The Telegraph report on the evidence submitted by the National Association of Head Teachers (a Forum member), to a select committee inquiry into whether the National Curriculum is “fit for purpose”:
A range of school subjects could be swept away under new teaching proposals.
The attack on the National Curriculum, which has dictated school timetables for 20 years, could spell the end of separate classes in history, geography, literature, languages, art and music.
Instead, schools would be allowed to decide how they teach big themes such as global warming, conflict and healthy living.
Given the QCA have recently produced a new secondary curriculum and Sir Jim Rose has just started reviewing the primary curriculum I think the Telegraph might be overselling possibility of the end of the National Curriculum.
Nevertheless, there clearly is a desire on the part of teachers and the government (to an extent) to open up the curriculum and allow schools to use it more flexibly.
For those of us wanting better drug education that – it seems to me – offers an opportunity as much as it does a threat.
The opportunity is to find ways to make drug education more interesting and integrated than has perhaps been the case in the past; to make sure that it is much more than a knowledge based subject and to bring some of the energy of the best of PSHE to other subject areas. However, this shouldn’t be at the expense of what little evidence we have around effectiveness.
And there’s the rub because, the threat is that drug education becomes an increasingly peripheral subject; expected to be picked up across the curriculum but squeezed out by the core issues of particular subjects.
I don’t know whether it’s fair, but the evidence from Manchester University (PowerPoint presentation), around what’s happened to the primary curriculum since 1997, suggests that the emphasis on core subjects (literacy and numeracy) has been at the expense of subjects like PSHE.
Any thoughts on this would be welcome. Particularly as we’re working with the government on their drug education review (as promised in the Children’s Plan); so levers to improve the context and delivery of drug education are high on our agenda at the moment.
Filed under: drug education, education, NAHT