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Red Kite Learning TrustSixth Form


Aligned Autonomy For Secondary Curriculum

Posted 8th July 2024

One of the benefits of being a part of our Trust was that schools retained their independence especially regarding the curriculum they delivered. With five secondary schools serving very diverse catchments this seemed like the right course of action. But this year, we have looked to achieve a state of ‘aligned autonomy’ which celebrates the difference of our schools and allows leaders at all levels to make decisions which best serve their communities, whilst at the same time, looking for commonalities in our approaches, sharing good practice and actively seeking out opportunities to collaborate.

Crawshaw Academy_2021 (96) (Large)This has been spearheaded by the Secondary Headteachers who have worked together to achieve consensus on many issues. They have been supported by our new Curriculum Deputies’ Group. Among the agreed actions has been to adopt a Trust template for curriculum planning so there is a commonality of expectations across all secondary schools; the creation of a Red Kite pupil entitlement charter and the facilitation of closer links between departments working in different schools.

This year we have further developed the work of our Trust Subject Leads (TSLs) in English, Mathematics and Science. These are strong middle leaders who have a remit to improve curriculum design and delivery across our Trust. They have worked with new and inexperienced teachers as well as with new heads of department to ensure that all pupils in our secondary schools have access to a great curriculum which is well-taught. 

“The experience of working with the TSL has been wholly positive, and the TSL has always engaged with our department in a collaborative and supportive way. Her extensive experience and expertise has been critical in developing our own leadership and guiding our Curriculum reflections and improvements."

John Tomkinson and Liz Button, Joint Faculty Leaders of English, Crawshaw Academy.

Temple Learning Academy - Teacher with pupils - 2023 (3)

Temple Moor High School_copyright (11)

Erica HiornsWe are expanding our TSLs to increase curriculum collaboration. From September there will be a TSL for modern foreign languages. We are also looking to create some other roles whereby curriculum leaders in Trust schools may take on a more strategic role across the Trust and draw together other subject leaders into a network and greater joint curriculum planning.

In May 2023 we appointed our first Director of Secondary Education. Erica Hiorns, an experienced school leader and local authority school improvement adviser, started in this role in September. She has undertaken many curriculum reviews in secondary schools across the Trust. This has enabled her to identify good practice and share it more widely. On subject reviews, Erica is often joined by a middle leader from another school, providing them with a development opportunity and creating links across the Trust.

"I have taken immense pride in being given the opportunity to visit other schools in the Trust to see how different departments have structured and delivered their geography curriculum. This has allowed me to reflect and refine my own practice to the benefit of students at Crawshaw Academy." 

Calvin Hand, Programme Leader for Geography, Crawshaw Academy.

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Temple Moor High School & Sixth Form is part of Red Kite Learning Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 7523507, registered office address: Red Kite Office, Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate, HG2 9PH

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