Cyclical School is a model for delivering the curriculum that can adapt to changing circumstances. In its original format, it envisaged a situation where a school could accommodate around 40 percent of its total population at any given time, with those not on site engaged in other ways and in other places - though not, necessarily, at home.
It’s a model based on sound pedagogy - specifically what is known as the ‘5E Learning Cycle’ consisting of opportunities to Engage, Explain, Explore, Elaborate and Evaluate. Those who are familiar with the idea of a spiral curriculum will also see that Cyclical School is an expression of this way of delivering learning.
A cycle at Cyclical School runs over ten working days or two school weeks. During those two weeks, each year group has four days in school and six days when they are expected to work independently.
The first two days are Engage days. This is when students attend to have new material presented and explained to them and are given the resources that they need to work independently for the next six school days.
The last two days are Evaluate days. This is when students return with their work to discuss it with their teacher and their classmates. It is also the time when they complete any formal assessments and get feedback from their teacher.
The timetable is staggered such that there are only two year groups on site on the same day. Each year group is divided into classes of around ten students to allow for social distancing, meaning there will be anything from six classes broken out from two in a single form entry primary school, to sixty classes broken down from twenty in a ten form entry secondary school. As regards the timetable, at secondary school level, each group would have seven lessons each of 45 minutes. In this way all the subjects that a student studies can be covered in their two days of Engage and also in their two days of Evaluate. At Primary School level, the timetable could be simpler, perhaps with a morning of literacy and some foundation subject work on the first day and a morning of numeracy followed by some creative or physical pursuit on the second.
In between these times, students must complete the work that has been set during the Engage phase. This could be at home, or in any number of locations such as libraries, community centres, coffee shops, church halls and the like. For the children of key workers, for vulnerable children and others too young to manage their own time, this could even be in school.
Cyclical School is a form of blended learning that could bridge the gap between almost total closure and the full reopening of schools. You can find out more about it by visiting the website, or looking out for our Facebook page of the same name.