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Christine Counsell: The support our middle leaders need if curricula are to flourish.

June 2020

The session will argue that whether they are providing support or challenge, senior leaders need to listen carefully to subject discourse. Leading a subject team in curriculum design, implementation and review is a weighty intellectual and ethical responsibility. Exercising this responsibility can be joyous and creative. It can also be unnecessarily burdensome and soul-destroying, and horribly time-wasting, if a subject leader feels the structure and purpose of the subject is misunderstood or silenced. Subjects are not all that they seem. You certainly can’t ‘see’ them through the lens of a GCSE spec, question or mark scheme, through data, or through the generic application of cognitive psychology. The session will argue that good curricular thinking involves 'going the long way round' in professional development and in conceptualising pupils’ progress. It will argue that quick, cheap ways to get curricular coherence will always be a false economy and that real whole-school coherence can only come from senior-middle conversations that have subject-sensitivity as their touchstone.

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