Teaching our children to become independent thinkers and lifelong learners.

The new Ofsted framework is clear – instead of just teaching children the National Curriculum objectives, we need them to learn the characteristics required to become strong, independent thinkers.This is where Character Curriculum comes in. We have to work more on resilience and well-being. We need to teach them to self-nurture and nurture others, manage their own feelings and the feelings of others, and tell you where they are within their own mental health. And your curriculum should reflect your community, its needs and desired outcomes.
No arguments there – this is what all schools should aspire to.

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Great, but how do you find the time?

If you are teaching a conventional linear curriculum, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Once you have covered the required numeracy, literacy, geography, history and the rest, you have little choice but to “bolt-on” Character Curriculum elements to the end of your day.

“Let’s have a 10 minute conversation about how everyone’s feeling. Thumbs up? Thumbs down?”

This isn’t teaching the children how to understand themselves. And the problem is, as soon as your day gets busy, the bolt-ons get dropped. And so do your green ratings for these character objectives. 

Schools adopting QFES have seen the gender achievement gap between boys and girls narrow dramatically from 18% to 10%

Change the way we teach and make time for the Character Curriculum (and a whole lot more!).

So what can we do about it? Clearly keeping the children at school for longer isn’t an option. What we need to do is change the way we teach.

The Quality First Education System is built around a project based curriculum. Every project is designed around the curriculum – the objectives are woven in and the children collect that knowledge  whilst developing the characteristics to become life long learners.

Each project lasts a term and covers both National and Character Curriculum objectives. But rather than teach these objectives in isolation, they are built in to a project. Children learn with purpose, through understanding and application, learning faster and retaining more information.

This gives us back the time in the school day to include singing, learning to play instruments, yoga, forest school…the things we know are so important to the overall learning experience of the child. 

Does it work?

Yes. In one school where the QFES philosophy was adopted, Age Related Expectations went from 20% using conventional curriculum teaching to an ARE of 86% in just one year.  

I need this. I need it in place now. I can’t believe I have tried to do everything when I could just do one SEF to report to everyone AND meet all requirements for Ofsted as well as SIAMS

Somerset Headteacher

Character Curriculum in a nutshell

  • Use the QFES system to design a broad, balanced, nurturing and enriching curriculum.
  • Help children learn to become happy, strong, independent thinkers with a voice in society.
  • Support and guidance to help you achieve this. 
  • Project ideas – easy ways for your school to combine the curriculum, PHSE and RSHE in to purposeful, day-to-day teaching.
  • Meet and exceed Ofsted framework guidance Sept 2019

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