Do you need to start Blueprint in year 9 or 10? Do you want to organise concepts into thematic units? With this tool, you can customise Blueprint to your needs while still preserving the coherence of the progression of concepts, and the coverage of scientific thinking skills. The Adaptation tool allows you control over your curriculum plan, by giving you all the curriculum information in the form of connected spreadsheets. With the tool, you can:
- Plan a switch in year 9/10, based on what you have taught
- Move concepts or units and maintain the progression
- Validate coverage of specification requirements
- Monitor curriculum time across 5 years
- Share the plan and collaborate with colleagues
- Publish your curriculum plan