2 September 2014

Using buildings and places within the new secondary curriculum

By the Engaging Places team | 20 December 2008

The new secondary curriculum (launched in September 2008) for key stage 3 learners is now in place across England. The aim of the new curriculum is to:

  • equip learners with personal, learning and thinking skills
  • provide more opportunities for focused support and challenge where needed
  • give schools flexibility to tailor learning to individual and local needs
  • provide cross-curricular learning opportunities.
Photo of young student sitting on steps, sign above head: no unauthorised access

Student from Mossbourne Academy on a CABE 'How places work' visit © Alys Tomlinson

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) provides a helpful starting point for teachers involved in designing curriculum using the following key questions.

  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • How do we organise learning?
  • How well are we achieving our aims?

Engaging Places will support schools in developing a curriculum that makes the most of heritage and built environment learning. Engaging Places has evolved to help teachers identify ways that they can deliver the curriculum aims and enable young people within primary and secondary education to become:

  • successful learners
  • confident individuals
  • responsible citizens.

Engaging Places network
Engaging Places is working with the QCA to create the Engaging Places network – a network of teachers and learning organisations from three areas of England to look at how buildings and places can make the new curriculum real and relevant to young people's learning.

Each partnership will work towards delivering a compelling learning experience for students using the built environment. Projects are being planned using the three key curriculum design questions above.

Schools and learning providers from Yorkshire and The Humber, the south east and London took part in the first Engaging Places workshop in November 2008. A set of regional workshops in January 2009 will help the partnerships develop their planned projects and provide opportunities for networking.

The aim of the network is to provide examples of how using buildings and places and the local environment can help you achieve the goals of the new secondary curriculum. The final projects will be presented on the Engaging Places website to provide you with ideas and a project plan that you can adapt to suit your students.

Read how one network member, St Pius X Catholic High School, will be using the built environment to change their teaching of geography to be incorporated across a variety of subjects.

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