Gove may remain tight-lipped

29th March 2013 at 00:00

I would like to make a belated fuss about the revised curriculum proposals in England (TESS, 15 February). Although I am a signatory of the recently published letter from 100 university professors that decries Michael Gove's new national curriculum, history has taught me not to anticipate a positive response from the Department for Education.

Between 1996 and 2007, I led a team from the University of Manchester, which was funded by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and what was then known as the Department for Education and Skills, to monitor the subject teaching times, timetabling and provision of subjects in the primary and secondary curriculum.

Annually the team presented evidenced reports that illustrated the gradual and then sharp skewing of the taught curriculum in favour of the tested core subjects. Those reports were received, acknowledged and ignored. In 2006, frustrated by the lack of response by the DfES to its data, we authored an article published in the British Education Research Journal entitled "A curriculum without foundation", which evidenced the test-driven nature of the primary teaching and learning experience. The only response from the DfES was to stop the university's involvement in monitoring the data.

Can we suppose that the involvement of a critical mass of academics will make any difference to Mr Gove and his advisers this time round?

Bill Boyle, professor of education, University of Manchester.

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,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today