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Sequencing an Apprenticeship Curriculum

The new OfSTED Education Inspection Framework (EIF) will require a significant shift in delivery models for many colleges and independent training providers delivering apprenticeships. We have written in previous articles that inspectors are going to focus on education and training providers’ curriculum intent, implementation and impact. For providers who are now actively preparing their curriculum plans in preparation for the EIF, they will also have to consider their curriculum sequencing.

What is Curriculum Sequencing?

Sequencing is, effectively, the way in which you plan the order of your curriculum activities. The sequence is how the required skills and knowledge are presented to learners over the duration of their programmes. Providers might also wish to consider the scope of their apprenticeship programmes: the breadth and depth of the skills and knowledge that will be covered – the content.

OfSTED Expectations

OfSTED places the importance of sequencing as a means for learners to be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills to know what they are doing automatically. This can only be achieved if learning happens early enough for them to have the time to learn the necessary skills and knowledge in a logical order.

The provider’s curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment[/su_quote] If sequencing is not designed correctly, then there is an expectation that it will have an impact on learners achieving and making progress as it they will struggle to master complex skills

Curriculum Sequencing

A well-designed apprenticeship curriculum begins by studying the apprenticeship standard and defining the sequence and scope. The benefit of apprenticeship standards is that they clearly state what knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice needs to master by the end of the programme. However, providers also need to consider how they integrate functional skills and other non-apprenticeship standard requirements such as Prevent Guidance, Safeguarding, E&D etc. The sequence needs to be clear about the progressive order of activities the apprentices will undertake.

We have added a few steps that we think will be helpful to consider when planning the sequence of your curriculum.

Step 1

The first step in your curriculum sequencing activities is considering the programme outcomes. This is important as it will form your curriculum intent planning. (Use our free Apprenticeship Curriculum Planning Checklist to help with this) What are the standards that you are being asked to meet? What are the knowledge, skills and behaviour requirements expected of the learners, and what content should they have mastered by the end of their apprenticeship? List the outcomes and determine what you will deliver, and then consider your curriculum impact and list what you want learners to be able to demonstrate to show they have the skills and knowledge and to what level for each outcome.

Step 2

Now start to identify the curriculum activities. Consider the order of delivery and how learners will gain the necessary skills and knowledge in a coherent and logical manner. Curriculum sequencing can be done in chronological order, thematically or by difficulty level.

Step 3

Once the sequence of activities is in place, think about the scope and content. It is useful to write a description for each curriculum activity and what outcomes the activity will cover. The content for that activity will also need to be identified and, where necessary, created. This activity will also support your curriculum implementation planning.

Sequencing in Stedfast

The curriculum planning tools in Stedfast have been designed to allow education and training providers to plan their curriculum intent, implementation and impact easily. The sequencing tools make it easy to structure a curriculum in a logical order.

Adding curriculum activities is a simple 3 step process.

1 Details

Add the curriculum details. Users at this stage set when the activity will be delivered. It can be over a period of time. Users also select if the activity requires learning, practice and/or assessment. If the activity is credit-bearing then the value can also be added.

2 Outcomes

The next step is to add the outcomes that the activity covers. These outcomes are set in assessment plans which are where curriculum intent is set.

3 Content

The next step is to add the activity detail and content.

One of many really useful features of Stedfast is that for each curriculum activity, users can also record the number of hours allocated to it. This will then be counted toward the 20% Off the Job learning reports that are available.

Getting the sequence right

Once users have created the curriculum activities they can then move the activities in a new order that meets the sequence requirement.

Finally, users will be able to easily see each of the activities in the curriculum sequence report

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