By John Bolt
In the December edition of the SEA Journal, Education Politics, Tristram Hunt contributed a substantial article focussing mainly on the school curriculum. This article represents one of the more detailed statements of Labour’s approach to the curriculum and SEA is pleased to provide the opportunity for this to be shared.
In the article, Tristram argues that one of the big factors in the workload crisis for teachers is constant curriculum change and Labour needs to understand this before setting out on further change.
He then goes on to repeat the approach to the curriculum first put forward by Stephen Twigg some considerable time ago. That is that all schools should have the curriculum freedoms currently possessed by academies. Tristram sees this partly as a way of helping to remove “unhelpful distinctions” between schools but also as a way of promoting “bottom up curriculum innovation”.
This represents a significant challenge to the place of the National Curriculum in our education system. It will no longer represent, in Hunt’s words, a “to the letter entitlement” but it will “continue to shape standards and expectations”.
Just how this will work out in practice remains to seen. But we would urge all readers to take note of the article and begin to think through what the implications would be. As a starting point for debate, a commentary on the issues raised can be found on the SEA blog at https://educevery.wordpress.com/
The article by Tristram Hunt is available either (1) by downloading the December issue of Education Politics or (2) as a separate offprint.