Lessons learnt about the curriculum

I started to teach in comprehensive schools in the early 1970s when we either designed ourselves, or chose from, a bank of Mode 3 syllabuses with such titles as:

* family and child education

* social studies

* home economics

* community studies

* environmental studies

* integrated humanities

* health education A teacher-led movement contributed towards a large number of modular units, supporting a curriculum model that maximised flexibility, relevance and differentiation. This then underpinned the later, also teacher-driven and very successful, work-related Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI).

All this was destroyed by the heinous values promulgated in the 1980s.

There are some indications - at last - that the importance of a curriculum that really serves the needs of our young people is starting to be recognised again (certainly by the Royal Society for the Arts, and perhaps even by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority).

But "it's about the values, stupid". Give the authority for curriculum development back to the teachers (and the students).

The impositions of here-today-gone-tomorrow knee-jerk political diktats should now finally be confined to the tragic lessons of history where they belong.

Frank Newhofer Oxford

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