Descriptions of the main themes and topics that our speakers intend to cover in their sessions are outlined below to assist you in gaining a strong overview of the conference:


The opening session of the second national Curriculum Design conference will consider the principles of good curriculum planning and thinking in the context of poverty and supporting the education of disadvantaged pupils. The session will revisit what research says about effective curriculum thinking and planning, poverty and how we understand the impact and consequences of this in schools, looking beyond Pupil Premium as a proxy for poverty and understanding pupil need, and listening to children, young people and others as part of curriculum planning. Sean Harris will then consider what this means in practice, especially in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated existing disadvantage and thrust many more families into poverty.



The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to children's educational experience during the past year presents a number of challenges for schools, with clear implications for our curriculum design, planning and delivery from September. But what are the key considerations and how can we avoid the deficit model of "catch-up at all costs"? In this workshop, we will hear about how Bede Academy has prepared its primary curriculum in order to meet these challenges. Assistant Vice Principal Paul Tallent will present a series of curriculum considerations in light of the on-going disruption to teaching and learning, touching upon issues such as prioritising key knowledge, maintaining a broad curriculum, and avoiding overcrowding. Importantly, these considerations will be presented alongside the action steps that Bede Academy has followed and intends to follow from September. Paul will also share some of his experience of adapting the school's curriculum over the past year and lessons learned going forward.


Paul Haigh:

This session will draw directly from the presentation that Paul Haigh delivered to his own school's staff regarding how the large secondary school intends to support students in the months to come. At the core of the philosophy is quality of teaching (especially for vulnerable learners), great attendance, great behaviour and a great attitude to learning. The focus is on the long-term and building back better, the use of homework, pastoral support, careers progression (with an ambition for zero NEETs), and eradicating the digital divide. In this session, Paul will discuss his strategy's key components, tell us how things have gone so far (including any early lessons learnt), and update us on his curriculum and recovery planning for September.


Bennie Kara:

In this presentation for primary and secondary colleagues, Bennie Kara, an experienced teacher and school leader, co-founder of #DiversEd and author of A Little Guide for Teachers: Diversity in Schools, will offer practical advice, ideas, and tips to help you audit, review, and revise your curriculum in the context of diversity, inclusion & equality. Bennie has worked with many schools to help them diversify their curriculum and will draw upon her experience as she details the key steps and considerations involved in the process. Bennie will also address common challenges and barriers and signpost to useful resources.


Just how do you go about reforming, revamping and revising your curriculum offer? In this workshop, experienced primary school leader Julie Norman will discuss her experiences undertaking complete curriculum reform, both in schools as well as across an entire MAT. She will discuss the key processes, working with colleagues, parental engagement, working with partner secondary schools and more. In one school, Julie led the move to a Character Curriculum which focused on sense of self, sense of others and sense of the world. In her last two schools she went so far as to get rid of subjects altogether and put all learning objectives into these three learning areas. The workshop will describe this journey as well. Ultimately, Julie will aim to offer practical advice for those charged with reforming or revising their primary school curriculum in the coming months.


Laura McPhee: WORKSHOP, 

This practical workshop will share the work of Loughborough Primary School ( in creating a diverse curriculum. The school has drawn on the work of Orlene Badu, a system lead for the Young Black Men Project, as well as its link governor for diversity and inclusion Dr Nic Mullings, who holds a doctorate in race in education. Headteacher Laura McPhee will discuss how to devise a roadmap for decolonising the curriculum, ensuring the appropriate accountability measures/systems and structures are in place, improving racial literacy, collaboration with the school community, widening your network to include local and national organisations that champion justice, and equality through community action and education. The workshop will also discuss the role of governors, including Dr Mullings' role in co-authoring the school's mission statement for diversity and inclusion and heading the Diversity and Inclusion task force of governors that monitor this work.



At January's Curriculum Design conference, Matt’s keynote explored curriculum intent - all the planning that happens before teaching happens. He articulated a six-step process of curriculum design and development. This time around, he explores the final two stages of the process: implementation - how to translate your curriculum plans into classroom practice; and impact - how to evaluate the effectiveness of your curriculum plans, teaching, learning and assessment, and student outcomes. He will offer practical insights, ideas and advice to support your school's curriculum work and Ofsted preparation. For those of you who missed the first presentation on impact, Matt's six-step approach is described across two episodes of The SecEd Podcast:



Elliott (1994) argues that there is often a conflict between a school's actual values, those it professes, those it manifests, and those it markets. In this context, curriculum design takes on a new meaning: pupils may learn what we teach but, significantly, they learn by how we teach (Brady, 2011).

Schools often focus on the school-leaver as the end product. However, Southend High School for Boys imagines its students a decade after they have left. What will they be doing? How will they be living? What will they be like?

In this workshop, Dr Bevan takes a practical look at what this means in practice, and how his school has embedded this ethos within its curriculum teaching and delivery. He will discuss how our actions as school leaders can be consistent with our values and how provision and the activities with which pupils engage can be aligned with a school's purpose (Thornberg, 2008). Dr Bevan will touch upon a number of approaches that result in effective provision for this kind of values-led education and will discuss how his school has prioritised active engagement in social action as part of its curriculum.



In this session, Assistant Vice Principal Robbie Burns will share the evidence-informed principles that underpinned how he led the development of his primary school's humanities curriculum from non-existent to quality mark status in two subjects in just under two years. This experience led to Robbie supporting schools across the country with their curriculum development and he will also discuss some of the common challenges he has seen and how to overcome them, as well as his "lessons learned". The session will be practical in nature with resources and examples to take away.



The Halifax Academy is an all-through school and as such affords its teachers the opportunity to create a coherent and sequenced curriculum from five to 16. But what lessons can standalone primary and secondary schools learn from the work at Halifax Academy? In this workshop, headteacher Matt Perry will share the work his team has done around aligning the different phases of education to create a coherent approach. The session will touch upon five key transition points (Reception & Y1, Y2-4, Y5-7, Y8&9, Y10&11), an all-through curriculum in the context of Ofsted’s EIF, what we mean by terms like “stage-ready”, and how key skills like oracy, problem-solving, wellbeing and creativity can be placed at the heart of the curriculum and embedded into learning. Furthermore, Matt will discuss how Covid-19 has created an opportunity for a rethink and thinking differently about curriculum design and school organisation.



In this workshop, SecEd author and SENCO Sanjo Jeffrey will discuss her school's work to audit their curriculum offer to ensure it is diverse and inclusive. She will take a practical look in particular at how they "decolonised" their curriculum, drawing on activities they did at school in the wake of George Floyd's death in the USA and the rise of the global #BlackLivesMatter movement. She will discuss their approaches including creating a curriculum working party and a purpose statement to guide this vital work. At the heart of this was an audit of the curriculum – but what did this look like, how was it undertaken, who was involved, and what barriers needed to be overcome? Sanjo will also discuss a key ingredient in this work – that of the students' voice. How was this sought and included in a meaningful manner? Sanjo will discuss the outcomes of this work and what the school's next steps and on-going considerations are when it comes to ensuring delivery of a diverse and relevant curriculum for its students.


Catharine Wensley: WORKSHOP, SECONDARY

This workshop will take a practical look at the recent whole curriculum review conducted at St Edward's CE Academy. Delegates will be taken step-by-step through the process, what and who was involved, the implementation, the outcomes and the lessons learned along the way. Deputy Headteacher Catharine Wensley will discuss how decisions were made and the thinking underpinning these decisions. The review transformed the school's curriculum from the ground-up – starting from the school's vision and values – and focused on a seven-year journey through the curriculum, incorporating student voice, the school's appraisal system, Ofsted requirements, and considering the long-term impact of the curriculum on students. Everything at the school is now viewed through the "lens of the curriculum" and is tightly tied to the school's ethos and values. The school has also undertaken subject-specific curriculum reviews and has considered its longer term structures for curriculum management, revision, and delivery. In this workshop, Catharine will give a practical, whistle-stop tour of this work, offering her advice and lessons learned, and signposting to a range of useful resources that the school has used and/or created.



The role of subject leaders in curriculum design has been put front and centre in the new Ofsted framework and is a particular challenge for primary schools. In this workshop, Anthony David will look at the subject leader role, including what is expected from a modern subject leader and what Ofsted’s expectations are of subject leaders when it comes to inspecting a school’s curriculum. The session will also consider the subject leader’s monitoring role, including lesson visits, book scrutiny (where appropriate), classroom environment, pupil voice, reporting to governors – all the the context of curriculum intent, implementation & impact. Other areas of discussion will include managing CPD, directed time and digital evidence. In this session Anthony will draw upon the middle leadership handbook that his schools have developed as well as case studies of curriculum development and subject leadership from both schools.



This presentation will explain the work undertaken at The Hazeley Academy to diversify its curriculum and promote equality and inclusion across subject disciplines. As part of curriculum development work across the school, a number of subjects have focused on celebrating diversity and promoting equality. At the heart of the approach is the idea that every curriculum subject is unique, which means that equality, diversity & inclusion will mean something different for each of them.

Assistant Principal Steve Whitney will take us through the results of this work so far in subjects including geography, history, philosophy and ethics, and MFL. Subject leaders have been empowered to lead on this work. They were able to define their own success criteria and this has led to a range of approaches, innovations and great impact. Approaches include improving resources, representation and vocabulary in MFL, "decolonising" the history curriculum while focusing further on civil rights and world history, and focusing in more depth on racism, sexism and LGBT+ rights in philosophy and ethics.

The presentation will touch upon the use of student voice and will explain how the school's equality group is set up, operates and contributes to this work.



This prerecorded, on-demand workshop, is relevant to both primary and secondary colleagues. No Outsiders ( is an approach to teaching primary-aged children about diversity and tolerance, for which Andrew Moffat was nominated for the Global Teacher Prize. However, Andrew has undertaken much work focused on what happens to No Outsiders pupils when they head to secondary school. Ultimately, this workshop will discuss how we can and must embed equality, inclusion, diversity across our national and school curricula, why this work is vital, and how schools might go about embedding these approaches and this ethos into their existing curricula. Andrew will seek to offer practical ideas and advice to help schools, primary and secondary, ensure their curriculum is inclusive and promotes equality. The session will touch upon how No Outsiders is effectively delivered at primary level and how secondary schools can adopt and adapt the No Outsiders ethos for their settings.