Why do we need a broad and balanced curriculum?

Jasmin Choudhury

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The curriculum is one of the most talked about topics in all countries and throughout the ages. So why is the broad and balanced curriculum essential to the educator?


It is important because it is the key to unlocking children’s potential and closing the gap of inequality. Children who are exposed to a rich and varied curriculum, loaded with experiences and life skills -which challenge and develop them, often grow into confident young people who have ownership of their learning and life choices.
 

Whether you are an early years practitioner or a primary/secondary school teacher, your influence is paramount on a young person’s life as you help shape their view of the world.

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"Each stage will be a journey and will help shape the young person either negatively or positively."


In July, every year, children in Y6, Y11 and Y13 will leave their schools to take on the next stage of their lives. It is an emotional journey for parents, teaching staff and carers alike and of course, for the children.

Each stage will be a journey and will help shape the young person either negatively or positively. It is our job as educators to ensure they are prepared, rich with experiences and have the resilience and stamina to overcome each hurdle and celebrate each success in their lives.

Between the ages of 11 and 22 years old, most children will have taken their first national exams (Y6 SATS, GCSEs and possibly A’ Levels and BTECS). By then, young people will have experienced fear, failure, love and even sadly for some, loss. They will also realise they are accountable for their own outcomes.

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Furthermore, they will have also experienced changes to their bodies and emotions and will have possibly had their first or second relationship. For some young people, they may be beginning to understand their sexual orientation or gender affiliations. In addition, they will be trying to hone their skills and hopefully, be trying to seize or be offered opportunities so that they can be successful adults.

Mid-August –always signals results time in the UK! Both teachers and pupils in secondary schools and colleges will be anxiously awaiting these with nervy anticipation. For pupils who complete A-Levels or BTECs and other courses- the decisions made in mid-August when results come out will herald the way forward for them.

For some young people- there will be sheer elation as they have managed to get into their university of choice or are in an apprenticeship they have chosen. Some will be preparing to follow alternative choices e.g. taking a gap year or joining fulltime employment. Others will be thinking hard and reflecting deeply, full of disappointment -needing to adapt their dreams. They may not have got the results they wanted and are anxiously going through clearing *or thinking of retakes.

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The idea that this all happens all in the space of 10 years can be overwhelming! We need to teach them that life happens! This can only be done by teaching them a broad and balanced curriculum. There will be other things that define them other than exam results.

As educators, we need to show them that it is about bouncing back and re-configuring their pathway and more importantly, turning it into a success that is key! It is our duty to prepare children from 0 to beyond.

We must plan and prepare for the children we teach and try to envisage what the future will look like for them in 10 years’ time. If you are an EYFS teacher teaching 4 and 5 year olds, your role is to prepare them so they can be successful at 14!

 

"... as educators, it is crucial that we prepare and equip them for life beyond the school confines."

 

Similarly, if you are a Y6 teacher, in 10 years’ time, your pupils will hopefully be graduating from university or finishing an apprenticeship. Those children taking part in GCSEs will hopefully be in employment or travelling, perhaps settled down in a relationship may also be thinking about buying their first home. They may even be thinking of having their first child or are parents already.

Sadly, sometimes life doesn’t always work out the way we want! – Which is why as educators, it is crucial that we prepare and equip them for life beyond the school confines. This preparation starts in the foundation years.

While we can’t control what happens at home or outside of school, we can influence them while they are with us by delivering a broad and balanced curriculum!

*Clearing in the UK is a process managed by UCAS (University and Colleges Admission Services) that gives students the opportunity to find a course at university if they haven’t managed to secure one.

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About our Community Expert

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Jasmin Choudhury
Community Expert

Jasmin has extensive experience of working in a variety of settings which have included being recruited to work schools in special measures and concern as well as outstanding.

Jasmin has been qualified as a teacher for over 20 years and has been a Deputy Head, working mainly in some of the most deprived and challenging schools in the UK.

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