Preston woman's new curriculum is paying dividends at Blackpool's Waterloo school

Mike Hamblett with  curriculum author Elaine Sutton(centre)  and some of the teacher on the launch workshopMike Hamblett with  curriculum author Elaine Sutton(centre)  and some of the teacher on the launch workshop
Mike Hamblett with curriculum author Elaine Sutton(centre) and some of the teacher on the launch workshop
A new curriculum designed by a Lancashire educationalist, which has climate change and conservation at its core , is being hailed such a success it will be rolled out to schools across the country from September

Engaging pupils and motivating them to want learn is every teacher’s goal - but as most know it’s not that easy.

Now though former teacher Elaine Sutton from Preston has devised a new form of curriculum which is already paying dividends.

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Waterloo Primary Academy in Blackpool is among the first to introduce her curriculum aimed at getting pupils to engage with, tackle and learn about challenging and inspiring 21st Century issues from world conservation to climate change.

Headteacher Mark Hamblett said it is already proving a hit with pupils and adds: “When I arrived in this post, the school was using a curriculum that had been written 10 years earlier and had been tweaked each year to reflect changes in the National Curriculum.

“It just wasn’t fit for purpose anymore. It was not personalised for our children. It allowed inequality from class to class and teacher to teacher. So, we took a brave leap not to just follow the National Curriculum.

“When we heard about Learning Means the World, we wanted to jump in with both feet – we knew it was perfect for us.”

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Mark introduced the new curriculum, together with mixed ability classes to make the school all-inclusive and, along with seeing attendance levels soar and staff workload plummet, he says “It’s had a massive, positive impact on teaching and learning.

“Children are excited about learning and teachers are enthusiastic about teaching – it has re-ignited everyone’s passion.

By using a curriculum that is relevant to the 21st Century, we have changed the culture of learning to one that inspires and motivates.”

Staff were worried before the roll-out, Mark admits.

He says: “There was worry about stats and some staff were concerned that it would knock the creativity out of them or that their workload would increase because they would have to start from scratch.

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“But, the great benefit of the programme is that it has guidelines of what to do, but not how to do it and swiftly staff realised that there was no need for concern and that they actually have more room for creativity and freedom within this curriculum.

“The feedback from staff has been brilliant. They enjoy it because it’s already planned, they just personalise it and concentrate on the delivery because the hard work has already been done for them.”

The curriculum was the brainchild of pioneer and founder of Dimensions Curriculum, Elaine Sutton.

World issues are at the forefront of this specially written curriculum.

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It is centred around the four Cs of Communication, Conflict, Conservation and Culture.

It is less stringent that the traditional way of learning.

Teachers who have been using it say that not only does it ensure that it gives children and young people the opportunity to tackle and gain heightened awareness on interesting topics linked to current world issues which affect everyday lives.