Greatfields free school in Barking explains how it is refining its civics curriculum to deliver a broad, balanced and engaging range of topics, including essential life skills.
Greatfields School, which lies within the heart of the Gascoigne community in Barking, East London, is a new free school currently with year seven, eight and nine students. Eventually it will grow to a 10-form entry 11-18 school with 1,800 pupils.
Built on the three simple principles of high-quality teaching and learning for all students, a culture of positive behaviour, and high aspirations for all students, the school also places particular value on its civics curriculum.
Head of civics, Sarah Knight, explains how the school plans on delivering its new broad, balanced and engaging curriculum.
We have always included civics in the curriculum but more recently we have been working to refine the structure of our teaching.
With the belief that life skills are a vital part of each child’s development, our head of school, Richard Paul decided that rather than include civics in form time, each week we were going to have a set, hour long lesson focusing on the important topics that aren’t covered to any real depth in social and life awareness.
Many of the school’s students have reduced experience in vital life skills such as communication, understanding and respecting others’ religions, financial management and dealing with stress. So, starting in January, we have scheduled an in-depth curriculum covering all aspects of citizenship and religion.
We have invested in a wonderfully comprehensive online system called Big Life Project, which aims to help time-pressed teachers as no planning is required. All the activities and resources are provided to give the teacher the freedom to deliver each learning objective in a fun, engaging way. Each activity is designed so that the students can reflect on what they’ve learned after the class and access the app for homework.
While we all agree with our head of school’s decision to re-address our focus on the civics curriculum, the work load in creating new lesson plans and learning activities could have been demanding on our time.
Big Life Project has provided us with all we need to deliver years of absorbing and effective learning activities.
Sarah Knight – Head of Civics Greatfields School
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