The curriculum challenge.
Educators have a lot to fit into the curriculum and with the core subjects shouting loudly for attention as well as standardised tests taking centre stage, weaving time for creative education between times tables practice and SATs prep can feel like a near impossible task.
In 2019, when Ofsted announced their pivot in requirements to a focus on efficient delivery of the curriculum, many schools not only had to rethink they way they delivered the curriculum, they also saw a unique opportunity to incorporate new ways of teaching to ensure that ALL aspects of the curriculum are front and centre of a school’s focus, and accessible to all.
In a recent speech, Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector said;
‘A great curriculum exists on paper, but it’s pedagogy that brings it to life in front of a class. And I think the focus on curriculum has helped bring fresh thinking to how teaching is done.’
Bringing a curriculum to life is where the real magic of teaching begins.
It’s the space between an idea, and a child leaving school being excited about a topic and still remembering it months and even years later. We are sure you’ll agree, a creative workshop is a fantastic way to bring a topic to life. Workshop providers are there to provide an extra layer of creativity and focus, that a teacher may struggle to deliver with such a wide curriculum to teach.
What are the national curriculum/Ofsted requirements for creative education?
While we can point you to areas of the curriculum where circus topic is relevant. It’s perhaps more helpful to consider they ways teachers can utilise workshops to enhance many areas of the curriculum, not just when using a circus topic.
Where do creative workshops fit into these requirements?
So let’s look at the areas a creative workshop can integrate into your wider curriculum planning.
- Physical education; Lessons can fall into being simple ball games and running, by adding a creative workshop such as circus skills or dance, world music or yoga, can add an opportunity for extending learning outcomes. Incorporating a workshop into the PE curriculum will often have more far-reaching outcomes than a game of bench ball.
- History; The program of study for History across all key stages can be brought to life with a workshop. Get students dressed up as Tudors, or working together to put a Shakespeare sonnet to music, will bring the History curriculum to life, and for many, spark interest in a way a paper worksheet never will.
- English; Workshops can provide the opportunity to learn wider vocabulary, as well as dig into a text in an interactive way. Bringing a text to life with drama or movement will ensure students have wider opportunities to develop mastery in a subject.
Most workshop providers will be able to provide key learning objectives for their workshop as well as tier 3 language, meaning they can be very easily incorporated into most subject areas. (If you ask us as circus workshops provider to incorporate language about chemistry, we may struggle – over the years we have managed every other curriculum area!).
Workshops can be the perfect springboard for starting a topic or subject area, to bring interest and intrigue that inspires a topic. They are also great reward days or perfect for an end of term celebration.
What makes a circus workshop a good choice?
A circus workshop is incredibly adaptable. We have delivered workshops to link in with English, Healthy eating week, P.E, and Expressive arts. We can even mention some physics if you need us to – if juggling isn’t a good way to teach the effects of gravity, not sure what is?
One of the most frequent ways our workshops are used to enhance the curriculum is by bringing the circus topic to life with hands-on learning, and then the class teacher follows up this work with both creative writing as well as writing instructions for how to use the circus equipment. The history of the circus is also a fascinating topic and can be linked with both History and English.
One thing we are often asked is, ‘will your workshops be suitable for children with SEND?’ and the answer is yes.
Circus workshops engage a child’s skills in turn-taking, trusting their peers, and of course; coordination, balance, and concentration. We often hear teachers remark that children in their class who struggle to concentrate on a task in class, will have laser focus when it comes to attempting to learn to use devil sticks or a diablo.
Our workshop facilitators have a wealth of experience with children from a range of educational backgrounds. Just let us know any additional adaptations we need to make before we come to meet your students.