A new curriculum for a new public school
Wrigley, T. (2019) A new curriculum for a new public school. FORUM, 61(3), pp. 317-326.
This article is written in response to widespread concerns about the inadequacy of the school curriculum in England, and the urgent need to rethink what public education should involve. It builds on earlier contributions in FORUM and elsewhere by discussing curricular opportunities arising from Labour's proposal for a National Education Service. This is particularly timely given the limited horizons and understanding shown in Ofsted's call for better curriculum planning. In contrast to neoliberal obsessions with schooling as the production of human resources, and the neoconservative dependence on tradition, the article discusses how we might build a curriculum oriented to social justice, environmental responsibility and democratic citizenship. It addresses core issues such as age appropriateness; the relationship between everyday and academic knowledge; the importance of cognitive, practical, aesthetic and ethical dimensions; and how we might make a socially just and politically serious selection of knowledge. Whilst drawing on the strengths of earlier curriculum development, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, it also points towards more recent international developments drawing on place, story and enquiry, which have been eclipsed by high-stakes acccountability regimes. This broad ranging article throws out a challenge: how to avoid retreading a traditional path of alienated knowledge acquisition and create a framework for authentic learning and really powerful knowledge.