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Southampton Education School

Research project: Implementing competency-based curricula at KS3: a case-study of practice in four schools

Currently Active: 

May 2009 - April 2011

With the recent reduction of content in the National Curriculum Programme of Study (PoS) for KS3, schools have made a variety of decisions as to how to make the most of the ‘space’ now created in the curriculum. While some schools have seized the opportunity to bring forward KS4 programmes of study into Yr9 some schools have decided to use the space to focus on developing the metacognitive skills of students through the introduction of competency-based curricula, often with Yr7 pupils entering their school.

This research project utilizes a case-study approach to research in four schools which had implemented a competency-based curriculum with their Yr7 pupils for up to one third of their timetable, before the recent changes to the KS3 PoS. The project focuses on the implications of such a curriculum innovation in the areas of teaching & learning and leadership & management. Through a series of lesson observations, document analysis, interviews with school leaders and teachers, teacher focus groups and pupil questionnaires and focus groups conducted over 4 school terms the project has sought to develop a detailed picture of the rationale for adopting a competency-based curriculum and the institutional and personal challenges and successes arising from the implementation and development such a curriculum. The variety of school contexts, approaches and pupil demographic amongst the case study schools has allowed the research to draw some interesting contrasts and recommendations for practice.

Funding body: University of Southampton Adventures in Research group.

Related research groups

Leadership, School Improvement and Effectiveness (LSIE) Research Centre
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