David Ross Education Trust appoints Christine Counsell to help develop new curriculum


A leading curriculum expert has joined the David Ross Education Trust as it steps up its focus on developing a knowledge-rich curriculum.

Christine Counsell, who sits on Ofsted’s curriculum advisory panel and was formerly director of education at Inspiration Trust, joined the trustee board earlier this month to advise on implementing a knowledge-based approach to teaching and learning at DRET.

According to DRET’s website, the trust is “standardising” the curriculum and wants to ensure its education is “deep, knowledge-based and challenging”.

“We are focused on implementing the ‘One Trust’ way across all stages in order to achieve this,” it said.

“This includes ensuring that children are taught an interesting, stimulating and challenging curriculum by inspiring experts, with disadvantage not determining outcome.”

Counsell had been heading up Inspiration Trust’s curriculum development, but parted ways with the trust earlier this academic year.

On her appointment to DRET she said she would be “working closely with the trust’s education leaders as they develop a knowledge-rich curriculum that acts as the driving force to improve education outcomes across its 34 schools”.

“I have been impressed by the trust’s determination to make subject communities central in this endeavour, its desire to get ongoing subject leadership right so that teachers develop through curriculum agency, and its exceptional commitment to the arts in education,” she said. The role is unpaid.

David Ross, sponsor and chair of DRET, said: “Christine is rightly regarded as a pioneer in curriculum development.  Her appointment to our board of trustees adds significant experience and expertise, which will greatly benefit the quality of education we provide to our students.”

Academy trusts are increasingly focusing on curriculum development, with some mixed results.

In 2017 Justine Greening, the former education secretary, announced a £7.7 million curriculum fund to pilot ways of delivering the 2014 national curriculum and to tackle workload.

The first £2.4 million of that was only made available to knowledge-rich programmes. The 11 schools to share the funding – announced in January– were all academies.

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  1. So much for school autonomy when MATs impose a trust-wide curriculum. Any curriculum is only as good as the way it’s taught. Trusts need to ensure teachers are not just given a centrally-decided script thereby undermining teacher professionalism (but making it easier to hire unqualified staff to ‘teach’).

  2. Didn’t a MAT recently, who had a school-wide curriculum model achieve an Inadequate outcome following an Ofsted inspection? Template ideas to reduce workload? Yes. Impose the same model on all schools with different demographics? Well, that’s just naive.

    At the heart of any good curriculum are the teachers who can deliver the content of the paper into the classroom. I’m sure CC will do a good job.