The Curriculum Centre
What is the Curriculum Centre?
Our work focuses on the development of new, high-quality curriculum programmes for our schools to use. This work initially began with Pimlico Academy in 2012 and has continued to grow as our Trust has grown. In recent years, our work has focused on supporting our hub of primary schools in Pimlico, creating a common curriculum in Ancient History, British History, English, Latin, and Geography. As more secondary schools join the Trust, we are focusing on developing new Key Stage 3 curriculum programmes, as well as broadening our subject expertise.
Why do we have a Curriculum Centre?
Our Trust, and by extension our curriculum, is built on a belief in imparting knowledge to our students that will empower them, with the importance of memory and retention in mind, by teachers that are experts in their fields. Our work is also driven by a desire to reduce unnecessary workload for our teachers by providing them with long and medium term planning documents accompanied by classroom-ready resources to support a complete, coherent and challenging curriculum programme.
A common curriculum across the Trust also offers practical benefits to our schools: enabling them to access high-quality and cost-effective resources for all teachers to use; to collaborate during assessment moderation, which is especially important at Key Stage 3; to share best practice from our classrooms; to exchange ideas and expertise on curriculum content; and to provide career development opportunities for our staff in curriculum design and leadership. For each curriculum programme, we appoint a Lead who is an expert in their field and can oversee the development of the curriculum, working with school subject leads and their departments.
Lady Caroline Nash - Co-Director of the Curriculum Centre
Lady Nash has a BA in History from Bristol University. A stockbroker by training, she had a successful career in the international division of a French merchant bank. She is a former counsellor for the Citizens' Advice Bureau. Caroline is the leading force in curriculum development across the Trust. Caroline has overseen the development of the new KS3 curriculum at Pimlico Academy and the KS2 curriculum at the primaries, and she led a national pilot with the Education Endowment Foundation.
Paul Smith - Co-Director of the Curriculum Centre
Paul is the Chief Executive of Future Academies and a National Leader of Education (NLE). Over almost twenty years, Paul has gained wide experience in schools, leading his own schools to be judged 'outstanding' by Ofsted and turning around some of the toughest schools in the north of England. Paul started his career in primary education, teaching across EYFS, KS1 and KS2. He has also spent time as an advanced skills teacher in KS3 and KS4. Paul has gained a reputation for leading highly-effective teams to secure outstanding outcomes for all pupils regardless of background.
Through his work with the National College, as a NLE and as head of a teaching school, he has worked on developing several national programmes looking at improving system leadership in the sector. He has worked on several key development groups at the Department for Education over the last 15 years, including the National Headteacher Reference Group. Paul has also worked as an Ofsted inspector and has taken part in international visits to schools in Shanghai, Sweden and South Africa.
More recently Paul took up the post as one of the first Regional Schools Commissioners at the Department for Education. In this role, he raised standards across schools in the north-west of England and established the Blackpool Challenge initiative to raise outcomes in the local area.
Dr Olly Wimborne - Head of the Curriculum Centre
Olly leads the work of the Curriculum Centre. He joined Pimlico Academy in 2009 and, before qualifying as a teacher, he worked as a teaching assistant and in post-16 management. Olly studied at King’s College London and holds a BA, MA, MRes, and PhD. During the academic year 2019/20, he has taken up a part-time role at the Royal Society of Arts as a Senior Researcher in Education.
Dr Antony Smith - English (Key Stage 2) and Grammar
Antony Smith works closely with teachers across the Trust’s three primary schools to support the development and delivery of curriculums. He also contributes to the production of grammar resources for use in KS3. Alongside his role at the Curriculum Centre, he is the assistant headteacher at Churchill Gardens Primary Academy, where he works especially with Year 6 and with children with special educational needs. He has particular responsibility for teaching and learning in Key Stage 2, for behaviour and ethos, and for school organisation. His background is as a professional classicist; he still holds a stipendiary lectureship at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Tiggy Harries - History Lead (Key Stage 3)
Antigone is the Head of History at Pimlico Academy and KS3 History Lead across the Trust. Antigone has worked with the Curriculum Centre to write our rigorous KS3 History Curriculum which has been based on successful delivery of the knowledge-rich history curriculum at Pimlico. Antigone leads decisions on resources used to support the curriculum and creates resources to support retention of substantive knowledge. Antigone leads cross-Trust moderation to confirm that all students in the Trust are being assessed in a uniform manner. Antigone organises reciprocal observations across the Trust ensuring there is parity in delivery of the curriculum.
Charles Furber - Classics Lead (Key Stage 2-5)
Charles is Head of Classics at Pimlico Academy and the Latin Lead across the trust. After completing his undergraduate (St Benet’s Hall, Oxford) and master’s degrees (King’s College London, Distinction) in Classics, he became a teacher in January 2015. Following two roles in the private sector, Charles trained to teach with Future Academies as part of the Future Teach scholarship from September 2016, also the point when Latin and Ancient History were introduced on timetable at KS3-5 at Pimlico Academy. Latin is now taught to all students at all Future Academies schools at KS3. Charles is responsible for designing the bespoke KS3 Latin curriculum and ensuring it is delivered consistently across the trust’s schools. His Latin curriculum is designed not only according to the principles of the Curriculum Centre (it is academically rigorous, cumulative, iterative), but also according to the principle that all students can excel at and enjoy the study of Classical culture.
Nathan Baldock - English Lead (Key Stage 3)
Nathan graduated with a first class honours in Literature from Liverpool John Moors University before completing his PGCE and becoming a teacher. He has worked in education for twenty years, which has seen him teach English language, literature and grammar across several countries and a couple of continents. Nathan joined Future Academies over a decade ago. He is now the English Lead for the trust and has begun writing a new curriculum that will combine a chronological appreciation of the development of the literary form with an understanding of how written styles are adapted, adopted and delivered.
Philip Robinson - Science Lead (Key Stage 3)
Philip graduated with a master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of York. He joined Pimlico Academy in 2015 and is the KS3 Science Lead across the trust. He has been KS3 lead for science at Pimlico Academy for the past three years and also the head of literacy for the science department. In his KS3 role, Philip has developed the curriculum including the introduction of knowledge organisers, interleaved tests to aid retention and the implementation of skills assessments. To aid the implementation of the curriculum that Philip has developed, he conducts regular training sessions and lesson observations to support teachers. Philip’s KS3 science curriculum begins with the ‘big ideas’ in science and students study these concepts in greater depth throughout the course. The curriculum moves from foundation to specialised, thus enabling all students to excel in the subject.
Lizzie Hardy - Maths Lead (Key Stage 3)
After completing her bachelor’s degree (Mathematics and Biology) and PGCE at the University of Bristol, Lizzie has been teaching mathematics at Pimlico Academy since 2012. The implementation of the Maths Mastery curriculum at Pimlico Academy in 2015 led to Lizzie seeing the impact that conceptual understanding of mathematical principles, and students’ use of mathematical language, has had on students’ overall understanding and enjoyment of maths. Lizzie continues to lead the success of using the Maths Mastery curriculum in Pimlico Academy and, in her role as Maths Lead, is working with school leads to ensure all students are achieving the same high standard of mathematical education across the trust’s schools.
Our Principles of Curriculum Design
The work of The Curriculum Centre in designing and developing the Future Academies’ curriculum is based upon seven principles of curriculum design. Our curriculum materials are:
5. Academically challenging
6. Written with memory in mind
7. Written for novices, not experts