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Cotham School

Decolonising the Curriculum

Started 2019-20

During the 2019-2020 academic year, teachers completed a detailed audit of the Key Stage 3 curriculum with the intent of decolonising the curriculum and ensuring that the content is diverse, representative and contextual at the same time as being knowledge rich and challenging.  After this review process, all teachers and leaders used Cotham School’s Principles of Curriculum to plan and resource a new curriculum that develops cultural capital, recognises Bristol’s diverse local history and achievement, provides enriching experiences to level up the social playing field, links learning to the wider world including current affairs and social issues and engages students in thinking about ‘big ideas’ outside of their life experiences.  In addition to this, the new decolonised curriculum served to encourage disadvantaged students to diversify their interests e.g. taking up arts-based subjects and widening their extracurricular opportunities.  This new curriculum also has intentional, planned opportunities to develop oracy skills, literacy and numeracy skills and with clear links and references to real world applications and future careers, but, most importantly, sought to highlight diversity and inclusion through the celebration of BAME/Disability/LGBTQIIA+ achievement and history.  This important work was applied to lesson planning, resourcing (with more diverse pictures and examples) as well as assemblies and tutor time activities delivered through the pastoral programme.  The new decolonised Year 7 curriculum has now been completed and is undergoing a review of its implementation; the 2020-2021 academic year will be spent decolonising and rewriting the Year 8 curriculum as we move towards a completely representative curriculum.