A way forward

19th September 1997 at 01:00
Taken together, the articles in the September 5 edition of The TES by David Blunkett, the Education and Employment Secretary ("Play your part in a momentous year") and Mary James ("Aims should come first, methods second" ) give us a recipe for more than a few tentative steps forward.

Labour's review offers progress but it's time to challenge the assumption that progress begins and ends with numeracy and literacy.

Basic skills are important but they are just parts of the picture, tools that we want our future citizens to possess, not the be-all and end-all of their learning. What we lack at the moment is an agreed national central purpose which bonds the pieces together.

We all know what problems face the world, we need to empower future citizens to solve them.

Can we start discussing what lies at the heart of the curriculum, to provide a valid and meaningful context for the rather piecemeal version we have now?

Children can be shown how the jigsaw fits together as they are given the pieces.

Let's start discussing education for responsible world citizenship; "environment, international understanding, community studies, and the study of the technological and natural worlds" as Mary James reports from Japan, but also learning about justice, inequality, and sustainability.

In Northern Ireland, the curriculum starts with "education for mutual understanding", for very good reasons.

There are equally good reasons here for a curriculum that prepares tomorrow's citizens to work for the world we would like for them.


83 St Mary's Road Faversham Kent

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today