Sequencing an Apprenticeship Curriculum

Sequencing an Apprenticeship Curriculum

Introducing the new OfSTED Education Inspection Framework (EIF) marks a pivotal shift in the delivery models for many colleges and independent training providers offering apprenticeships. As highlighted in previous articles, inspectors will strongly emphasise the curriculum’s intent, implementation, and impact. For those actively preparing their curriculum plans to align with the EIF, it is important to consider the sequencing of their curriculum meticulously.

What is Curriculum Sequencing?

Curriculum sequencing is essentially the strategic planning of the order in which curriculum activities are delivered. It involves structuring the presentation of required skills and knowledge to learners throughout their programmes. Providers should also consider the scope of their apprenticeship programmes, ensuring they effectively cover a broad and deep range of skills and knowledge – the content.

OfSTED Expectations

OfSTED places a significant emphasis on sequencing because it enables learners to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills to perform tasks autonomously. This outcome is achievable only if the learning occurs early enough for learners to have ample time to master the necessary skills and knowledge in a logical sequence. The provider’s curriculum must be coherently planned and sequenced to build sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. Incorrect sequencing can severely impact learners’ ability to achieve and progress, particularly when mastering complex skills.

Curriculum Sequencing

A well-designed apprenticeship curriculum begins with thoroughly examining the apprenticeship standard to define the programme’s sequence and scope. Apprenticeship standards clearly state the knowledge, skills, and behaviours that apprentices need to master by the end of their programme. However, providers must also integrate functional skills and other non-apprenticeship standard requirements, such as Prevent Guidance, Safeguarding, and Equality & Diversity (E&D). The sequence must delineate a progressive order of apprentices’ activities, ensuring a logical build-up of skills and knowledge.

Steps to Plan Curriculum Sequencing

To assist in planning your curriculum sequence, consider the following steps:

Step 1: Define Programme Outcomes

The initial step in curriculum sequencing is considering the programme outcomes, forming the foundation of your curriculum intent planning. Utilise tools such as an Apprenticeship Curriculum Planning Checklist to assist with this process. Determine the standards you must meet and the knowledge, skills, and behaviour expectations for learners. Identify the content learners should have mastered by the end of their apprenticeship. List these outcomes, decide what will be delivered, and consider your curriculum impact by outlining what you want learners to demonstrate, ensuring they have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to the required level for each outcome.

Step 2: Identify Curriculum Activities

Next, identify the specific curriculum activities. Consider the delivery order, ensuring learners gain the necessary skills and knowledge coherently and logically. Curriculum sequencing can be structured chronologically, thematically, or by difficulty level. This step is important to ensure that each element of learning builds appropriately on the previous one, providing a scaffolded learning experience.

Step 3: Define Scope and Content

Once the sequence of activities is established, focus on defining the scope and content. Write detailed descriptions for each curriculum activity, specifying the outcomes each activity will cover. Identify and, where necessary, create the content for each activity. This step is key for supporting your curriculum implementation planning. Ensure each activity has clearly defined goals and aligns with the programme outcomes.

Step 4: Integrate Functional Skills and Additional Requirements

In addition to the core apprenticeship standards, functional skills and other essential requirements such as Prevent Guidance, Safeguarding, and Equality & Diversity (E&D) should be incorporated. These elements should be woven into the curriculum sequence to ensure a comprehensive learning experience. This integration ensures that apprentices gain vocational skills and develop essential life skills and awareness.

Step 5: Review and Adjust

Finally, continuously review and adjust your curriculum sequence based on feedback and assessment results. Regularly evaluating its effectiveness allows for timely modifications that can enhance learning outcomes. Engage with stakeholders, including learners and employers, to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments to improve the programme’s effectiveness.

By following these steps, providers can create a well-sequenced curriculum that meets OfSTED’s expectations and effectively prepares apprentices for future learning and employment. This careful planning ensures that learners gain the necessary skills and knowledge logically and progressively, ultimately leading to successful apprenticeship outcomes.


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