Curriculum Planning Design

Curriculum Planning and Design

Good curriculum design can both ensure pupils remain engaged and improve standards.

The material here supplements Guidance on Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Key Stage 4. It relates to issues that schools will need to consider as they plan to provide a broad, balanced and flexible curriculum.

This advice and guidance is primarily for senior leaders, as it involves a need to consider decisions from a whole-school perspective.

About good curriculum design

In meeting the aim and objectives of the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Key Stage 4 and beyond, schools have to balance offering a broad range of subjects with pupils’ wider experience of the curriculum.

They have to provide clear pathways in terms of progression, skills and careers, keeping young people’s options open and developing their ability to navigate future pathways for themselves and their personal development.

A rapidly changing job market means that school leavers will be engaged with lifelong learning and constant technological change. Creativity, personal agility, adaptability and resilience will be fundamental to their ongoing development.

Even when faced with changing pressures, schools must operate within a statutory framework and enable their pupils to achieve qualifications that help prepare them for the future.

One challenge for school curriculum planners is to provide for the needs of pupils in conditions of constant change. This will mean considering both the requirements of the statutory curriculum and the potential for offering additional experiences that meet pupils’ pastoral and other needs.

Where relevant, each section:

  • outlines suggested courses of action and related issues;
  • points to other sources, such as online reports, where you can read more; and
  • lists questions for curriculum planners to consider and discuss.

We will add resources to this area of the website as these become available.

There will also be opportunities for interactions with schools on curriculum design and planning, and schools will be encouraged and supported to collaborate on good practice. All this will help us build a shared understanding of how schools can offer the best possible breadth and balance of curricular experiences to their pupils.

The Big Picture of the Curriculum at Key Stage 4

It is essential that school leaders embrace "the true spirit" of the NI Curriculum in developing the vision in any school. In this site we celebrate many examples of the excellent practice in NI schools.