The Learning Challenge Curriculum

This is the basis of our approach to teaching non-core subjects, i.e. History, Geography etc.


  • Greater learner involvement in their own work. Deep thinking is encouraged and it encourages learners to work from a question used as a starting point.
  • Teachers use a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Information is gained from pre-learning tasks and, together with the school’s own context, this is used to design a series of subsidiary challenges. Each subsidiary challenge is also expressed as a question. The schemes provided are samples of how this might be done. Once teachers become skilled at devising these challenges, other topics stemming from the interests of the class may be used.
  • Subsidiary learning challenges are expected to last for one week, but this does not need to be the case. Initially, it may be useful for learners and teachers to get used to the weekly learning challenge.


  • Pre-learning tasks ensure that learners are directly involved in the planning process. Well planned pre-learning tasks help identify what learners already know, what misconceptions they may have and what really interests them. Teachers should take account of the outcomes of these tasks to plan subsidiary learning challenges for each major area of study. Pre-learning tasks can take many different forms – written or oral, as long or as short as is required.
  • Continuity and progression is built around a set of matrices showing essential knowledge, skills and understanding within the subjects. These are broken into year groups and have additional challenge for able learners. These matrices ensure NC requirements are met, whilst allowing our school to have some autonomy over how they are met.
  • It is expected that teachers apply maths, English and ICT skills where appropriate to do so.
  • A final layer is skills structure is the ‘engagement or empowerment’ skills for each year group. These are progressive and allow for pupils to develop as team workers, effective participators, reflective learners, independent enquirers, resourceful thinkers and self-managers.
  • Time for learners to reflect on or review their learning is central.       It is suggested that the final subsidiary learning challenge is handed over to to the learners, and that they use their oracy and ICT skills to present their learning.
  • Creative and Expressive Arts used as enhancers – art, DT, music and dance knowledge, skills and understanding are woven into the Learning Challenges so that progression and continuity in these subjects is also planned for.