When schools articulate their aims they are often made in terms of grand claims about employability, skills for life, and learning to learn. Yet if we translate those aims directly into a curriculum then we would most likely not end up with a subject based curriculum. We would have a skills based curriculum devoid of any subjects. But schools persist with a subject based curriculum, seemingly to satisfy the needs of convention, rather than to meet any educational aims. This is the curriculum puzzle. This begs the question, ‘are subjects unnecessary and old fashioned?’
They are not. Subject knowledge is the key to young people’s futures. It provides young people with a structured, disciplined means to develop understanding. It is this subject knowledge that empowers young people to make sense of the world and therefore enables them to make reasoned choices in life. Taught well, by subject specialists, subject knowledge is empowering. Developing rigorous subject knowledge should be at the heart of every school’s stated aims; other aims, like generic skill development will follow from this as part of a young person’s holistic education.
@RichardBustin Head of Geography – Surrey