22 Jan 2016

Review of Curriculum at Years 7 to 9 Stages

Dear Parents and Colleagues,

You may already be aware of the discussions which have been underway across ESF schools about the future curriculum that we want our students at the middle years to experience. Schools have agreed to work towards adopting a common, broad framework for all ESF students in Y7-Y9 to ensure that every ESF student experiences continuity, coherence, pace and progression as he or she moves from the primary years towards the upper school stages.

The first stage of our work involved each of our secondary schools reviewing their existing curriculum arrangements for students at the Y7 to Y9 stages. Some schools had developed their own frameworks and courses, others had adopted structured, curriculum arrangements, developed elsewhere. There is agreement that we need to draw on existing best practice to develop a consistent ESF “offer” across all of our schools, which is easily understood both by students and parents. The guiding principle for schools is to deliver a curriculum which is matched to each individual student’s needs and aspirations, directed towards enabling all students to achieve their best.

In the light of these reviews, secondary schools have agreed to adopt a common framework for Y7 to Y9. Each school will continue to develop and refine its Y7-Y9 curriculum, in line with the middle years programme (MYP). The MYP is designed to build on the primary years programme (PYP), offered in all of our schools at Y1-Y6 and in ESF kindergartens. It provides a broad curriculum structure and it offers sufficient flexibility to enable schools to take account of local priorities and students’ particular interests. The MYP will support consistency in core curriculum elements and in the nature of students’ learning experiences in the Y7-9 learning cycle. This framework will, we believe, provide continuity and progression in learning for every student from the primary years programme (PYP), towards examination courses in years 10 and 11, through to diploma (IBD) and BTec pathways, in preparation for higher education or other vocational opportunities.

I want to emphasise that the review we are currently undertaking does not affect existing course arrangements for students in Y10 and Y11, such as the two-year IGCSE/ GCSE. Arrangements for students at Years 10 and 11 are not within the scope of the current development programme.

I would thank you for your continuing support for our schools’ work. Each secondary school will continue to share information with you on your child’s learning and on the curriculum he or she will experience at each stage. This is in line with a key priority for action within the ESF Strategic Plan, which is to make information about students’ learning and the curriculum more readily available to parents so that they are better able to support their children’s learning.

Yours sincerely,
Belinda Greer
Chief Executive Officer