Imagine an S1 Curriculum: a rich task approach

For many children the gulf in the type of learning experience on offer in primary schools and secondary schools means that many do not show any progress in the early years of secondary school.

If we are to build a curriculum which flows from 3-18 then S1 provides a remarkable opportunity to capitalise upon the primary experience where children have been encouraged and enabled to be responsible and independednt learners and prepare them for the future.

The building block for contructing the S1 curriculum would relate to Learning Teams.

In this scenario there are 200 children in S1.  Let’s say that the week is split up into 15  blocks of learning (3 per day).

The S1 Curriculum would be delivered by a Learning Team who are  timetabled to only teach S1 classes. A teacher will teach 12 blocks of learning a week.

In Scotland some S1 subjects have a maximum class size of 20 (science, art, Craft and Design; , home economics, maths, english

10 classes (20) x 10 blocks of learning = 100 blocks of learning require

7 classes (30) x 5 blocks of learning = 35 blocks of learning

The S1 curriculum can be delivered in 135 blocks of learning – which would require 11.25 teachers to deliver the curriculum.

A timetable for an individual student might be as follows:








 Social subjects rotation

 Rich task 1



 Rich task 2






 Rich task


 Technology rotation






 Rich task 4



 Expressive Arts


 Rich Task



















Rich Tasks:

Over the course of the year students would complete 15 rich tasks (inter-disciplinary projects).

Argyll and Bute Council have been doing some outstanding work in relation to rich tasks – check it out for more details.

The rich tasks will be created by the Learning Team. Students should be given the opportunity to contribute to the creation and development of Rich Task topics. The tasks should engage and stimulate students to explore issues in depth and take some responsibility for co-creating their curriculum. It will be necessary to identify the desired outcomes to be fulfilled over the course of the year.  Having identified the outcomes the Learning Team will try to map out the most appropriate learning experiences which will allow these outcomes to be fulfilled. 

In each of the rich tasks either literacy or numeracy must feature as key components. Skills for Life, Skills for Work and Skills for Learning and Health and Well Being should be woven into the programme of tasks.

Rich tasks should enable some form of choice for students to select topics which are of personal interest.

The example shown here is from Argyll and Bute Council

 Event or Performance:

Students will work within teams, in different capacities, in planning, organising, creating and performing in a celebratory, festive or artistic event or performance that takes place at or outside the school. 

Hints and Tips

• Performances take various possible forms (e.g. music hall, concert, play, dance, circus act, gymnastics display, magic). An event might even incorporate several of these.


• When student numbers are smaller, the event may well be shorter. Quality, not quantity, is the target.


• An organisational group might take on roles such as overall management, venue management, promotion, finance.
*A performing group might take on roles, depending on the performance, such as acting/directing, music/sound, stage management, lighting, costuming, choreography, animal management.
• A breakdown of roles and responsibilities re event management could be found by researching on the internet.
• This might be a good opportunity to encourage environmentally friendly practices.
• Each student must work as a member of two groups —one with an organisational role and one that contributes directly to the performance. No organisational group is to include most of the members of any performance group and vice versa.
• Each group is to diarise the contribution of each student in it, with the students to sign off on the agreement.

• A precondition for the performance is that the students are to have created what is to be performed. (This might involve rearrangement or resequencing of existing works.)

 Assessment Criteria



Individual pupil performance should be assessed in a formative fashion using the appropriate CfE level learning outcomes. Comment should also be made on their contribution to the task.
The tasks are assessed as ‘high quality’, ‘quality’, ‘acceptable’ and ‘fair’    










A high quality performance is evidenced by:


• enthusiastic, collaborative, multifaceted and sustained contribution to the creation, production, organisation and performance of an event. 

• organisational and entrepreneurial skills (e.g. public relations and marketing).








• display of flair and originality.

An acceptable performance is evidenced by:
• an identifiable contribution to the staging of a relevant


using the following descriptors and interpolation. Where it has been a group performance, all members of the group gain the same award. 
















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