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What should be included in the National Curriculum? What this question really asks is 'what should everyone know?'.

QuestionWhat should be included in the National Curriculum? What this question really asks is 'what should everyone know?'.

And this question is not as simple as it seems. This is why the RSA is holding a debate on this topic on 22 March at 6pm, inviting some individuals from outside the education debate to discuss the question.

I've had a go at unpacking some of the questions thrown up by the question of what should go in the National Curriculum in the form of some sub questions:

  • What knowledge is so important that EVERYONE in our society should know it?
  • What should everyone know HOW to do?
  • What should every young person know in order to have an equal chance of making their way in the world?
  • What is so crucial to participation in our culture and society that every child needs to have access to it?
  • What is so crucial to the maintenance and transmission of our cultural and intellectual inheritance that every member of society needs to be taught it so it doesn't get lost even if it has little of no utility to the individual?
  • Is there such a thing as useless knowledge?
  • What is so crucial to our economy that the largest possible number of children should be given the foundations so enough choose to pursue it?
  • What should be taught in schools because society can't or won't teach it to all children equally?
  • What is so important to shaping and changing our society for the future that all children should be introduced to it now? When is this indoctrination, and when is is values driven education?
  • How does our view of what everyone should know reflect our view of what society we want? Or does it?
  • What should everyone, perhaps, NOT know? How far does the enlightenment ideal of full, complete and free access to knowledge still hold, and is there any 'truth' that we would want to ensure - in retrospect - that no one knew? (How to make an atomic bomb, for example?)
Check out Shami Chakrabati's response on our website - or look at the full video.

What do you think everyone should know? Answers below please.


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