Facts are only part of the story on the curriculum

Claire Fox betrays her own "philistinism" in her comments about critics of the national curriculum proposals for England ("Face the facts: without them we know nothing", Comment, 26 April). She seems to either misunderstand or wilfully misinterpret the position of the NUT teaching union and our concerns.

In the NUT we are clear that it is not a simplistic choice between facts or skills, knowledge or understanding. A balance needs to be struck. The development of critical thinking and analytical skills is central to the ability to understand a body of knowledge. This is not an attack on "traditional" methods. The point is that we also need new approaches to teaching and learning to reflect developments in society and the world of work. Young people should not be seen as repositories into which facts are poured.

We hope that Ms Fox will take time to read the NUT's full response to the national curriculum proposals (www.teachers.org.ukcampaignscurriculum) and then join us in calling for the government to think again about its proposals. Proper consultation is needed with educational professionals, subject associations, parents and students - who have been given very little opportunity to date to contribute to the development of a new national curriculum - so that it will meet the real needs of all students and equip them for their future place in society.

Christine Blower, General secretary, NUT.

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