THE CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK

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1 THE CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK

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3 3 THE CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK 3.1 Access Statement CCEA proposes that the statutory requirements should be prefaced by a statement which makes clear that every effort must be made to ensure that all pupils, irrespective of their individual circumstances or characteristics should have access to their stipulated entitlement. 3.2 Irish Medium Education The proposed new curriculum requirements have not been set out separately for Englishmedium and Irish-medium education. CCEA is however conscious of the differences that exist as a result of pupils learning through the medium of Irish while developing their competence in English. CCEA would wish to collaborate closely with the Irish medium sector, including Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta and Foras na Gaeilge, in developing and implementing these proposals in a way that fully benefits pupils in Irish-medium education. 3.3 The Aim, Objectives and Key Elements It is proposed that the statutory Curriculum at Key Stage 3, which is the entitlement of every young person, should comprise the following aim, objectives, key elements and underpinning values: Aim The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives. Objectives The Northern Ireland Curriculum should provide relevant learning opportunities to help each young person develop as: an individual; a contributor to society; and a contributor to the economy and the environment. Key elements The key elements within each objective are set out in Table 1 (page 29). Note: The key elements encompass important aspects of the current aim and the current Educational (Cross-curricular) Themes, as well as embracing other aspects of learning that have been highlighted as important during previous consultations, for example, citizenship, sustainable development, employability and media awareness. Note: The above aim, objectives and key elements above were consulted upon in the 2000 consultation and received overwhelming support. Northern Ireland Curriculum 27

4 3.4 Underpinning Values The current Northern Ireland Curriculum does not set out an explicit set of values to underpin the curriculum. Rather, values are implied within the Educational (Cross-curricular) Themes and the Programmes of Study. It is proposed that the following non-statutory values which were consulted upon in the 2000 consultation and strongly endorsed, should underpin the Northern Ireland Curriculum. We value each individual s unique capacity for spiritual, moral, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. We value equality, justice and human rights within our society and our capacity as citizens to resolve conflict by democratic means. We value the environment as the basis of life and the need to sustain it for future generations. We value each individual s right to work and to earn a living in accordance with personal preferences and attributes. 28 Northern Ireland Curriculum

5 Aim Table 1: illustrating the revised aim and objectives of the NI Curriculum The Northern Ireland curriculum Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives. Curriculum Objectives The Northern Ireland Curriculum should provide learning opportunities for each young person to develop as: 1. an individual; 2. a contributor to society; and 3. a contributor to the economy and the environment. Throughout the curriculum, by taking appropriate opportunities to focus on the key elements in bold, teachers should help pupils to: Northern Ireland Curriculum 29 As an individual (personal understanding) respect themselves, understand their rights and responsibilities; understand and manage their emotions; learn how to learn and be committed to learning; be aware of their creative potential; become self-reliant. (mutual understanding) respect and co-operate with others; manage and resolve conflict; develop and sustain safe, caring relationships; learn the skills of parenting. ( personal health) live a healthy lifestyle and make healthy choices; contribute positively to their peer group. (moral character) show fairness and integrity in dealing with others; be reliable and committed to tasks; take responsibility for choices and actions. (spiritual awareness) develop an inner appreciation of life purpose; develop the personal strengths and resources to cope with adversity. As a contributor to society (citizenship) respect the equal rights of others; recognise the interdependence of people, communities and the environment; negotiate be willing and to negotiate compromise; and compromise; use democratic means to influence change; contribute to the welfare of school, the community and the environment. (cultural understanding) recognise the richness and diversity of cultural influences in contemporary society; engage with human cultural achievement in a range of forms and contexts. (media awareness) be critically aware of the range of print, sound, moving image and graphic media; assess the role and influence of media within society; (ethical awareness) be aware of some of the dilemmas arising from scientific, technological and environmental change; assess the human and environmental impact of ethical choices and take action as appropriate As a contributor to the economy and environment (employability) be aware of the impact of technology and global markets on work patterns and prospects; be proactive, enterprising, adaptable and open to new ideas; enhance career options through life-long learning; be aware of the rights of workers and employers. (economic awareness) understand the economic interdependence of individuals, organisations and communities locally and globally; critically examine how wealth is created and distributed; make balanced and informed economic judgements; be discerning and effective consumers; plan and manage personal finances effectively. (sustainable development) understand the interdependence of society, the economy and the environment; develop respect for the needs of both present and future generations; understand the local and global implications of lifestyle choices; act towards promoting an improved environment and a fairer, more just world. (environmental responsibility) think globally, act locally; cut down on waste and prevent pollution; save energy and natural resources; look after the local environment; encourage bio-diversity.

6 3.5 Curriculum Areas It is proposed that the subject strands of the statutory Curriculum at Key Stage 3 be set out within the following Learning Areas and contributory subject strands: Learning for Life and Work (see detail at 4.1) containing the contributory strands of: Education for Employability; Local and Global Citizenship; Personal Development, including PSHE and Home Economics. General Learning Areas* (see detail at ) The Arts, including subject strands of Art and Design and Music; English and Irish, including Media Education and the subject strand of Drama; Environment and Society, including subject strands of Geography and History; Modern Languages; Mathematics, including Financial Capability; Science and Technology, including subject strands of Science and Technology and Design; Physical Education; Religious Education which is defined separately by the Department of Education and the four main Christian Churches in Northern Ireland. * NB: The proposed General Learning Areas are, in many respects, similar to the current Areas of Study. The major difference is that the subject strands are defined as a minimum entitlement, (see 3.6 below) rather than as detailed Programmes of Study, and are structured to facilitate more collaborative learning. Although subject strands are organised within specific Learning Areas this does not preclude connections being made with other Learning Areas/subject strands. 30 Northern Ireland Curriculum

7 3.6 The Statutory Curriculum and Minimum Entitlement It is proposed that within each Learning Area/subject strand the minimum statutory entitlement be set out in bold as follows: (a) (b) Within Learning for Life and Work (in bold see 4.1) under: Key Concepts of each strand (see 4.1); Learning Outcomes. Within the General Learning Areas (in bold see ) under: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills; Curriculum Objectives and Key Elements; Learning Outcomes. The scope of the statutory curriculum at Key Stage 3 is defined within the shaded circles below. Learning for Life and Work Education for Employability Local and Global Citizenship Personal Development Skills and Capabilities Personal and Interpersonal Self Management Working With Others Critical and Creative Thinking (Creativity, Managing Information, Problem Solving/ Decision Making) Communication, Application of Number, ICT General Learning Areas The Arts English Environment and Society Modern languages Mathematics Physical Education Science and Technology Religious Education The statutory requirements comprise the shaded areas above, ie: all of Learning for Life and Work. those parts of the General Learning Areas that contribute to Learning for Life and Work. Schools then have freedom to add other aspects of the General Learning Areas as appropriate for different groups of pupils. Northern Ireland Curriculum 31

8 3.7 Skills and Capabilities Framework It is proposed that the following skills and capabilities should infuse every Learning Area and subject strand of the curriculum: Personal and Interpersonal Skills; Critical and Creative Thinking Skills; Communication; Application of Number; Information and Communication Technology (ICT). These skills and capabilities are: exemplified within the Learning Areas and subject strands; embedded in the teaching and learning process (see guidance on developing skills and capabilities in Part 2); and assessed through the learning outcomes in the context of curriculum knowledge, understanding and processes. Further detail on progression and assessment of skills is offered in Part Coherence To establish greater coherence for pupils and make collaborative planning and teaching and the transfer of learning easier, each strand of the General Learning Areas has been set out on a single page (see detail at ) in a standardised format; under similar headings (the curriculum objectives and key elements); promoting a similar range of skills and capabilities; explicitly linked to real world issues (that are provided for illustration); and with similar skills-based learning outcomes. This standardised layout (see diagram on page 51) with common curriculum objectives and key elements, aims to facilitate collaboration, allowing the various strands of the curriculum to be brought together naturally, rather than in a forced way, so that learning can be connected and more easily transferred from one context to another. 32 Northern Ireland Curriculum

9 3.9 Breadth, Balance and Flexibility It is proposed that schools provide access to the requirements at a level appropriate to the pupil s ability. This access will ensure a minimum entitlement for each pupil. The requirements are set out in bold on the A3 pages from 4.1 to Schools have the flexibility to interpret and organise this entitlement in different ways to suit the needs of their pupils and the available resources. For example, schools may choose to: organise the curriculum within Learning Areas; combine subject strands from different Learning Areas; organise the curriculum thematically; or continue to teach in subject strands. Various models of how the curriculum might be organised more collaboratively are discussed and illustrated in Part 2, which is produced as a separate document to accompany the proposals. CCEA intends to work with pilot schools to trial different approaches to the curriculum and, in time, to develop further practical guidance for all schools Progression from Primary Education and towards Key Stage 4 The proposed Key Stage 3 curriculum follows on from the revised Primary Curriculum in the following ways: In terms of skills the same range of skills has been incorporated into each Key Stage. Illustrations of possible progression in these skills are offered in Part 2. These statements of progression will be trialled and revised in the light of piloting. In terms of knowledge and understanding the same aim and curriculum objectives are common to all Key Stages. At primary level the curriculum focuses on child-centred learning, building knowledge progressively outwards from myself, my family, my home, my school to my neighbourhood and the wider world. At Key Stage 3 the curriculum takes on a more enquiry-based, problem-centred, decisionmaking focus. It is intended that the knowledge and understanding and the range of skills acquired at primary school will be developed in greater depth to help pupils identify and investigate issues and problems from the media and the world around them. Depending on the ability and maturity of the young people, the content and approach can be extended by, for example: introducing issues in greater depth; increasing the complexity of tasks; Northern Ireland Curriculum 33

10 enabling young people to demonstrate increasing competence in practical skills; encouraging increased research, information management and independent learning; presenting outcomes to a wider range of audiences and in real situations; encouraging increased critical analysis of information sources; promoting well-reasoned justifications for choices; encouraging reflective and insightful evaluations of both process and product. Some repetition in themes and content may be inevitable in this more flexible curriculum. To minimise the danger of boredom arising from potential repetition post-primary teachers are encouraged to: liaise with feeder primary schools to ascertain the focus of children s work, particularly in Years 6 and 7; encourage pupils to share what they already know about a topic, as an informed starting point for learning; discuss and negotiate with pupils the particular focus of learning to ensure there is a different angle to the investigation and sufficient interest and challenge; encourage pupils to research their topic in greater depth than before and to present it in different ways; help pupils understand that learning is not always new but is often a deepening and reinforcement of existing knowledge and skills. Guidance on differentiated provision, including for those pupils with special educational needs, will be provided in sample themes and teaching plans which CCEA intends to develop over the next few years. The fold-out A3 poster (opposite) aims to set out the Big Picture of the whole curriculum at Key Stage 3, including suggested approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. 34 Northern Ireland Curriculum

11 Table 2: The Big Picture of the Curriculum at Key Stage 3 CURRICULUM AIM The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives as: OBJECTIVES individuals personal understanding mutual understanding personal health moral character spiritual awareness contributors to society citizenship cultural understanding media awareness ethical awareness contributors to economy contributors & to the economy and environment to the environment employability economic awareness sustainable development environmental responsibility LEARNING FOR LIFE & WORK EDUCATION FOR EMPLOYABILITY LOCAL & GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS & CAPABILITIES Personal and Inter Personal Skills (Self Management, Working With Others) Communication, Application of Number, I.C.T. Critical and Creative Thinking Skills (Creativity, Managing Information, Problem Solving/Decision Making) GENERAL LEARNING AREAS THE ARTS ENGLISH AND IRISH ENVIRONMENT & SOCIETY MATHEMATICS MODERN LANGUAGES PHYSICAL EDUCATION SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY RELIGIOUS EDUCATION LEARNING EXPERIENCES investigative problem solving linked to other curriculum areas relevant and enjoyable media rich skills integrated active and hands on offers choice challenging and engaging supportive environment culturally diverse positive reinforcement varied to suit learning styles on-going reflection ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING emphasising the feedback loop clear learning objectives shared with pupils shared assessment criteria choice of tasks and ways to demonstrate learning eg. oral, written, ICT, drama etc. constructive feedback advice on how to improve... next steps encouragement of reflection and self & peer assessment encouragement of risk mistakes & failure acknowledged as an important part of the learning process ATTITUDES & DISPOSITIONS personal responsibility concern for others commitment - determination - resourcefulness openness to new ideas self belief - optimism - pragmatism curiosity community spirit flexibility tolerance integrity moral courage respect Northern Ireland Curriculum 35

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