On Wednesday 2nd July, the College held a ‘town meeting.’ Future students of the College, employers, university representatives, the advisory board and teachers at the College were all invited to discuss the transformation of our curriculum.
It was just after attending Christopher Waugh‘s session at the Wellington College Festival of Education that this event was born. In it, he spoke about the transformation of the curriculum within his school. One of the events he referenced was a ‘Town Meeting’ where students, parents, employers, universities and staff are all invited to rethink the curriculum and input about what they’d be expecting from it.
In the midst of the College examining the curriculum and what our offer really gives to students, we felt that this meeting could be our initial starting point.
Rachel George (@rachi_poodle) and I were nervous but this meeting came within a week where a whole ship load of CPD was taking place and being facilitated by me. I was becoming used to talking (or at least attempting to talk) to a whole room of adults; but that didn’t prevent the nerves from swimming around my stomach.
We were using the ASD Centre; a brand new and beautiful space that is owned by the council but is opening officially in September. This space is truly beautiful; with flexible spaces and a gorgeous garden area too (which may have been used for a bit of flat-out exhausted collapse afterwards!)
Ideas for the sessions had been plucked from Chris Waugh and Hywel Roberts, seen at The Education Festival and some of Sarah Williams and Alex Warner‘s project based learning ideas.
Brains were warmed up by the task of creating a brand new fifth season. This activity would hopefully promote the kind of ‘let go of everything you know and think creatively’ thinking that we wanted.
Everyone was then asked to go out into the beautiful sunshine of the outdoor space in the ASD Centre and they were presented with a series of pictures. They all had to pin the curriculum on the pictures- where could they see subjects? Possible skills development?
This was then discussed together before small groups were asked to first think what the curriculum of a giraffe would look like- because we had a funny picture of a giraffe and they’re great!
Many of the themes that came out of this discussion were around transferable skills and often, a course where students were working on totally different aspects of the giraffe simultaneously… Depending upon the level of knowledge and expertise they had. This would even dictate the placements they had; whether that be in the zoo or out in the giraffe’s natural habitat. One of the comments was that it was essential for us to study the giraffe first, what its natural habits were, its behaviours and movements. This would translate directly into studying a person at work who you were aiming to achieve the career of.
All attendees were asked to provide one final ‘essential’ for us to take into our future curriculum planning. The over-riding thing here was undoubtedly the transferable soft skills that enable someone to be able to do a job. Any job. All of the employers were sharing that they would definitely employ someone on their attitude in an interview. If this wasn’t professional and motivated then they wouldn’t even be considered for employment.
There will be further fazes of the same meeting in the new term with more parents and students as well as hopefully more employers.
We intend to offer a list of suggestions to departments at the College about how they might work well with employers in the future as ultimately, this is who we need to be succeeding with.
The future of this project will be determined over the next few weeks and if anyone is interested in shaping and transforming the curriculum across the College; please contact Hannah.Tyreman@i.reading-college.ac.uk with your vision and/or availability.