CPD and curriculum cohesion – the power of professional dialogue

by | Jul 18, 2023 | Curriculum, Leadership

CPD and curriculum cohesion

CPD should be at the forefront of the planning process for those who define ambitious targets that will realise the vision for continuous whole school improvement. The complex weaving of subject concepts, knowledge and depth of understanding along with the skills pupils need to access learning are all threads that develop into a tapestry that defines meaning for pupils from early years to post 16.

I have just finished writing a book, Primary Curriculum Design and Delivery that brings together my own journey to a deeper understanding of the tapestry of learning that creates the primary curriculum.

I am now writing the sister book that looks at the secondary curriculum landscape and how the secret to success is to ensure that there is a sequence that ensures pupils make progress, deepen their learning and retain powerful knowledge over time. This requires a deliberate strategy that takes account of prior learning from key stage 2 and builds a key stage 3 that is different from key stage 4. Key stage 3 is the foundation and the springboard for shaping the skills and knowledge pupils will need to succeed in their GCSEs or equivalent.

I know, because I have undertaken some seriously deep research and consulted widely with academic educational experts that there is a great deal that underpins a powerful understanding of how to shape a rich curriculum offer. It is not simply about a diet of facts across a range of subjects but a carefully constructed jigsaw of the elements that build a pupil’s ability to make sense of the world they will inherit as adults.

At the heart of this is the need to put CPD, the continuous professional development and learning that will give all senior and subject leaders, teachers and teaching assistants the tools and knowledge to design and deliver a visionary curriculum that has substance and ensures seamless learning that transcends key stage 1,2, 3, 4 and beyond.

CPD and curriculum cohesion: building blocks of a successful school

Sequencing the curriculum to create a learning cultureCPD and curriculum cohesion are the building blocks of a successful school, certainly in terms of the emphasis placed on the curriculum in the Education Inspection Framework. CPD should be an integral part of the planning process. A seamless and sequential pathway should be drawn from early years to year 11 and beyond.

Time for subject leaders to work with their subject teams in secondary schools and for phase leaders and their teams in primary schools should be set aside to create a subject specific and cross-curricular consensus for the choice of topics, or themes or particular elements of knowledge to concentrate on. If the curriculum is king then planning time has to be as precious and sacred as lesson time and CPD is at the very heart of ensuring all staff have the skills and knowledge themselves to weave this complex tapestry of learning.

There is a vocabulary to the curriculum that needs to be understood and the meaning shaped into powerful learning opportunities, all of these elements are key,

  • Building on prior learning and sequencing learning to build knowledge and skills over time
  • Defining the substantive knowledge that pupils need to learn over time
  • Knowing the disciplinary knowledge and the skills that allow pupils to understand the nuance of knowledge within a subject
  • Identifying the primary and secondary concepts that are implicit in each subject and that can transcend subjects, topics and themes
  • Planning the incorporation of the meta-cognitive skills that are essential for learning and thinking
  • Understanding cognitive overload and the importance of the working and long term memory
  • Developing a growing competence in pupils’ literacy skills in English and in all subjects and the wider curriculum
  • Capture the maths concepts taught in maths lessons that are used in context in subjects across the wider curriculum to support mastery and clarity as to purpose
  • Creating the opportunities for pupils to reflect, refresh, recall and retain knowledge through highly effective pedagogy for learning

All of the above and more require all those involved in the design and delivery of a curriculum that will deliver the school vision and the curriculum intent. However, it is also about the creative zest and spirit that needs to also be there to design and deliver a curriculum that inspires and motivates pupils to want to learn and who are motivated to accept challenge.

Creating CPD that has a lasting impact on whole school improvement

There is profound evidence that most CPD or INSET has little impact over time. This is because it is often piecemeal, does not reflect the essential and individual school or college vision for change and challenge and is not shared and disseminated following on from an individual’s training experience.

Learning Cultures’ approach is both unique and innovative. We are all professional coaches and curriculum experts. We have all held senior positions in education and we are all passionate about pedagogy and learning. Our presentations, resources and materials are designed to challenge delegates during their training experience but also to take back to their colleagues to be shared, cascaded and disseminated widely so that the learning and the professional development is sustainable and has a profound impact on individual, team and whole school improvement.

Some of the CPD courses we can deliver online, on-demand or in a venue. Otherwise visit our website and have a look. Our satisfaction rate is 99.5% and we know that we make a difference.

If you would like to talk to me, Glynis Frater directly please call 07974 754241 or email me on glynis@learningcultures.org. I look forward to hearing from you.

New Books


The book ‘Primary Curriculum Design and Delivery by Glynis Frater‘ has now been published.

Find Out More

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