REAL LiFE Curriculum

The Real LiFE Curriculum is an exciting opportunity for prospective year 7 and incoming 7 students at all  LiFE MAT secondary schools from August 2021. The Real LiFE Curriculum is available to all pupils, with all abilities and skill ranges.


What is the Real LiFE Curriculum?

This progressive and exciting model of teaching and learning is heavily influenced by incredibly successful schools across the globe and brings learning to life like never before.  It is based on the latest global educational research and is geared towards preparing our students to thrive in an ever changing and unpredictable world.  Through this curriculum model, our students will learn much more than facts; they learn to develop a wide range of skills and competencies that will enable them to contribute positively to the world around them.

How is this different to a traditional curriculum?

The real world doesn’t fit neatly into isolated subject areas, so understanding facts about these subjects in isolation is not enough to fully thrive in the modern world. In addition, students throughout history have often questioned the relevance of some of the things they were being taught.  The Real LiFE Curriculum addresses both these issues by taking students on skilfully planned multi-disciplinary learning journeys that are based on real life situations and experiences.

How will this work?

All Real LiFE Curriculum learning journeys are written by subject specialists who work collaboratively to plan and deliver each activity to make sure everything is truly relevant and fully prepares the students to be able to apply their knowledge later on.  The learning journeys start with an immersive experience and culminate with students developing a final product that is showcased via an event or exhibition. Regular enhanced personalised coaching sessions are given to each student to help them develop in areas such as character, creativity, and critical thinking, which enables them to improve their ability to work independently towards achieving challenging personal goals.

Can you give me a specific example of what this might look like?

An example of a typical learning journey is “Harnessing the Wind” where we use film and literature to explore the issues of deforestation, drought, poverty and famine in developing countries. Students are then taught the Scientific, Design, Engineering and Mathematical skills required to build a working scale model of a wind turbine that could be used to support communities who live in remote rural areas with no access to a reliable supply of electricity.

How will we know these students are making good progress?

Personalised coaching sessions ensure that both staff and students are regularly involved in monitoring progress towards their individual goals and that future goals are challenging, yet achievable.  Although written testing remains part of the assessment process, there is a greater emphasis on assessing the quality of preparation that students put into their showcase or exhibition, and their ongoing commitment to reflecting on what they have done so far to refine and improve their work until it is of a standard they can be proud of.

How will this curriculum fit in with GCSEs?

The Real LiFE Curriculum is designed to be delivered during Key Stage 3 in our secondary schools.  After this stage students will opt for GCSE subjects in the same way as the students who follow the traditional curriculum.  We are confident that students who follow the Real LiFE curriculum will demonstrate high levels of independent learning and may be afforded greater flexibility in terms of their GCSE choices such as the ability to study for additional subjects.  This will be determined on a case by case basis during the GCSE options process.

Will all children at your school follow this curriculum?

No - to ensure that we are able to meet our aspirational goals for the Real LiFE Curriculum places are limited to one group per school at this stage.

How can I apply for my child to be awarded a place in this group?

At this stage you should simply express your interest using the form in your welcome letter. Select the Real LiFE Curriculum as your choice for your child. We will then be in contact with further information and to confirm a place for your child.


Frequently Asked  Questions

This will be the first intake of students who follow the Real LiFE Curriculum, but it is based on design principles that are well established for over 30 years in numerous countries across the world.  Independent research has shown that the students in schools who implement these ideas see an average of 10 months achievement in Maths and 7 months in Literacy when compared to other students across a three year period.  UK schools such as XP (Doncaster) and School 21 (London) have achieved outstanding results and shown that these ideas can thrive within our education system.  We are the first Multi-Academy Trust to bring this style of education to Leicestershire and have planned it rigorously to ensure students taking part in the REAL Life Curriculum fully benefit from this approach to learning.

We are planning for the Real LiFE Curriculum class sizes to be the same size as other classes within the traditional curriculum model.

Subject specialists from across the LiFE MAT have been working together to ensure that the most important skills and topics from each subject are taught thoroughly and authentically through the Real LiFE Curriculum to ensure that there are no gaps in their knowledge.  Our intent is to create articulate and proactive students who thrive both in group work and independent study, which will benefit them in all subjects at KS4 and beyond.

Assessment is rigorous in the Real LiFE Curriculum.  Students will be regularly assessed in their progress towards the visible success criteria of each topic which is mapped to national curriculum standards, as well as the character that they have demonstrated in trying to achieve these standards.  Students will have a weekly coaching session with their CREW leader where their progress will be discussed in relation to their personal goals.  Some traditional testing will still occur but much wider forms of assessment that place the student in the Real LiFE context, for example, by collaboratively planning and organising events, will allow us to make a more holistic and informed assessment.

The Crew Leader will be a member of the teaching staff who spends most mornings with the students to complete coaching and goal-setting activities. The Crew Leader will play a large part in the planning and teaching of the Real LiFE Curriculum and will be your main contact (as a Form Tutor would be).

If expressions of interest exceed the number of places available in the Real LiFE Curriculum group at any of our schools, students and parents will be invited to discuss their application with the Real LiFE team.

After the deadline for expressions of interest has closed we will endeavour to contact parents as soon as possible to confirm which curriculum pathway their child will follow.


Want to find out more about this amazing immersive learning experience - click here to visit the LiFE MAT REAL LiFE Mini-site