What is the Curriculum for Senior Leaders programme?

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Date published 15 December 2022

Curriculum is at the heart of any ambitious and successful teaching provision.

A strong, whole-school curriculum strategy has the potential to transform the lives and opportunities of your pupils, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. As headteacher Sonia Thompson said in an Ambition webinar on curriculum design, the curriculum is “about celebrating [our pupils’] heritage, their diversity, what they’re bringing to school … but also being very clear that we have got powerful knowledge that we want our children to learn”.

If you’re a senior leader, then it’s likely that you’ve experienced the complexities of curriculum design and the choices faced in deciding what to prioritise. It’s also likely that you’re familiar with navigating tricky conversations between subject leaders and senior leaders, as you build meaningful links between subjects.

This is why we have created Curriculum for Senior leaders – an 18-month programme that supports you to implement meaningful curriculum change, assess the impacts of these changes, and drive improvements in your school.

Why Curriculum for Senior Leaders?

Curriculum for Senior Leaders is distinct in that it specialises in curriculum and helps schools align with the Ofsted framework, whereas many of our National Professional Qualifications touch on curriculum as part of their wider syllabus.

In Curriculum for Senior Leaders, we’ve created a robust, research-informed programme that enables any senior leader with whole-school curriculum responsibility to improve outcomes for their pupils. Trained in the latest research and thinking around curriculum design and leadership, senior leaders can transform curriculum design across their school.

This is a programme designed to have significant and wide-reaching outcomes for both you and your entire school.

The Curriculum for Senior Leaders programme will support you, in an evidence-informed, manageable and meaningful way, to transform the quality of curriculum offering and design within your schools by giving you the knowledge and space to become an expert in deep curriculum design and teacher education. You will develop your knowledge around how pupils (and teachers!) best learn, and use this to create a framework which will help you to support your subject leaders in designing each subject's curriculum. You will also develop your knowledge of effective teacher education so that you can best disseminate the knowledge acquired on this programme to your subject leaders and help them to learn and apply principles of effective curriculum design to their individual subjects.

Creating the right conditions for change is important. You will learn how to implement change in your school effectively by giving middle leaders the time and resources to embed principles of effective curriculum design across their subjects and within their teams.


What does this mean in practice?

So, what’s involved? Over 18 months and nine modules, you will take part in:

  • Nine development days.
  • 15 hours of virtual twilights that ensure you are able to adapt the knowledge you have gained to work in your setting.
  • 1-2 hours independent work per module.
  • No assessment — we know teachers and leaders are busy. On this programme, you will instead be supported to implement and assess meaningful changes to curriculum at your school.

Throughout the modules, you will progress from the principles of curriculum leadership and the science of learning, through to planning, implementing and assessing the impact of a whole-school curriculum. We focus on several key themes, including:

  • Holding a curriculum vision and strategically moving towards it. You will focus on the principles of curriculum design, curriculum-driven assessment, and how to define and communicate your vision. You will also evaluate your current curriculum against this vision and identify areas for improvement.
  • Enabling the conditions for effective curriculum design. You will develop understanding and expertise in curriculum design by focusing on evidence-informed principles for medium and long-term planning.
  • Developing a high-quality curriculum. You will develop expertise in explaining and modelling effective curriculum design practices as well as having access to a bank of curriculum models across a range of subjects for your phase.
  • Evaluating the impact of the curriculum. You will develop your knowledge of meaningful curriculum-driven assessment. You will review the curriculum and understand how to measure impact, while planning for sustaining and scaling-up your curriculum changes.

Benefits for you

Curriculum for Senior Leaders is a great opportunity to build your leadership expertise and develop your practice through high-quality, evidence-based professional development.

By the end of the programme you will have created a clear vision of curriculum intent, improved pupil knowledge, and be supporting subject leaders to apply Ambition Institute’s ten principles of effective curriculum design to their subject.

Most of all, you will have enacted lasting change in your school setting and for your pupils. As senior leader Jon Hutchinson once told us at Ambition Institute, “the curriculum the pupils study informs what they will come to know and be able to do”. And when your mission is to create the best educational outcomes for your pupils regardless of their backgrounds, you know that curriculum design really matters.

Who is eligible?

If you’re a senior leader responsible for curriculum development at primary or secondary level, then this is the programme for you.

The Curriculum for Senior Leaders programme costs £3,500 per person.

To register interest, enrol on the programme or learn more about funding options, visit our Curriculum for Senior Leaders programme page here.

Implement meaningful change at your school or trust with Curriculum for Senior Leaders.

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