As part of our ongoing cycle of review, we are currently looking at the VAS local curriculum with a view to designing a new curriculum. Our current overview was developed in 2013 and designed to be reviewed in 2019 ready for 2020.
As you know, our lives in New Zealand have changed, the world has changed, some of our current new entrants weren’t even born when this overview was developed, the VAS cultural makeup has changed since 2013 so we need to ensure that our local curriculum is responsive to the needs of our children.
The New Zealand Curriculum is a clear statement of what is deemed important in education. Our local curriculum is the way that we bring the NZ Curriculum to life in our school. As part of this review process we use these Ministry guidelines as to what a ‘good’ local curriculum looks like when it is well designed:
- Principals and teachers, along with the community, can show what they want their students to learn and how their curriculum is designed to achieve this
- Learning is personalised and inclusive; taking into account students’ aspirations, interests, identities, languages and cultures
- The long view is taken: each student’s ultimate success is more important that the coverage of particular achievement objectives
- It is manageable and realistic
It is interesting that some of the ways we delivered topics is also now being questioned in the light of a lack of evidence that the approach has any impact on student achievement. Even the notion of ‘coverage’ has changed with the Ministry of Education now saying that we don’t have to ‘cover’ every achievement objective in the New Zealand Curriculum when six years ago we were expected to do this.
It is always healthy to review and be open to change; to have the hard discussions around our way of doing things. Through doing this, we will be responsive to children’s needs, not reactive to what is presented to us.
When teachers are planning a topic or new ways of doing something, I always pay attention to the ‘wriggle factor’. Yes, this is a ‘thing’! When teachers get excited about something, they sit up in their chairs, wriggle with enthusiasm, wave their hands about, talk nineteen to the dozen. I am always able to gauge whether something will fly or not based on my observation of wriggle or lack of wriggle!
I can tell you that there was lots of wriggle happening when we had our meeting about re designing our local curriculum and an excitement from teachers realising that they could collectively let go of self-imposed expectations and barriers that teachers had imposed on themselves.
So what will the VAS local curriculum look like? Still a work in progress, but what I can say is that I want our children to be immersed in science and technology and music and art and reading and writing and maths and social sciences (studies) and languages and NZ / global / environmental events and issues. I want learning to be relevant and responsive, to be challenging. I want the wriggle from our children.
There is a saying “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got”.
Time to be responsive.
If you’ve got thoughts or ideas about our local curriculum development, please email them to me. The more input we get from parents, the richer our local curriculum will be.
The teachers are all looking forward to pitting themselves against parents at our annual Quiz Night next Friday 6 September. We love the 90s theme and costume discussions are happening every day in the staffroom. If you haven’t been to a VAS Quiz Night, then you’re in for a treat! Get your tickets now.
Reporting to parents survey
You were emailed this week regarding the review of our reporting to parents system. Don’t forget to take the survey on this before 3pm tomorrow –