IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


New project to support primary schools in developing a school-led curriculum

27 April 2023

UCL has launched a new project to support primary school leaders and teachers to rethink their curriculum, in partnership with the Chartered College of Teaching.

Male primary school teacher with two pupils reading pupils' work

The project, called Rethinking Curriculum, is being led by the Chartered College of Teaching, with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0 to 11 Years) (HHCP) at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. It is being funded by the Helen Hamlyn Trust.

The project will bring together teachers, school leaders and researchers to co-design their resources to support school-led curriculum development. In doing so it is hoped that the new curricula will better meet the needs, interests and contexts of children and their communities.

Teachers and school leaders say that teachers’ own proficiency in curriculum design and implementation is an important area for improvement, a forthcoming report from HHCP and the Chartered College of Teaching will say later this year. The Rethinking Curriculum project will also aim to give teachers more support in building their skills and knowledge in this key area.

The first pilot year of the project will invite five schools to join the research, with each school designing and piloting curriculum development resources based on principles, values and areas chosen by them.

While each school curriculum will be different, HHCP and the Chartered College expect that the processes used to build them will be grown and shared, developing professional agency and putting the school community at the heart of curriculum design.

Dominic Wyse, HHCP’s Founding Director, said: “Curriculum is a vital focus of the work we do at the HHCP. In recent years we have undertaken projects on children’s agency in the national curriculum. Our research provides evidence on optimal curriculum and assessment systems. We are thrilled to be working with the Chartered College of Teaching, and to bring our expertise in research to this collaborative project.”

Alice Bradbury, Co-Director of the HHCP and Professor of Sociology of Education at IOE, added: “Curriculum is an important part of what children experience every day in their primary schools. We are excited to be working with the CCT on the Rethinking Curriculum project, to equip teachers with the knowledge, resources and confidence to design and deliver a curriculum that is expansive, inspiring, and connected to their local communities.”

Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching said: “An expansive, inspiring curriculum that connects with local communities is vital for pupils’ learning and wellbeing. But school-led curriculum design is declining, and there are many reasons why schools choose national schemes and off-the-shelf resources. Rethinking Curriculum will work with teachers and leaders to build the skills and knowledge they need so that curriculum development will be sustainable, context-specific and impactful. I’m delighted to partner with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0 to 11 Years) on this exciting project.”



Credit: Phil Meech.