More on national curriculum revisions

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

In a recent posting, I commented that the expert group's proposal to government that an aim of the revised curriculum ought to be to ...

Promote understanding of sustainability in the stewardship of resources locally, nationally and globally

was a pertinent phrasing given that the availability and use of resources are key to the way that our lives and civilisation will (be able to) develop.  The more I have thought about this, the more convinced I have become.  The following seem pertinent points:


refers both to biological (species and ecosystems) and physical systems (energy and materials) and so there is a ready and multi-point curriculum connection to science and geography

are at the heart of our quest to be more sustainable and refer to actual problems (i.e., resource overuse, species extinction), rather than symptoms (e.g., climate change)

are the focal point of the circular economy work of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation where preserving resource quality is key

sits well with schools' current obsession on recycling and waste.


has distinct curriculum niches in citizenship, religious studies and ethics

is the idea at the heart of our caring for the future

has a clear link to global citizenship, ecological justice and development

sits well with many schools' emphasis on caring.

... and the proposal brings these important issues together – which is more than most schools ever manage to do.

As nearly all the points made above are contentious if taken too far, the stewardship of resources sit well with the development of responsible critical thinking.

It sounds better and better ...

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • The concept of 'stewardship' is not universally accepted by the green movement, is it? How do we respond to those who claim it reinforces the anthropocentric mindset?

  • I'm interested that the focus is purely on resources in this discussion, I believe the strength of the term sustainability, certainly in education,n is that it includes the social element too ie the Global dimension in the old 8 doorways, that it broadens discussions to include how to have sustainable development where individuals lives are improved (whether through Fair Trade, better governments etc) as well as conserving resources. I'd imagine you could include people under resources but in reading the statement I find this very opaque. I'd be interested to hear further views as I'd be worried if a sustainable school only focused on resources (as they often do)

  • I think moving away from an emphasis on the symptoms and tackling the causes head on is an excellent move. Jamie's point could perhaps be addressed by including resource distribution (in terms of equity and in terms of meeting local needs locally as far as is possible) under the resources heading. Nigel's point questions 'stewardship' though 'caring' would still seem to work. Is there a way to capture the intrinsic value of nature and therefore the ethical imperative to minimise impacts as a central theme here? This will mean going beyond the stewardship of resources (arguably something that is anthropocentric and so a reasonable use of the word) to an overarching minimum impact ethic founded on the rights of other species to flourish alongside ourselves. This might need an additional phrase.

  • I like your addtion Chris would be very helpful in terms of including resource distribution in the definition. How will this be taken forward?

  • I understand that none of this is settled and so writing to DfE / Mr Gove is still open to everyone. I have done this through my MP who was very supportive. This seems a useful route as MPs may well be harder to ignore than individuals – though I don't actually know about that!

    As to the substantive points around stewardship, the only thing I'd say at the moment (though I am going to think about what changes might be helpful) is that whatever is suggested, it cannot be more than a few extra words as all these 5 statements are high-level aims, and necessarily pithy.