SMARTcurriculum Blog

I was talking to my son-in-law the other day about what we do within schools and the SMARTcurriculum work. He, like many outside the education dome, expressed a complete lack of understanding or appreciation of the working of schools. ‘It’s just there – teachers teach classes, don’t they?’ was his response. He had not considered the HR, finance and funding efficiency being part of the conversation; very much part of his everyday consideration in a busy retail shopping outlet.

In developing the conversation a little further, he began to talk of his experience in running a store for one of the country’s leading retail brands. He talked about costed shelf space, measured by the unit centimetre, and how the space given to merchandise is controlled, measured and monitored on a daily basis to maximise revenue. It is not just ‘selling stuff.’
He described how the in-store bakery is allotted a number of staff with defined roles (no pun intended). The counter is a determined size, relative to the selling trends in the community, and the production is carefully monitored to minimise waste, and the unsold surplus, of a product that has a limited shelf-life. The daily processes may be very mundane, but it is monitored and delivered with great care and scientific methodology.
He asked me how schools determine the base measure and why schools put on any number of classes with a fixed grant budget, without any control measures. He was bemused by the fact that, in the retail trade, selling bread was structured more carefully than the delivery in a school. He said it would be completely impossible for a store to extend the shelf to spread the bread out or to employ more than the allotted staff to sell the bread; ‘the store would go bust’ was his confident assertion! And you have to agree that when you look at the modern retail store the shelves are packed and no space is left unused for long, if ever. The automation of the processes is a whole other conversation!
How does this relate to SMARTcurriculum? Well its the understanding of the basic provision that I have described before; the minimum funded provision with average classes of 27 across a year group, generating a number of teaching periods per cycle for a year group that contains a range of subject disciplines and specialist staff. This is the basic structure that the grant funding provides. The schools that have no measure of what that looks like and no reference point to come back to or demonstrate how ‘enhanced’ their curriculum is, are moving into dangerous ground and, in the words of my son-in-law, ‘they’ll go bust”.
The truth of the SMARTcurriculum Method is that there is shelf space to expand- and we know that it is about 8% of provision above the basic ‘shelf length’. Careful use of this space, applied where it is needed, will do wonders for results and community development. These are the tricks being learned by the great schools who are applying the resources they have, where they need them. If you consider a school may have a provision of 4000 hours of learning over a whole school, 8% of that provision could be as much as 320 hours of learning to add to the structure. That is useful time, and in a school working a 50period cycle that is over 6 whole classes (not that that is probably the way it would be used). We can apply this to the use of Teaching Assistants and Higher Level Teaching Assistants too- capturing the work they do to ensure measured impact and outcomes is a whole new world for many.
Please contact us for more information of SMARTcurriculum and the analysis it can provide info@cj-learning.com
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