Why has the curriculum been updated?
A review of "Freedom to Flourish" had been planned for some time. The curricula that schools on the Isle of Man have developed are good, but there are always new developments in education and the DEC wanted to reflect these. The opportunity has also been taken to identify and share best practice with all schools and to move to an electronic format.
Does Essentials for Learning apply to all schools?
Yes, the new curriculum is relevant to all all pupils in compulsory education. Its principles will be adapted to specific age groups and subject areas.
Will anyone monitor the implementation of Essentials for Learning in schools?
Yes. In the first instance, it will be the responsibility of schools, themselves, to evaluate the effectiveness of their curricula. The Department of Education and Children also has a small team of advisers whose job is to work with schools to ensure the quality of all aspects of their work.
How long has it taken to review the curriculum?
The review of the curriculum began in April 2010, when a group of teachers, headteachers and staff from the DEC met for the first time to discuss the possible revision. They met three more times and shared resources, discussed educational materials and examined the curricula of a wide range of other jurisdictions.
Will a Manx curriculum that is different from that in the UK, disadvantage our pupils?
Essentials for Learning will provide a strong foundation on which attitudes and values will be developed but the core content of the curriculum schools deliver is broadly in line with that of UK schools. The curriculum offered to students on the Isle of Man provides a very strong basis on which they can tackle GCSE and A-level examinations confidently. Experience tells us, in fact, that pupils with a rich range of experiences, in addition to strong academic credentials, are more attractive than others when applying for higher education or for jobs.
What difference will Essentials for Learning make to pupils?
Essentials for Learning will result in a curriculum that is more engaging and challenging for pupils. Pupils will become more aware of how and why they learn, in addition to what they are learning. It will also help prepare pupils in the skills required by employers and needed for successful lives, in the future, including the ability to work with others, flexibility, verbal skills, the ability to deal with distractions and change, decision-making and problem-solving.
Will the curriculum mean a departure from traditional skills and knowledge?
The basic skills - in particular those in English and maths - are high priorities and will remain so. Essentials for Learning is a framework that informs the way the curriculum in a school is delivered. The content, within broad parameters, will remain the responsibility of individual schools.
How have teachers been trained for the implementation of Essentials for Learning?
A series of workshops were held, during the early part of 2011, to brief key members of schools' staff about Essentials for Learning. A training day was then used, in June 2011, during which these people "spread the message" to other members of staff. DEC provided some support materials and a presentation.