Curriculum Planning Policy

York Learning
Author: Angela Padfield
Date of Publication: 5 January 2021
Revised September 2023
Next date of review August 2024
  1. Purpose:

The purpose of the policy is to:

  • state the principles which underpin the York Learning curriculum offer;
  • define how the Service decides which courses and provision is to run and where;
  • Identify how the Service develops its curriculum offer to reflect local priorities.


  1. Policy Statement:

The underpinning principles of the policy are that:

  • access to lifelong learning is a fundamental democratic right which is reflected in our learner entitlement;
  • lifelong learning enables individuals, families, communities and employers to fulfil their potential;
  • each adult, or young person between the ages of 14 and 19, has their own reason for wanting to learn, and all reasons are valid;
  • everyone should have an equal opportunity to access learning;
  • learners, residents and employers require a well-balanced and responsive curriculum, which caters for their needs;
  • learners want to achieve, and to know how to progress;
  • learners must be helped to overcome barriers to learning and employment, especially for who have poor experiences of education;
  • higher level learning opportunities will be available or signposted as a progression route in all parts of the curriculum.

This will be achieved by:

  • ensuring curriculum and learner needs are at the centre of strategic planning;
  • ensuring planning addresses local, regional and national policy initiatives, offering learning that aims to improve a learner’s life chances, keeps them safe and protects them from the risk of exploitation;
  • a wide range of well-publicised learning opportunities tailored to local need;
  • the availability of a range of information, advice and guidance opportunities, ensuring that people are on a course that is right for them and able to progress;
  • ensuring all learners are entitled to initial assessment and an individual learning plan;
  • offering a comprehensive range of curriculum choices, ensuring those who require financial support to access classes have fair access to provision and those who can afford to pay do so, and which reflect national standards and lead to recognised accreditation;
  • ensuring learners can participate in a number of ways, delivering learning as near as possible to where people live and/or work;
  • prioritising first step courses to encourage people back into learning;
  • offering learning which values the learner and the experience of life that they bring to their course, promoting cultural understanding, celebrating difference and encourages tolerance
  • ensuring all learners are able to influence the content and pace of their learning;
  • ensuring all learners are asked their views on the running of their course;
  • effectively and publicly celebrating learners’ achievement, including participation in national events (e.g. Festival of Learning);
  • tailoring our provision to combine learner satisfaction and value for money, thus making best use of our resources;
  • working with partner organisations to ensure a coherent curriculum offer and to determine learners’ progression routes.


  1. Scope

This covers all the formal and informal learning experiences offered by the Service or via partner organisations.  We aim to offer a broad open access curriculum which provides a wide range of publicly advertised learning opportunities offering multiple entry points for individuals within the area it serves. It is subject focused and will include academic and vocational programmes alongside, general interest and personal development programmes.  It may include courses for which entry is by interview. Where there is a selection process it is usually on the basis of whether the programme is right for the learner rather than formal entrance requirements.

This aims to widen participation, meet the needs of disadvantaged learners and overcome factors which cause exclusion. It focuses on :

  • priority curriculum areas or essential skills, English, maths, ICT/Digital Skills, ESOL, entry and foundation level ‘first rung’ provision
  • priority learners (targeted provision for disadvantaged or excluded groups including adults with learning difficulties or disabilities)
  • priority contexts (disadvantaged wards, provision outside educational buildings, outreach, community and workplace learning opportunities) .

The curriculum also aims to facilitate and support provision developed by, with and for a wide range of communities, agencies or groups. It can include the development of infrastructure to support the delivery of learning opportunities and build the capacity of organisations to deliver learning.

This may include:

  • part-time provision, during the day, evening and weekend
  • some full-time provision
  • multi-site delivery
  • a variety of learning modes
  • tailor-made provision, some of which offers qualifications outside the NQF
  • qualifications in the NQF
  • vocational learning opportunities


  1. Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting

The York Learning Governance Board is responsible for the review of the over-arching curriculum policy.

The Service Management Team chaired by the Head of Service will review the range, volume and quality of the Service’s curriculum offer and will recommend developments in the curriculum.  Curriculum managers are expected to fill in a curriculum vision yearly to support their planning process. (Annex A)

A curriculum management framework which includes Curriculum Managers, Lead tutors and local area, themed networks.

Data will be collected to enable managers to review, reflect on their offer to ensure it meets the aims of the service.


  1. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

This policy will be used to promote fairness in all aspects of practice within the Service and support the Service’s commitment to be fully inclusive. The Service recognises that some groups of learners may be more vulnerable and is committed to planning and organising its curriculum offer to support successful outcomes for these learners.

All learners regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity have the right to equal protection from all types of harm, abuse and the risk of radicalisation. The Service is committed to planning and organising its curriculum offer to challenge these behaviours.

Annex A – Curriculum Vision Planning

Annex B: Remember the 3 i’s