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Educational Innovation: Future Ready Curriculum-St Christopher’s School

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Education_BH: Innovation and Excellence celebrates the remarkable innovations implemented in Bahrain’s schools and universities. We learned about these innovations, the process, the challenges, and the lessons learned from some of the leading educational institutions in the Kingdom. Read more in our latest issue.

A holistic learning framework that fosters competencies for academic success, global citizenship, and personal well-being.

Please share a brief background of your innovation.

Our Future Ready Curriculum articulates St Christopher’s School’s approach to learning through careful curation of all the experiences our students have whilst at school, both in and out of the classroom. Every moment is a learning moment for our children and young people, and, as such, our staff make sure that every interaction, lesson activity, club, or event engages our students and encourages them to grow. This takes the form of considered lesson design, an enriching extracurricular programme of clubs and events, and bespoke Challenge Days throughout the year with a focus on key skill development. Every experience can be related to one of our Future Ready Curriculum domains of AcademicMetacognitionServiceEnterpriseDigital, or Wellbeing.

Through these domain experiences, we aim to develop in our students a series of competencies that will enable them to thrive now and in the future; competencies being the skills, traits and characteristics that ensure success in academic endeavours alongside the development of curiosity, compassion and problem-solving, digital and global citizenship, and equipping students to look after their wellbeing and that of others.

Considering the context of our school, our unique approach is tailored to our students as members of our local and the wider global community. Woven into these competencies, through student-centred learning, are opportunities for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (using the principles of Positive Psychology), and engaging in action towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). This supports us to realise our school’s mission of an ‘Education for a Shared Humanity’.

Now in our third year of implementation, we are focusing on ensuring effective sequencing of learning from Nursery to Year 13 to ensure progression in competency development, based on quality educational research. Through a collaborative process, our teams continue to develop formal curriculum content that is relevant, exciting, and complemented by extracurricular experiences. Armed with the competencies developed through this holistic framework, we believe that St Chris students really will be Role Models for the World.

How was the innovation planned?

The previously developed domain-specific competencies were created through a whole-school collaborative exercise initially involving all colleagues and then refined by a cross-campus curriculum development volunteer team. These competencies formed the framework of our curriculum, and this year our campus teams are engaging in the next step to review our curriculum planning, identifying gaps in competency development, and planning teaching and experiences that enable rich learning to happen through all elements of school life. This involves Curriculum and Pastoral leaders working together in ongoing planning and evaluation.

What were the challenges faced during implementation?

One challenge has always been how to capture and track the development of competencies over time to ensure our students have the best learning experiences. We also needed to reconcile the content and skills students need for their external examinations in the older years alongside these competencies for the future. Ensuring that all members of the community understand our curriculum approach and how these competencies are developed has been a further challenge, given the scope of articulating all the experiences that children and young people are exposed to, particularly in a school as enriching as St Christopher’s.

Our bespoke Future Ready Curriculum planning platform is designed to overcome these challenges by allowing teachers to collaborate in the development of rich resources and schemes of learning. It also enables Curriculum Leaders to map the development of competencies over time as we continue with our sequencing and planning discussions.

Give us a brief assessment of your results.

This year, our colleagues have the dual task of reviewing the curriculum in place for Nursery to Year 9, ensuring that the sequencing of competency development is the best for learning, as well as extending the competency development into Years 10 to 13. The number of activities, including lessons, assemblies and event days, has grown from previous years, with various challenge days and events directly developing teamwork, problem-solving, and a positive approach to learning and directly linked to our Future Ready Curriculum.

Hearing our colleagues engage in discussions about the nature and purpose of their subject, how to best develop the competencies in children and young people, and seeing the collaboration between teams has been fantastic. We’re excited to review and shape the curriculum further this year, as well as explore how to capture our students’ competency development over time.

In hindsight, what were the most valuable lessons learned while implementing the innovation? Could things have been done differently?

Communication has been an important learning point, ensuring that everyone involved in developing and delivering our curriculum is consistent in their understanding of the competencies. This is continually being returned to as we engage in sequencing conversations, as we ensure that colleagues have the time and training to consider their particular areas of the curriculum. We are also developing a series of assemblies and workshops to share these effectively with students.

We have also learned the importance of considering the full range of experiences that children and young people have as part of the mapping process. Not all the competencies are focused on within the classroom, as we recognise the importance and power of extracurricular experiences and interactions in developing domains such as Service or Enterprise.

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