Curriculum: what I was really saying

10th April 2009 at 01:00

My essay "Education and a Meaningful Life" was compressed in your report "Sky's the limit for lives full of meaning" (March 27), leaving me looking a bit of a nutter - and a rabidly anti-religious one too.

I am reported as saying that the traditional subject-based curriculum "rests on the assumption that a wide and thorough knowledge of God's world is necessary for salvation". This makes it look as if I think that the national curriculum takes the form it does for theological reasons. But my remark was about views held in the 17th century.

Your report fails to pick up my radical doubt about the wisdom of an encyclopaedic education and the emphasis I put on individuals being drawn to some activities and having time to explore them.

If readers would like something more meaningful than your report, I'd be happy to email them my text (

John White, Emeritus professor of philosophy of education, Institute of Education, London.

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