Needed: a sensible curriculum framing

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In 1980, in A View of the Curriculum; HMI Series: Matters for Discussion No. 11, HMI said this:

The curriculum, whether for a school as a whole or for individual pupils, has to be presented as more than a series of subjects and lessons in the timetable.  When schools come to plan their detailed programme of work, they need to be able to measure the adequacy of those programmes by reference to more specific objectives, some checklist of important knowledge or skills to be acquired, or of essential areas of understanding and experience to which all pupils need access, within their capacities. Both the HMI primary survey [1] and the curriculum 11 to 16 working papers [2] used this last approach to curriculum analysis, though with somewhat different formulations. That used in the primary survey was as follows:

  • language and literacy
  • mathematics
  • science
  • aesthetics, including physical education
  • social abilities, including religious education.

Such categories are useful also as indicators of the range of work to be done, over a week or within a term, though obviously they need careful interpretation to suit the ages and abilities of the children. Curriculum 11 - 16, the appendices of which contain detailed checklists relating to a wide range of subjects, categorised the experience and understanding to be sought through the curriculum as:

  • aesthetic and creative
  • ethical
  • linguistic
  • mathematical
  • scientific
  • physical
  • social and political
  • spiritual

It will be clear, therefore that the content that I set out on March 15th [A broad but unbalanced curriculum] was not as random as it might have at first appeared.



[1] Primary education in England: A survey by HM Inspectors of Schools. HMSO, 1978

[2] Curriculum 11 - 16 Working papers by HM Inspectorate. DES, 1977.

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