On the New National Curriculum

While this isn’t directly NUWT related, I wouldn’t be a proper educator if I didn’t share a few thoughts regarding the new National Curriculum Framework that is to be implemented in 2014. Since we are in the very early stages of developing an education offer within the Archives here (and as a former teacher), I’ve been following these changes quite closely.

The proposed curriculum drafts were published in February, allowing for a period of public consultation. The Department for Education’s (DfE) responses to this consultation period were released this past Tuesday, and take into consideration questions and concerns that were raised.

While there is plenty of dialogue about some of the changes, particularly to early years and Mathematics, there’s been quite a bit of debate regarding the new History curriculum.

The History curriculum proposal takes a chronological approach to the teaching of History, which will likely greatly impact the learning programmes on offer at various museums and heritage sites around the UK. Key Stage 2 History Curriculum will now focus on early civilisations, up until the year 1066. As such, a lot of museum and historic sites that are currently a big draw for primary classes (The Ragged School Museum and Imperial War Museum, for example) may no longer be as relevant for class visits. In April, the Museums Association released an open letter to Michael Gove and the DfE regarding these implications, which can be found here.

Here in the Archives, themes and topics relevant to the NUWT (campaigning; rights and equality; advocacy; and communicating an argument) will still fit in perfectly with the Key Stage 3 and 4 Citizenship curriculum, and Key Stage 3 History. Moreover, we’re really hoping to take a cross-curricular approach to the sessions and programmes we offer, whether it be with English (persuasive letter writing to MPs), or Art (political cartoons, campaign banners). The NUWT is relevant and significant in so many different aspects, that I’m confident we’ll have plenty of opportunities to work across year groups and subjects.

In the meantime, I may have to take a break from all of this curriculum talk and get to work practising my non-existent cartooning skills for those art sessions.

NUWT Collection ref: UWT/D/375/1 ©Institute of Education Archive

NUWT Collection ref: UWT/D/375/1 ©Institute of Education Archive

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