1st Edition

Secondary Curriculum Transformed Enabling All to Achieve

By Meena Kumari Wood, Nick Haddon Copyright 2021
    266 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    More than ever, secondary curriculum requires greater flexibility and adaptability so young people learn the relevant knowledge and key skills they need for the evolving world of training and employment. This practical guide, both radical and progressive, makes a compelling argument for a secondary curriculum that addresses the needs and aspirations of all students. A balanced approach will help reform students’ attitudes and behaviours and re-ignite their curiosity and motivation for learning.

    Secondary Curriculum Transformed proposes an ambitious GCSE five-year journey inclusive of academic, creative and technical subjects, including T-Levels and mandatory key skills. To equip young people with this critical knowledge and key skills, the book:

    • transforms the 11–19 curriculum so it does not disadvantage, marginalise or exclude young people;
    • showcases excellent practice case studies from British and international contexts;
    • provides curriculum models which schools can adapt to their own context;
    • signposts educational research and listens to the ‘student voice’; transforming them into leaders of their learning.

    Offering a comprehensive model for leaders and teachers to put the evidence into practice, this is essential reading for all education professionals.

    There are also additional templates, PowerPoints, useful links and other resources which can be downloaded from www.routledge.com/9780367900878. Offering a comprehensive model for leaders and teachers to put the evidence into practice, this is essential reading for all education professionals.

    Introduction: Secondary Curriculum Transformed so Every Student Achieves. Section 1: Change Levers: Transforming Curriculum  1. Transformational Levers for Change  2. The Impact of Technologies and Employment Trends  3. Students at the Heart of Curriculum  Section 2: The Students’ Voice: an inclusive and equitable curriculum  4. A curriculum for SEND and vulnerable students  5. Engage and Achieve: reducing exclusions  Section 3: Phenomenal learning  6. Knowledge through Skills  7. Consolidating and Assessing Knowledge and Skills  8. Conceptual Thinking Skills  Section 4: Mandatory Key Skills: leading to citizenship and employability skills  9. Digitalisation permeating our lives  10. Oracy Skills  11. Creative Skills across Curriculum  12. Cultural Capital and Citizenship  Section 5: Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact  13. Curriculum Intent and Vision  14. Implementation: Curriculum Pathways  15. Impact: Quality Assuring Education  Section 6: Redefining social disadvantage and cultural capital: The extended learning community  16. Human and Social Capital  17. Creating a Learning Community Section 7: The Curriculum Journey: managing key transition points  18. Primary Transition: Head start to Secondary  19. Next Step Choices: Careers Education, Information, Advice, and Guidance (CEIAG)  Conclusion.


    Meena Kumari Wood has worked across the British and International Education sectors. She is an Educational Consultant. She was a former HMI (OFSTED), DfE Adviser and Principal in secondary schools and of an Adult College. Her insights into education are shaped by placing learners’ aspirations at the heart of curriculum.

    Nick Haddon is Vice Principal of 11–19 Academy. His impactful QCDA research on deprivation and attainment inform his commitment to whole school curriculum and behaviour reform.

    "This is a thought provoking book that challenges head-on the manner in which schools ensure that the experience of education that they offer is equitable and fair for all. Richly populated with school and college case studies the text combines theory with proven practice examples. An informative read that extends teachers' thinking beyond accepted norms, engaging the reader with how we might use gains from cognitive science to both improve inclusive pedagogy and provide relevant curriculum pathways. Highly recommended."

    - Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching

    "I commend this excellent book which addresses the relationship between the purpose and relevance of the school curriculum and its tangible impact on young people. I fully support the central stance of the book that children must be at the centre of the curriculum debate. I am particularly delighted by the emphasis on a broad and balanced curriculum which ensures parity of academic, technical and creative pathways. Alongside this, shouldn’t we teach our young people critical and conceptual thinking so they deepen their understanding of the knowledge they acquire?

    We do need to move away from a purely knowledge-led curriculum to a knowledge and skills model. We are being asked a crucial question. Is the curriculum fit for purpose, and does it sit within the real world?"

    - Les Walton CBE FRSA

    "Secondary Curriculum Transformed is one of the avant-garde ideas at reconceptualizing how we view the education of our children. The book focuses on the UK system of education, but I have found that comparing the UK curriculum with the U.S. curriculum really brings forth a new perspective on change. The authors really focus their attention on making education not only successful but practical for all students."

    - John Essington, Professor of Education, Blackburn College, USA

    "My long-awaited copy of Secondary Curriculum Transformed arrived finally and what a great resource it is... A whole chapter is devoted to staff development within SEN provision for vulnerable students... A great and comprehensive resource, which I strongly recommend! Take your fill!"

    - Wendy Mendez Lumley MCCT FRSA, Teacher/Maths Tutor, Ruskin College

    "This excellent book deserves to be a well-thumbed addition to every staff room and every leader’s office and is essential reading for all those committed to improving our schools. Highly recommended."

    - Colin Hopkins, Executive Director, RSA Academies 

    "This book should have a place on essential reading lists. As a classroom teacher with over thirty years experience I can appreciate the nuances and insight in this book; it is relevant, it has case studies with the voice of students. It is a book with a plethora of timeless ideas for organising what can be achieved through a school's curriculum. Brilliant!"

    - Dave Martin, English Teacher

    "This book is a timely reminder that the curriculum is fundamental and key to developing a generation of learners who have the skills to adapt to the modern workforce demands. The section on implementing curriculum models is full of ideas and is easily adaptable. A book that is not only informative but enabling too. Well worth a read."

    - Meena Gabbi, Principal of Montsaye Academy part of Pathfinder Trust

    "A fabulous, thought provoking read reinforcing the need for educationalists to reflect on the curriculum from a grassroots level and onward."

    - Shaila Trivedi, Director of Behaviour for Learning

      "The book is contemporary reflecting the educational landscape, the issues and priorities that are present and emerging. It is well researched, entirely relevant and solution focused for today."

      - Lucy Westley, University of Northampton, United Kingdom 

      "I wholeheartedly recommend Secondary Curriculum Transformed to all curriculum leaders as it provides such high quality stimulus material with which they can review and plan to redesign their own schools’ model."

      - Professor Colin Diamond CBE, School of Education, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

      "Much is written about school curriculum, but little has been done on the need for greater flexibility of secondary curriculum for students to learn the relevant knowledge and key skills for world of employment. This interesting book is, however, unique, and clearly captures the current curriculum debate and provides curriculum models which schools can adopt to their own context with excellent values-led case studies... It is highly recommended for educationalists, school leaders, teachers, researchers, school improvement practitioners and policy makers."

      - Feyisa Demie, BERA

      "Secondary Curriculum Transformed successfully unpicks the nature of the curriculum and how its breadth and depth can impact upon children’s outcomes and considers how schools can provide a more equitable and inclusive curriculum. The authors’ philosophy of putting children first is evident. There are useful and informative suggestions relating to special populations and marginalised groups with the premise that children in our schools deserve to reach their potential and the considerations necessary to make this happen. Overall, this is a well written book that effectively addresses the challenges of secondary education in 2021 and beyond offering valuable insight into a range of strategies used in settings and the theoretical concepts that underpin these principles. Most importantly, the book’s positionality of ‘child centred’ is evident and refreshing throughout."

      - Emma Whewell, University of Northampton, UK

      "This book has eloquently captured a contemporary curriculum debate that, rightly so, places children as paramount and central to the discussion. This is a ‘must read’ for seasoned practitioners and school leaders, newly qualified and early career teachers, researchers and policy makers in the field of education."

      - David J. Malachi, Deputy Headteacher (Transforming the Curriculum), London Enterprise Academy, UK

      "This book is a game-changer in terms of modern-day educational approaches. I cannot remember a time recently where I have read something so honest yet straightforward. Whilst it is open and clear about the restraints of the National Curriculum, it makes many references to its purpose and fundamental positives.

      As a teacher and school leader the ideas described are exactly what we, as educators, have been wanting for 10+ years. A curriculum that is not "one-size fits all". So many educators across the country feel let down by the current regime and genuinely break their hearts when they see ex-pupils fail to fulfill their potential. I can only imagine if some of my ex-pupils were able to have access to a personalised secondary curriculum. It would most definitely have positively impacted their lives.

      Pupil-Progress Reviews and the link to CPD is excellent. There is so much confusion surrounding this idea that the clarity and importance the book gives to this, is enlightening. I can imagine many young teachers reading this book in a few years time, wishing they had these ideas when they were NQTs.

      As someone who has trialled the idea of Pupil Progress Reviews across two continents, I can say that they work magnificently in bringing the community of staff, pupils and parents together. They provide clarity where it is lacking and support pupils in seeing their potential, should they choose to use it. I’m delighted that these ideas have been highlighted in the book.

      So well written, clear, with an easy approach, this book will help teachers and leaders transform their schools."

      - Jennifer McGuigan, School Improvement Partner, United Arab Emirates

      "This unique book is a must read for those that want to realign the curriculum to their vision and values. It captures a range of case studies and examples that are relevant and thought provoking, designed to support leaders at all levels. Above all else, this is a reflective guide to help us to improve the educational outcomes of all."

      - Wasim Butt, Principal TBAP, UK

      "Secondary Curriculum Transformed is one of those rare books, that clearly unpicks why the importance of curriculum is now, more than ever, so integral to the success of schooling in the UK. Throughout the text, we are guided through the ever changing landscape of education, and through the use of clear case studies and underpinned with the best of research, a compelling argument for why it is important to equip our students with both the knowledge and the skills to be successful in an ever changing world. The case is made articulately for a curriculum which balances traditional academia with the need for creative thinking and critical literacy. Importantly, this book also begins to unravel the need for schools to balance the academic curriculum with the wider cultural capital which is so important in building successful learners and allowing social mobility. This is an absolute must read for any school leader rethinking the purpose and intent of schooling in the UK and for anyone committed to reviewing what is taught and more importantly how it is taught in our schools.’

      - Elroy Cahill, Headteacher, Kingsley Academy, UK

      "I am taking away so much… I have explored new concepts, had meaningful professional discussions and found myself equipped with a range of skills that I can share with colleagues to make meaningful changes to benefit our entire school community... Will reinvigorate and energise a focus on the basis fundamentals that are all too often overlooked."

      - School Principal, Seminar Attendee