Leading curriculum in early adopter schools
Watch how leaders in two early adopter schools helped teachers to engage with, enact and embed curriculum.
This video outlines the experiences of leaders of curriculum implementation in two early adopter schools. Leaders:
- discuss the importance of developing relational trust in leading change
- emphasise the importance of teachers collaborating to enhance teaching practices
- outline ways they established school processes and systems to remove barriers and facilitate curriculum implementation.
These examples of practice may assist with the process of leading curriculum implementation in varied school contexts.
Watch 'Leading curriculum implementation' (4:44)
(Duration: 4 minutes 44 seconds)
Leadership requires connection with people and I think those relationships with staff, with students, with the wider community are really vital in leading a school through something like Curriculum Reform. The new syllabus really provided us with an opportunity to step back and have a look what was currently happening within our school, to then evaluate some of that and to then really explore quite thoroughly the purpose of the new syllabuses and the intent behind them. Through our planning sessions, we would often start with a reflection from someone about something that had been happening in their classroom either a challenge or a real success that they could share. We would also usually engage in some kind of professional reading.
Resourcing was an important part of the Accelerated Adopter Program. The first thing we looked at as a team was did we have enough physical resources for our students? That was really important, but I think one of the big resources was time - time in our professional development plan was really important, that we had time across K-6 to make sure explicit teaching of reading and numeracy was part of our development of our staff capability, but also that the team of K-2 teachers worked together to look at the syllabus and to also look at the units of work ready to deliver. We made it a priority in our school this year and we've really reaped the benefits of that. The teachers have said they feel supported. The teachers have said they feel as though they understand why there's a new syllabus. They understand the units of work and why they're teaching these new units of work to support the syllabus.
Through the process of collaborating as a leadership team, we have set explicit goals through our School Improvement Plan, ensuring that the professional learning schedule across our school was targeted. We committed to longer stretches of professional learning so that staff had time to explore the new ideas that we were presenting and then to take it back to their classroom to begin to implement some of those changes and evaluate that collaboration in terms of whole school and then smaller groups was really important.
Curriculum change is a shared responsibility and it's up to the executive team to facilitate the change and support teachers through it. So initially, we surveyed our staff to see what they already knew about the new curriculum and the related pedagogies which gave us a really great starting point to differentiate our professional learning. We also invited staff to share their hopes and fears around the Curriculum Reform and collated their responses to guide our decision making. This felt like a really important step in the process because it helped us to understand as a leadership team how were our staff feeling and any underlying beliefs that they may have had. To help manage the cognitive load, we incorporated new learning into our professional learning calendar, so it was integrated into the term and didn't become something extra for teachers to have to juggle.
When looking at resources, we primarily focused on staff as our biggest resource and we used our Assistant Principals to assist with the implementation of the new curriculum. This involved them being in classrooms as instructional leaders and working shoulder to shoulder with teachers to develop the program.
We have weekly new curriculum programming time that's shared among the stage one classroom teachers alongside an Assistant Principal, and we program together. It was important to focus my team back to the syllabus itself, breaking down what do the outcomes mean and what do our students need for us to be able to get them there.
We've done a lot as the executive team to really look at the Curriculum Reform and implementing that into our SIP, so moving forward, it's at the forefront. In regards to our teachers, we have had some wow moments in the sense that teachers have come out from teaching a lesson out of the new syllabus and said, "that was brilliant." And we've really taken that on and said, "let me see that or can you go and tell the other teachers teaching that or go and do it in their classroom or let's share that." So, we've really had a real shoulder to shoulder moment and a real shared experience in this Curriculum Reform.
[End of transcript.]
The department would like to acknowledge and thank leaders from Stockton Public School and Dee Why Public School for their participation in this video.
Use what you have observed in the video to reflect on the following questions:
- Identify the main strategies used by school leaders in supporting staff to engage with, enact and embed curriculum.
- Which of these strategies could support implementation of the new curriculum in your school?