Monthly Archives: January 2019

Blog of the Week: 25 January 2019 – What do we mean by ‘knowledge rich’ anyway?

What does a ‘knowledge-rich curriculum’ mean in practice? That’s the question EEF senior associate Alex Quigley explores here…

A New Year’s Prediction: 2019 will be The Year of Curriculum.

Prompted by forthcoming changes to the inspection framework and recent reforms to SATs and GCSEs, many schools will be about to begin, or already are in the midst of, curriculum reviews.

If you are considering your curriculum, you are likely questioning if your curriculum is ‘knowledge rich’, a phrase that has become almost ubiquitous, and on which interesting perspectives abound (eg, from brilliant bloggers Tom Sherrington and Clare Sealy).

In my view, reaching a consensus on what it means to be ‘knowledge rich’ is important. Without a clear definition, the risk of confusion and misunderstanding is high, and a …


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Blog of the Week: 18 January 2019 – Lightbulb Moments with The Learning Scientists

The Dusty Tsundoku

This weekend, we at Advantage Schools ran our first educational conference.  It was a collaborative piece of work, with Bedford School providing the venue, and the amazing presenters being The Learning Scientists: Megan Sumeracki, PhD; Cindy Nebel, PhD; Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel, PhD; and Althea Need Kaminske, PhD.  Over two hundred teachers joined us for two days of fascinating learning about the insights of cognitive science, and how these can help our students to remember what they have studied more successfully.


I had some familiarity with most of the strategies discussed. A few years ago, I had read about the benefits of retrieval practice, spacing and interleaving and had worked to incorporate them into my planning (at least, I thought I had).  As part of induction at Bedford Free School, all staff attend a series of student assemblies run by the Head of History (@JamesRawlins90), in which he talks through the learning…

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Blog of the Week: 11 January 2019 – Curriculum: Truth and Beauty

A while ago I said that science has a unique claim to truth. I was wrong.

After reading Christine Counsell’s article “Taking Curriculum Seriously” I have come to realise that all human endeavour, and therefore the subjects we teach in our schools, are a search for truth, and that the reason we have so many disciplines and subjects is that truth is complicated.

Imagine a person standing in a tall box, with a hole at arm height.

The person can’t see out of the box, but they can reach out, and, holding a piece of modelling clay, press it into the surface outside. They can then draw it back into the box and examine it. The natural world has made an impression on the clay, and conclusions can be drawn from it. If the clay has lots of thin lines on it we might conclude there is grass out…

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