A curriculum in which both the teaching and the content, or programme of study, are tailored to the learning needs of each individual child. It presupposes the facility to monitor closely each child's progress on a day‐by‐day or week‐by‐week basis, and to provide ‘catch‐up’ programmes for those pupils whose learning is progressing more slowly. Since 2005 government education policy discourse has emphasized the concept of ‘personalization’ of the school curriculum; and the introduction for teachers, in September 2005, of 10 per cent of their timetabled time free from teaching for the purpose of planning, preparation, and assessment is viewed as one means by which such an approach might be facilitated, since teachers need time free from classroom teaching in order monitor individual pupil progress, devise individual learning plans, and liaise closely with parents and carers over their child's individual action plan.
The implementation of a personalized curriculum requires the adoption of alternative pedagogical approaches, since it cannot be achieved through conventional whole‐class teaching. For example, it requires the teacher to act as a facilitator of learning, rather than instructor or director. It also implies some degree of negotiation between teacher and pupil about what is to be learned and how, a model approaching that sometimes described as ‘learner‐managed’ or ‘co‐constructed’ learning. Moreover, the concept of personalized learning presupposes an approach to pupil progression which is based on the stage they have reached in their learning, rather than upon their chronological age. How these implications can be squared with the requirements of the externally imposed national curriculum in its current form, with its age‐related key stages and mandatory curriculum content, is as yet unclear.
In practical terms, ‘personalization’ is likely to take the form in schools of greater use of setting by ability; strategies to stretch the ability and attainment of those pupils classed as gifted and talented; additional support for pupils who are falling behind in their learning; more small‐group teaching; and more one‐to‐one tuition. It may also involve an increasing deployment of teaching assistants, working under the supervision of the class teacher, to maintain a constant presence in the classroom while the teacher is engaged with individual pupils or small groups. See also stage not age.