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Whilst a review of the National Curriculum is much needed and to be welcomed, the focus on subject knowledge means this could well be a wasted opportunity.

Whilst a review of the National Curriculum is much needed and to be welcomed, the focus on subject knowledge means this could well be a wasted opportunity.

The coalition’s policies including the remit of the curriculum review implies that academic learning on its own will equip young people for their futures. But the danger of a subject focussed curriculum where knowledge will be testable at each key stage harks back to a view of education as prescriptive, of teaching and learning by rote.

What we need are creative and resilient learners able to critically apply their learning to problem solving and decision making within new situations.

Educational success is no longer (and never should have been) about merely reproducing subject knowledge, but rather what can be extrapolated from it

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Let’s not shy away from the key question which should underpin the review: what knowledge and skills do students need to be capable and creative learners, future citizens and employees?

Why not a holistic curriculum which provides young people with both a broad and deep academic knowledge alongside a wide range of competences, a curriculum which fuses subject knowledge with practical skill development.

Getting the curriculum right is the key to: 

  • Engaging students in education
  • Closing the attainment gap between socio-economic groups
  • Empowering teachers sense of professionalism and motivation 
  • Raising educational standards
  • Ensuring the UK is competitive and able to compete in the global knowledge economy
  • Creating resilient lifelong learners
  • Developing future citizens both able and willing to actively participate in society 
The RSA's Opening Minds curriculum framework seeks to offers students a more holistic and coherent way of learning, it allows them to make connections and apply knowledge across different subject areas as well as develop the skills they need as 21st century citizens.

It is approached like these which fuse subject content and practical know how which will equip young for their futures.

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