I posted earlier in the week about my trip to the Education Festival earlier in the year.
The post mentions a speech made by Amanda Spielman, HMCI / OFSTED which brought the issue of curriculum back to the forefront.
There was a mention of Michael Young in the speech that she made, which can be read from the link above. Michael Young (who I have heard speak several times at the IoE in Geography seminars, and have blogged about before) says:
Schools enable young people to acquire the knowledge that, for most of them, cannot be acquired at home or in the community.
Spielman said in her talk:
"Yet all too often, that objective, that real substance of education, is getting lost in our schools. I question how often leaders really ask, “What is the body of knowledge that we want to give to young people?”
We have a full and coherent national curriculum and it seems to me a huge waste not to use it properly. The idea that children will not, for example, hear or play the great works of classical musicians or learn about the intricacies of ancient civilisations – all because they are busy preparing for a different set of GCSEs – would be a terrible shame. All children should study a broad and rich curriculum. Curtailing key stage 3 means prematurely cutting this off for children who may never have an opportunity to study some of these subjects again.
Her colleague Sean Harford has also added his thoughts on the issue of what is taught, and why it matters more than how it is taught. It's perhaps time for Curriculum to come back to the fore again, and the act of Curriculum Making to gain more priority with teachers. This also connects to the growing trend for knowledge (including the development of the Inspiration Trust, and also Toby Young's latest venture)
Between 2008 and 2011, I was proud to be the Curriculum Development Leader of the Geographical Association, the subject association for geography teachers and educators in the UK. This was a significant role, and one which consumed me for three years as I travelled the length and breadth of the country. One of the big ideas that Professor David Lambert developed during the creation of our manifesto for school geography, called "a different place" was the act of curriculum making.
There was a later connection with the GeoCapabilities project, which I took part in as a consultant for the Institute of Education, and helped to shape the eventual resources and teacher-training materials that emerged from the
Also at the Education Festival, I attended a workshop / lecture by Summer Turner, who has written a book on Curriculum design for Bloomsbury. The book is here. I have a copy, and there are some interesting ideas, some of which we had independently developed.
I wonder whether there is place for a 100 Ideas - type Bloomsbury book on this topic.
So what happens in schools next?
This School Week article provides a few suggestions relating to the issue.
As always, I am always happy to share thoughts on geography curriculum thinking. I am spending some of the summer re-writing some of the new KS3 materials that we are using in my school as I have a new colleague who will be teaching them.
More on this to come, as I am developing a few Teachmeet presentations on the theme of curriculum making for events in the next few months.