The Avanti Curriculum Review
I hope your end of term has gone well. I thought to update you regarding the progress of the curriculum review. We met as a team last week, attended by Adrian Dow and Richard Pountney, Michelle Loughrey, and my colleagues from UCPS, Aimee Durning and Luke Rolls. It was a really positive meeting where we discussed the strengths of the Waldorf curriculum, the unique role of the teacher and the learning dynamic of a Steiner-influenced school. You will also be pleased to know that we are consulting Dr Martyn Rawson, a well-regarded expert in Waldorf Steiner education during the review period. We also intend to consult the Steiner Waldorf Schools’ Fellowship before we report to the Avanti Schools Trust team.
We also mapped out how we will work in the coming months, which will start with a meeting with each school community in January.
Our first meeting with you in January
We will be visiting each school in January:
- Exeter on Monday 20th January,
- Frome on Tuesday 21st January,
- Bristol on Wednesday 22nd January,
When we visit, we will meet with groups of parents/carers, teachers and senior leaders and children on each day. These soundings are important for us.
For children: During each day, the team will create arts-informed activities to invite children to talk about their school and learning. If you do not want your child to be involved, please inform your school’s Principal. We hope, however, that we capture as many children’s voices as possible and that you would like your child to be a part of these sessions.
For parents: As we would like to hear from as many of you as possible, we will be hosting the following workshop sessions for parents/carers. These will not be Q and A sessions but will be led as interactive workshops, inviting responses to ideas and questions. For practical reasons and to have meaningful discussion, we would like parents/carers to sign up to one of the workshops:
8.30-9.45 Workshop for Parents/carers (1) Led by James and Michelle
2.00-3.15 Workshop for Parents/carers (2) Led by James and Michelle
3.45-5.00: Workshop for Parents/carers (3) Led by James and Michelle
5.45-6.30: Workshop for Parents/carers (4) Led by James and Michelle
2.30-3.30: Aimee will be available to meet any parents/carers of children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. She will want to listen for your hopes and aspirations for your child.
For educators: We will be spending the whole day in your school and will be guided by the Principals for practicalities of speaking with the teaching team. We will also host an interactive workshop for your school’s educators and also meet with senior leaders.
4.15-5.30: Workshop for Staff Led by Luke and Aimee
We will also be sending a survey following our first meeting with you. We had intended to send one to you before the holidays, but in consultation with members of the SAECampaign group, who would like to contribute to the survey questions, we have agreed to postpone this until the end of January. If you are unable to attend the workshop, this will be a key opportunity to share your views.
The team and I wish you a very Happy Christmas and hope that the New Year brings hopeful possibilities and new opportunities. We look forward to learning with you in January.
Dr James Biddulph
Headteacher and Lead Reviewer
Aim and purpose of the review
The aim of this curriculum review is to investigate how the curriculum can align aspects of Waldorf principles in synergy with the ‘Avanti Way’. AST’s Board of Trustees are clear that as state funded schools there is a balance that needs to be struck in order to ensure that the new curriculum that will be implemented in the three schools from September 2020 is ambitious and designed to give all learners the knowledge, skills and human qualities, underpinned by values, that they need to succeed in life.
The scope of the review will encompass:
- Identify key principles upon which the new curriculum can be designed.
- Identify possible principles which will inform implementation of the curriculum
- Identify meaningful opportunities to evaluate learning and develop assessment
- Identify how SEND provision could create cultures in which everyone is welcome and included
- Dr James Biddulph, Headteacher of the University of Cambridge Primary School (Lead Reviewer)
- Ms Michelle Loughrey, Education consultant (recently Headteacher of Weeke Primary School)
- Mrs Aimee Durning, Senior Learning Coach (Teaching Assistant), University of Cambridge Primary School, Best ClassRoom Support Award Winner 2019.
- Mr Luke Rolls, Assistant Headteacher, member of ACME, Curriculum expertise
- Richard Pountney, Expert in curriculum design and author of review commissioned by the Steiner Waldorf Schools’ Fellowship: see bio https://www.shu.ac.uk/about-us/our-people/staff-profiles/richard-pountney
- Adrian Dow, Headteacher of Steiner School, Greenwich see greenwichsteinerschool.org.uk/
- Dr Martyn Rawson expert in Steiner Education https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/alumni-friends/alumni/meet-our-alumni/education-teaching/dr-martyn-rawson