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John Ferneley college transforms curriculum to improve education experience for all ​​​​​​​

In the wake of COVID-19, students across the country have suffered a huge disruption to their learning. To help address this, John Ferneley College in Melton Mowbray is transforming its delivery of education. It is launching a ‘knowledge rich’ curriculum when term starts in September and its 1150 students return to face-to-face teaching.

As well as a dramatic shift in teaching approach, the new curriculum will comprise an enrichment programme of opportunities, experiences and visits. These will complement the whole school objective of enabling every student to achieve their potential and ultimately improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Some of the planned opportunities up for grabs are likely to include trips to Iceland, New York and NASA, as well as some more close to home.

As part of the drive to teach students how to retain essential core information and skills around each subject area, enrichment programme opportunities under consideration also include exploring the cultural heritage of Melton Mowbray and the local area, visits to the Holocaust Centre, Southwell Workhouse and The Galleries of Justice, visiting theatre companies and authors.

Staff are looking at the texts, big ideas, knowledge, skills and strategies they would like to teach in order to create an inspirational curriculum that will transform students’ learning experience.

The college is now looking forward to continuing to strengthen these pastoral care arrangements and SEN provision to enable the most vulnerable and disadvantaged students to overcome social barriers and benefit equally from accessing the knowledge-rich curriculum. A ‘tough love’ approach to behaviour is being adopted to ensure that students’ learning of this exciting curriculum is fully protected.

The college’s aim is still to achieve the record-breaking GCSE results the town has been used to seeing for every child, but the way the new curriculum is delivered will now focus on strategies to develop long-term memory, using the latest learning in cognitive science to support this. This will have lasting benefits for every student throughout their college career and beyond.


CEO Christine Stansfield explains,

“Every child is of equal worth and every child has the right to a world-class education. With this new approach, we have carefully selected the best skills and knowledge to shape our curriculum, the way we teach and how the students learn.

“Long-term memory is not constrained. It is capable of storing thousands of pieces of information. Studies have shown that when important facts and essential skills are committed to long-term memory, they become part of the students’ thinking apparatus, which they can draw on to help them solve problems in every aspect of their lives, for their entire lifetime.”