Tom Needham

Head of English and Whole School Literacy Lead
Speaking at


Evidence based curriculum design: Applying DI, Cognitive Load Theory, A Deliberate Practice model, effective interventions and retrieval practice.

Standing on the shoulders of giants-how to build a curriculum from scratch that not only matches the increased rigour of the new GCSEs, but also attempts to tackle the main barriers to student success. These barriers include low reading ability, the vocabulary/background knowledge defect and substandard written expression. Drawing on research and techniques from Cognitive Science, Direct Instruction and practical teaching guides, I will explore how we have synthesised these ideas into a semi-coherent whole. The talk will be broadly similar to the one that I gave at researchED Rugby.


Tom is Head of English and Whole School Literacy Lead at Trinity School, Lewisham. Before his current role, he taught in International Schools in Penang, Malaysia and Lagos, Nigeria. He has also previously taught EFL in Thailand and Harrogate as well as history, citizenship, sociology, geography, media studies and RE in Croydon. His teaching interests include Engelmann’s DI, grammar, Cognitive Load Theory, memory, and knowledge-rich curricula.