How a joint-trust vision led to curriculum alignment: case study (secondary)

The de Ferrers Trust's curriculum is all about providing pupils with a broad education that prepares them for the challenges of modern society. Find out how this shared vision led to alignment in curriculum time, subject content and exam boards among the trust's 3 secondary schools.

Last reviewed on 15 March 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 44170
  1. What's the approach?
  2. Why this approach?
  3. How the trust made it happen

We spoke to Ian McNeilly, CEO of The de Ferrers Trust. It's a 7-school trust, though we focus below on how it has approached the curriculum across its 3 secondary schools.

What's the approach?

This trust aligns: 

  • Curriculum time for each subject area across Key Stage 3 and KS4 (see an example of the time breakdown here). This includes:
    • A strong focus on the arts in KS3 
    • A 'values' curriculum area to make sure there's enough weekly time for PSHE and RE
    • Flexibility for pupils who need extra literacy and numeracy lessons
  • Subject content:
    • There's 3 common assessment points across the year - certain subject content needs to be taught by each assessment point
    • Teachers have autonomy over how they teach the required subject content (there's no demands for identical lesson sequencing or lesson plans)
  • Exam boards. This isn't fully standardised across all subjects, but there's around 95% standardised exam boards for each subject across the trust 

Vision: the trust's 'moral purpose' is to provide a broad