How much does it cost to design a curriculum?


19th March 2019

How much does it cost to design a curriculum?

The real cost of curriculum design

As a school leader with a tight budget, finding a cost effective way to design your curriculum is a serious responsibility. It can make or break your education offer and can be a great investment or an expensive mistake.

It’s easy to underestimate the time, expertise and hidden costs involved in curriculum development, so to make the right decision for your school, you’ll need to weigh up the options.

Your choice boils down to doing it yourself or buying a curriculum package or platform that you can tailor to your school. Whichever way you do it, creating a curriculum does cost (we know, we’ve done it both ways) and a package could be better value in the long run.

How much does it cost to design a curriculum?

Option 1: Do it yourself

What it takes

Doing it yourself means allocating key staff to do the curriculum design work and providing sufficient time for them to do it. It can take at least 10 days to create a long term curriculum plan and that’s before you’ve nailed the detailed lesson sequencing, content and resources. Some schools also invest in consultancy support or curriculum training for staff.

You’ll need to factor in ongoing, live monitoring work to see how children are progressing through each subject, and allow time to update it when national or school requirements change.

What it costs

This option involves supply cover, curriculum consultancy fees at around £200 per day, plus hidden costs if staff work in their own time. You will also need to find an assessment platform that aligns with your curriculum.

Based on an average of 10 days of work, it will cost you upwards of £3,000 to design a curriculum framework. This does not, however, include research, writing medium-term detail or creating resources.


  • Control over curriculum content.
  • Create your own resources.
  • Create your own assessment structure.
  • Gives staff curriculum design experience.


  • It’s a complex task that involves significant staff non-teaching time.
  • You need to create or source your own resources.
  • Relies on curriculum expertise of staff.
  • When staff leave, their curriculum expertise goes with them.
  • Risk of inconsistent quality across subjects.
  • Harder to build in coherent connections and sequencing across subjects.
  • Needs regular auditing and updating, incurring further costs.

Option 2: Use a curriculum package

What it involves

Many primary schools choose this option, as it saves significant time and helps to ensure coherence. Not all packages are equal, however. Some just include the project plans, others offer much more. Make sure that you know what you’re getting. Our option, Curriculum Maestro, offers you a fully sequenced and resourced curriculum from Nursery to Year 6, housed on an online platform that helps you to oversee your curriculum progression, tweak and share lessons and assess your children. It’s worth checking if the package enables you to monitor live coverage and offers free curriculum support.

What it costs

Curriculum packages vary in cost from in the hundreds to way over £10,000. Cornerstones’ prices sit in the middle, with an annual licence to Maestro costing between £775 and £2,750 depending on the size of the school. If you’re interested, please give us a call to find out what the cost would be for your school.


  • You ensure full curriculum coverage, sequencing and progression.
  • Simple to manage, deliver and monitor online.
  • Engaging projects that follow a clear pedagogy.
  • Sequenced projects and lessons with teaching notes.
  • Easy to adapt and edit to fit your school.
  • Quality resources already matched to the curriculum.
  • Empowers teachers to learn from curriculum experts and supports subject leadership.
  • Regularly updated in line with national requirements.


  • Some packages are overly prescriptive and not easy to tweak.
  • Some packages aren’t fully sequenced or interconnected by concepts.
  • Initial time to set up and familiarise staff.
  • Some packages don’t include assessment.
  • Vary in quality, depth and ‘engagement factor’ for primary children.
  • Some packages are expensive and don’t include support.

A final word

The true cost of designing your curriculum will depend on the size of your school and the amount of work needed. Whether you do it yourself or adopt a curriculum package, it’s worth considering what the real cost of your curriculum design will be in the long term.

How can Cornerstones help?

We designed Maestro with the above challenges in mind, offering schools a comprehensive curriculum platform and ongoing support at an affordable price. Everything that you need is in one place, from a fully sequenced curriculum, planning and teaching tools, to assessment for learning and subject monitoring. All of this makes it one of best primary curriculum packages available, with no need to buy additional expensive resources or assessment tools.

What schools say

Over 2000 schools use Cornerstones to bring their curriculum to life in unique ways. Here’s what they say about the workload, time and cost-saving benefits.

‘Without these resources and plans in place, it would have been a monumental job to put this into action. Cornerstones has given us a really good tool to structure our curriculum. It enables us to have a common, cohesive approach across school.’ Sarah Davies, Head of Juniors, Leicestershire.

‘With Cornerstones, we have been so well supported on our journey to designing an engaging and exciting curriculum.’ Alan Robinson, Head of School, Barking

‘We were not only delighted to have found something so exciting and enriching, but my governors were also very happy with the cost. It is definitely value for money.’ Angela Euesden, Headteacher, Essex.

Interested in learning more?

Call 03333 20 8000 to get a quote for your school

Read more school success stories

Learn more about the online platform, Curriculum Maestro

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    We are in a much better place with CM than with our old curriculum. We will be making it more bespoke in the second year.

    Conrad Fox – Headteacher, Hunmanby Primary School, England


    I have used Cornerstones from its first launch. The product has been refined over time as it is driven by feedback from schools and teachers delivering the content. The company is also responsive to a school's needs.

    Lindsey Wain – Deputy headteacher, Hartburn Primary School, England


    Maestro is a real time saver, particularly for leadership teams and subject leaders. There is a wealth of information and resources which can be used and adapted by creative skills teachers. The way the curriculum is mapped is excellent and was commented on in a very recent Ofsted inspection.

    Charlotte Gibbins – Thurlstone Primary School, England


    I have recommended and told many other schools and school staff about it. I would always though suggest that they need to ensure it is right for their school setting and the needs of their staff and pupils.

    Kathryn – Teacher, Langton Primary School


    It has been a revelation. Staff are finding their way through it and if we have any questions, the support from Cornerstones is amazing. We always get answers to our questions. It is now our one-stop-shop for curriculum with linked up thinking and approach through an intuitive and user-friendly system.

    Moira Cross – Executive head, Dordon Primary School