Aim: To redesign the Key Stage 3 curriculum around a school Learner Profile

Background: Adopting academy status allowed increased curriculum flexibility to provide a more stimulating curriculum for Key Stage 3 pupils. Establishing a ‘Learner Profile’ encouraged staff to consider education beyond the confines of their subject area and address variations in performance between subject departments.


Year 1: A newly appointed Curriculum Development Co-ordinator established a voluntary staff research group to consider the content of the school’s Learner Profile and an action plan for piloting this concept and sharing it with staff, pupils and governors. The seven attributes were identified as: being intellectually curious, collaborative and supportive, open to opportunity, globally aware, an effective communicator, a lifelong learner and having personal integrity.

Year 2: The Learner Profile was piloted by two subject departments: Religious Studies and Design and Technology. These departments shared their experience with all the teaching staff during staff development days. The implementation of Learner Profile and curriculum reform were written into the new School Development Plan. All significant changes and developments in school were assessed against their ability to improve the delivery of the seven Learner Profile attributes.

Year 3: All subject departments worked on updating their Key Stage 3 and GCSE schemes of work to ensure they delivered the Learner Profile attributes.

Assemblies, school publications, the prospectus, pupil planners, the website, lesson observation and subject department inspection programmes were all redesigned to reflect these qualities.

Evidence: Literature, lesson observations, subject department inspections, feedback from pupils, parents and staff.

Impact: The Learner Profile now provides an effective means of ensuring consistency within the school. All staff (turnover is 10-15% each year) are provided with a clear guide regarding the school’s wider educational aims rather than simply focusing on a narrow set of goals related to their subject. There is now a common thread in the school’s schemes of work and a means for staff and pupils to make cross-curricular links through the Learner Profile.

Reflections: Schools are increasingly dynamic organizations, and the busy external educational agenda alongside significant internal changes can all too easily result in a loss of focus and the growth of inconsistency. Therefore, having a clear mission which is understood by all stakeholders is vital. This mission must be fully woven into the school’s teaching and learning. The Learner Profile has provided a simple and effective means of achieving this goal. Public examination results matter but the culture of the school matters more. We have made use of additional metrics such as levels of participation, willingness to volunteer, and quality of communication to evaluate our progress as a school.

Contact: Mike Skelly, Headmaster