Curriculum planning for every student – advice

Advice for teachers to support curriculum planning for every student in every classroom.

Our sample learning sequences and units are provided as a starting point for teachers to contextualise learning for their students. Students are more likely to experience success if they are engaged, can access the curriculum, and are able to demonstrate their learning in a way appropriate to their needs.

In NSW classrooms there is a diverse range of students including:

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students
  • students learning English as an additional language or dialect, including speakers of Aboriginal English.
  • high potential and gifted students
  • students with disability.

Some students may identify with more than one of these groups, or possibly all of them. There are no ‘average’ students.

Planning and teaching strategies

Knowing your students and how they learn is critical when planning for the learning needs of all students. When teachers proactively plan teaching and learning experiences from the beginning, they support all students to access and engage with the curriculum.

High expectations, quality teaching practices and effective learning environments enable teachers to optimise learning for every student. Maintaining intellectual challenge while providing appropriate levels of support maximises students' potential to achieve learning outcomes. A strengths-based approach to planning teaching and learning experiences enhances learning for the full range of students.

  • assessment of prior knowledge to inform teaching and learning
  • opportunities to build background knowledge for learning tasks
  • identifying assumed cultural and linguistic knowledge in teaching and learning experiences and resources
  • planning enhancements to support students access the content
  • selecting relevant resources to ensure students see their lived experience, cultural backgrounds, perspectives and interests represented
  • selecting resources and texts that represent a range of voices, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors
  • identifying the cultural and language demands of tasks and scaffolding the prior learning required for these particular learning tasks
  • opportunities to empower student choice to ensure learning is authentic, incorporates student strengths, or interests, and is accessible for every student
  • multiple options for students to demonstrate their learning, including choice of communication modes and the products students are asked to create
  • incorporating digital technologies to enhance engagement, provide multiple options for students to access the curriculum and demonstrate their learning
  • ensuring inclusive language is used in selected resources, delivery of teaching and learning experiences, between peers and in assessment tasks.
  • recognising students may use more than one language for learning, including Standard Australian English, home languages, or other non-standard dialects of English
  • encouraging students to use their preferred language, to support learning, based on the context of the task and available support
  • ‘designed-in’ scaffolding to support learning Standard Australian English alongside curriculum content and preferred language use
  • explicit teaching of key vocabulary, including subject-specific language
  • multiple opportunities to engage with, and use, vocabulary in context
  • opportunities to learn ‘on Country’ and about Country
  • using culturally responsive teaching strategies and intentionally creating a culturally safe learning environment
  • providing appropriately challenging learning experiences for all students
  • presenting content in more than one way (message abundancy), providing flexibility for students to access content and varying the pace of learning.

Inclusive practices

The principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and differentiated learning can provide useful frameworks for curriculum planning. Implementation of inclusive practices in planning, programming and assessing, supports learning for the full range of students and is aligned with the department’s goals and strategic policies, including:

For more curriculum planning strategies and resources to optimise learning for every student, enrol in Curriculum planning for every student in every classroom (AC00180) in MyPL.



  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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