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Curriculum Intent

How do we talk about the subjects?

Mary Myatt curriculum

When we’re discussing curriculum intent, I reckon we need to be ambitious in the ways we talk about the individual subjects.

Curriculum intent is more than words on a website.

If we are leading or teaching a subject, we might ask ourselves:

·      What’s unique about this subject?

·      What’s magical about it?

·      What would pupils and students be missing out on if they came to school and weren’t taught this subject? 

What some schools have found helpful is to bounce around some ideas based on quotes about the different subjects.

For example, if we are teaching Art and Design, what do we think of this quote from Don Miguel Ruiz?

‘Every human is an artist’.

Or, thinking about the importance of history, what do we think of this from Marcus Garvey?

‘A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots’.

And for languages, this Czech proverb:

‘You live a new life for every language you speak. If you only know one language, you only live once’.

The point here is not necessarily to agree with the quotes but to use them as a starting point for discussion about the unique contribution that each subject makes to our pupils and students.

This does two things:

First, it elevates the way we talk about the subjects, and second, it creates a higher bar of quality for the resources we use to teach the subjects.

And that bar means that we are more likely to ask ourselves whether the materials are really making pupils think, whether they are carefully designed and are likely to support long term learning.

If you’d like copies of the quotes for all the subjects, you can download them from the curriculum intent webinar on the Myatt & Co platform under resources. They are free to access, you just need to register.

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The author

Mary Myatt is an education adviser, writer and speaker. Mary has written extensively about leadership, school improvement and the curriculum: ‘High Challenge, Low Threat’, ‘Hopeful Schools’ and ‘The Curriculum: Gallimaufry to Coherence’, ‘Back on Track’, ‘Huh: Curriculum conversations between subject and senior leaders’ and ‘Primary Huh: Curriculum conversations with subject leaders in primary schools’ with John Tomsett. She has also established Myatt & Co an online platform with films for teachers, including teaching assistants and leaders including governors.

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