Developing subject leadership – creating curriculum cohesion

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Curriculum, Leadership

Developing subject leadership – creating curriculum cohesion

Learning Cultures and Teaching Times have teamed up to create Developing Subject Leadership – a five module on-line CPD programme.

Why buy this programme?

  • One programme that will support subject leaders across all subjects
  • Powerful videos and presentations for CPD sessions or individual study
  • Resources, materials and activities that can be used again and again
  • Notes and research material to use to strengthen your role as a subject leader
  • Deeply well-researched to focus on leadership, quality in education, curriculum cohesion, team working, assessment and coaching and planning tools to use to support your goals for excellence
  • Opportunity to be coached with an expert curriculum and leadership coach

Have a look at the programme outline on the Teaching Times website.

Read my article below about subject leadership and what constitutes an ambitious and cohesive curriculum.

Subject leadership is pivotal to high quality education outcomes

Subject leadership is pivotal in the quest for curriculum cohesion. Subject leaders must work closely with the Principal or Headteacher to influence the whole school vision and ambition for what the curriculum will achieve. In this context the subject leader must have a very clear idea as to what his or her vision is for their own subject and how they will create strategies that will ensure implementation delivers the impact that dovetails into whole school excellence.

Once the whole school vision is established and there is a consensus as to what the curriculum as a whole is aiming to achieve in terms of learning, pedagogy and progression for all it is then essential that all subject leaders across all subjects have the skills, the will and the capacity to empower their teams to create and deliver breadth and depth of subject content, powerful and innovative teaching and highly effective feedback and assessment. It is essential within this that there is there is consistency across all subjects.

Each subject has content and a way to teach it that is unique.  The subject leader has to be an expert in their own understanding of the aims and purpose of study that is pertinent to their subject. He or she has to work with their subject teams to decide what to teach and to what depth. The pressure to cover the content, to ensure pupils can remember, retain their knowledge and build on that knowledge over time is relentless and sometimes overwhelming.

Defining an ambitious curriculum

The subject leader also has to look at their subject as part of the wider curriculum offer and focus on some of the generic issues that help to ensure that there is curriculum cohesion and a shared understanding of the wider curriculum vision. These are where subject leaders can build consensus and share their practice with other subject leaders and teachers to look at how the component part of the curriculum are woven into a powerful tapestry of learning.

To define an ambitious curriculum is to set the bar high for all subject leaders and their teams. By defining the concept of ambition we can begin to focus on cohesion and a shared understanding of what does constitute the highest quality of learning and teaching. To do this subject leaders need to work together in their quest for excellence and continuing improvement. So, what is an ambitious curriculum in every subject,

  • Planning how knowledge will be taught so that pupils are challenged beyond their comfort zone
  • Creating a sequence to the learning that builds on prior knowledge and states what pupils will achieve at a series of clearly defined end points
  • Understanding how pupils learn and the strategies that will support deep learning, allow pupils to retain their learning and make connections to other learning within a subject and across the curriculum
  • Having a deep conviction that every teacher is a teacher of reading and ensuring that there is a shared approach to a focus on how well pupils read and understand what they are reading
  • Creating opportunities for pupils to develop their skills in speaking and listening in order that they can articulate their understanding and share it with others
  • Defining the meta-cognitive skills for learning that will strengthen pupils’ ability to problem solve, take risks, work collaboratively and develop highly – honed inquiry skills
  • Building a shared dialogue with cross-curricular teams to ensure that where there are connections and overlaps in learning these lead to positive conversations with teachers and with pupils
  • Vocabulary is high on the agenda in every subject and across the wider curriculum. Where pupils deepen their vocabulary knowledge they have much better access to the knowledge within and across subjects
  • Ensuring that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities have access to the full curriculum

This is turning into quite a long list and there may be more. The message here is that the curriculum is a tapestry of learning and there are many component parts that need to be woven together to make learning happen. The subject leader has to create the conditions, build the teams, prepare the professional development, find time to share good and best practice and establish that there is a consensus that pedagogy and learning are indeed of the highest quality.

Glynis has recently published the first of her two books on curriculum, Here is a link to the book Primary Curriculum Design and Delivery.

The second book Sequencing the Secondary Curriculum will be published later in 2024.

Developing Subject Leadership is a flagship online programme for all subject leaders. This programme provides all subject leaders with the opportunity to develop in their role and build highly effective strategies for ensuring intent becomes cohesive and impressive implementation in every subject and across the curriculum.


New Books


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

Find Out More

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