Putting it all together

The key to curriculum design is being clear about the learning that we want.

This is not just a vague aspiration, but a set of carefully structured year-by-year learning expectations that take account of the wide range of expectations.  Most schools that take a flexible approach use a very similar system.

They need to have a clear set of objectives so that they are able to select from them in the confidence that the flexible approach will still enable the learning to be rounded, coherent and worthwhile.

This matrix shows how the expectations for subject areas, 3C competencies, Key Skills and  Personal Development all contribute to a Local Studies  experience.

If we reverse the arrows, we can see how the Local Studies experience can contribute to children’s learning in all these areas.

The key is to be really clear about expectations at each stage – then we can  be flexible with confidence.

What does this “Framework of Learning Expectations” look like?

The learning expectations need to take account of the various aspects we have considered so far; both leaves and roots:

  • Key skills
  • Personal development
  • 3C competencies
  • Subject areas

Schools using this ‘Framework of Expectations’ approach generally set out expectations for each year group or stage of development within these headings. The expectations may vary from year to year with different cohorts, and will be revised in the light of the actual learning that takes place, but will provide a useful overall framework.

The Process


  1. Observe things around them and recognise simple features
  2. Describe and order their observations and make suggestions about investigating
  3. Make comparisons and contrasts, and develop their own ideas for investigating
  4. Plan investigations, make generalisations and detect patterns,
  5. Plan more complex investigations and give explanations for detected patterns


  1. Recognise simple features
  2. Suggest improvement to their own and other’s work
  3. Modify and refine their own and other’s work
  4. Analyse work in relation to its intentions and use
  5. Use the analysis to develop and improve work


  1. Take turns and share
  2. Work co-operatively on a task with a classmate
  3. Work as part of a larger group with a defined role
  4. Define and agree different roles within a group. Recognise what makes the team operate effectively
  5. Play different roles within a team to expedite its work. Give constructive feedback to other team members