The Deeper Living,
Deeper Learning Curriculum ©
There are three explicit components to the Deeper Living, Deeper Learning Curriculum©. Below is our adapted version to include Trauma-Informed Practice:
The Deeper Living, Deeper Learning Curriculum© was designed by our CEO, Dr Matt Silver, and empirically supported by his doctorate thesis, approved by University College London, Institute of Education. It has shown positive impact on student well-being, academic achievement, destinations and, importantly, has been implemented with students with additional needs leading to Outstanding Ofsted ratings in other settings. The approach is now published and shared internationally with other leading scholars in the field.
The components that are embedded across our whole curriculum:
The design of our timetable is highly specific to the needs of our young people and their optimum learning experience. For example, each day starts later to ensure that parents are supported in getting other siblings ready for school and to support pre-teen/teen sleeping patterns, removing a common resistor to learning. The learning sessions are short, with regular breaks to support attention. Break and lunch is communal to ensure a sense of belonging.
Example school day:
The curriculum framework intentionally links with an aligned autonomy approach aimed to sustainably enhance Reeve’s (2002) social nutrients and cultural conditions that enhance self-determination, thus engagement, whilst being mindful of the biological factors of individual learners. This curriculum was developed to increase five key components that theoretically underpin the approach drawn from Positive Psychology and Self Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci and Ryan, 2000):
Self-determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2017)
The curriculum framework provides structural prompts as opposed to prescribed content means that it provides an opportunity for teachers and learners to autonomously plot their volitional action and their individual and collective agentic actions that the curriculum structure and chosen qualifications asks of them, seeking to increase their self-determination (Shogren et al., 2015; Chang, Adams, & Little, 2017). Having to design and negotiate this together supports stakeholder autonomy and relatedness, whilst forming project group identity and ownership of the agentic action (though project group collaboration is common). The collaboration leads to relatedness between learners, peers and teachers investing trust into the relationships enhanced by shared responsibility in decisions and actions (Brockett & Hiemstra, 2012).
Adolescence is known to be a key period for development and the curriculum provides the opportunity to integrate the system within their sense of self, critiquing its role as opposed to rejecting it. Such responsibility is supported by the well-being component of the curriculum in that it enhances learners’ ability to respond appropriately, through understanding communication, self-awareness and self-regulation and their respective techniques (Chene, 1983). Purposeful increase in autonomy in target setting and sessions learners wish to attend impact on engagement and outcomes.
Teachers work with students to support them to choose a project on which they will work on across the term. Practitioners promote autonomy by providing choices in projects and on content that is meaningful to them and on which they can be successful in pursuing potential future pathways. Practitioners create opportunities to promote students’ fulfilment of their need for competence and metacognition with weekly reflections. There are regular exhibition days to celebrate and share with the community’s stakeholders. Students are enabled to set their own learning pace, to identify individualized goals that they would work toward, and the process emphasized creating community amongst learners and teachers as well as connecting students with their communities outside of the school context.