Reclaiming the Curriculum

Specialist and creative teaching in primary schools

By: Jackie Holderness , Bill Laar


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PublishedJune 2018
Size246 x 189mm

Bill Laar and Jackie Holderness’ Reclaiming the Curriculum examines the nature of a broad-ranging, content-rich primary school curriculum and presents case studies that exemplify how it can be effectively delivered.

Many schools believe that the value of their work is undermined by a test-driven agenda that limits the breadth of the education they provide – and who can blame them? In Reclaiming the Curriculum Bill and Jackie inspire teachers to escape such narrow confines by unearthing a rich seam of case study examples from schools who are broadening their provision with specialist content that transcends the core curriculum: taking pupils into the realms of exploration and enquiry while also providing for higher attainment in the core subjects.

Featuring a variety of exciting initiatives, ranging from the development of an IT-enabled collaborative learning space to the artful application of storytelling across the curriculum, this book will embolden primary schools to identify and enhance their own creative practice and more effectively prepare pupils for the tests of life, not a life of tests. The 18 case studies – written by a diverse line-up of contributors including school leaders, teachers and special­ist coaches – are sourced from a mixture of different settings and offer detailed descriptions of the initiatives’ unique backgrounds: their genesis and inspiration, their underpinning aims and objectives, and the ways in which they were resourced, realised and, eventually, evaluated.

At the beginning of each chapter, Bill and Jackie briefly summarise the educa­tional value of each example of curriculum development, the significance of specific aspects and the ways in which they are likely to help maintain full and relevant learning. Each case study then presents the contributors’ first-hand perspectives as they:

  • describe in detail the structure that underpins the provision – including the number of staff involved and the time and resources allocated
  • share interesting insights into the level of pupil involvement and, where relevant, the extent of parental and community participation
  • paint a vivid picture of how the initiatives have been made compatible with their school’s wider educational programme
  • provide practical guidance, useful links and relevant resources to aid readers’ own pursuit of curriculum development.

Suitable for primary school teachers and leaders.

Chapters include:

1. Learning With and Through Nature

2. The Window

3. A STEAM Curriculum Initiative

4. The Broad and Balanced Curriculum Enriched by IT

5. An Enriched and International Curriculum

6. Learning Outside the Classroom

7. Partnership Enrichment Through Shared Stories, Creativity
and Gardening

8. Languages in the Primary Curriculum

9. Role Play and Stories

10. Creating a Community of Learners

11. Writing Reclaimed

12. Dance and Music in the Classroom

13. Drama Across the Primary Curriculum

14. Chess in the Curriculum

15. Building Goblin Cars

16. A Creative Approach to History in the Curriculum

17. Artists in School: Specialist Teaching in the Arts

18. The Reclaimed Curriculum

Picture for author Jackie Holderness

Jackie Holderness

Having worked for nearly 15 years as a senior lecturer in education at Oxford Brookes University, Jackie Holderness is now the education officer at Christ Church Cathedral. She is also involved in several local initiatives which focus on the creative arts.

Picture for author Bill Laar

Bill Laar

A former primary school head teacher, Bill Laar has been a local authority inspector in Birmingham, Oxfordshire and London, where he was deputy director of education. He was patron of National Primary Heads (NPH) and is a well-known speaker. He has written for school leaders and teachers on inspection, learning, literacy and leadership.


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