Big Questions in Classrooms – Embedding culture change and human flourishing in joint Science/RE curriculum design principles in English Multi-Academy Trusts
TWCF Number
Project Duration
July 1 / 2023
- June 30 / 2025
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
Amount Awarded

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Andy Wolfe
Institution The National Society (Church of England and Church in Wales) for the Promotion of Education

Emily Norman
Institution The National Society (Church of England and Church in Wales) for the Promotion of Education

Co-directed by Andy Wolfe and Emily Norman at Church of England, Education and Schools, this project seeks to embed at least two key TWCF-funded teaching approaches and associated resources from Big Questions in Classrooms (BQiC) into part of the education system in England. The pathway for this impact is through the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership’s (CEFEL) engagement with and provision of training for curriculum and subject leaders of multi-academy trusts (MATs). 

Multi academy trusts are groups of schools working together as one business unit with coherent curriculum approaches. At present, the state-funded education system in England is shaped around the growth of MATs. Just over half of state-funded schools in England are academies within these groups, and by 2023, the UK government expects all schools to be part of a strong trust. MATs will therefore play a significant role in the design of curriculum in schools, as they will be the primary structural instrument for school improvement in the future. The Church of England is currently the largest provider of MATs.

BQiC seeks to develop teachers’ and students’ understanding and insight about “how knowledge works,” particularly in the domains of science education and religious education (RE) in England. 

This project will bring together BQiC grantees, subject leaders for science, and subject leaders from MATs to co-construct curriculum that would simultaneously provide opportunities for teachers and children to explore big questions in a multidisciplinary manner, while at the same time, satisfy government and inspection bodies’ requirements. The goal is to see a cadre of school leaders equipped, resourced, and commissioned into thinking, research, and practice that is informed by BQiC research, so that they can lead systemic improvements in curriculum design across the schools that are under their leadership.

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