How should I choose a curriculum?

Since the removal of the national curriculum, there have been a host of providers that have stepped forward to offer free or paid for curriculums. The main advantage of buying in a curriculum is that some come with associated assessment materials and resources (not usually for free). Different curriculums will suit different schools, but in Arbor you have the freedom to use whichever curriculum makes the most sense to you. Some key things to consider:

  • How big is your curriculum? If you’re going to assess students on every statement consider choosing a smaller curriculum to lower the burden on teachers. Alternatively, pick some ‘Key Performance Indicators’ which are key objectives that students should be able to demonstrate
  • What resources can be found for your curriculum? How much do they cost?

Don’t be afraid to tweak or even totally gut one of the freely available frameworks to make it work for your school - how you assess is your decision and taking someone else’s framework as a starting point is a lot easier than building your own from scratch.

The final key decision in Arbor is to decide how you organise your curriculum. You can easily divide your curriculum into ‘modules’ and ‘submodules’ if you want to. The most common way to do this is along topics (e.g. ‘Number and place value’, ‘Measurement’), but some schools decide they would like to group the statements by when they are taught (e.g. ‘Term 1’, ‘Term 2’) or even to roll multiple years curriculums into one and group by year (e.g. ‘Year 3’, ‘Year 4’)

To make things easier, Arbor comes preloaded with the DfE programs of study, the NAHT assessment framework and the Rising Stars Progression Frameworks, so if you’d like to use any of these, there’s very little setup required!

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