The term curriculum is extremely ambiguous although the most fundamental definition is that it is a pre-prepared formal programme of study which pupils within a school follow (Haydon 2009 pg 353, Butt 2009 pg 360), although there are numerous other important aspects to it. A notable example is the hidden curriculum (Jackson 1968, Butt 2009 pg 361) which is a set of values subconsciously taught by teachers which contribute to the personal development of children as individuals within society, this reflects the social role of a curriculum in addition to its academic purposes.
According to Husbands (2007 pg 172) exploring why the curriculum is taught is an important question. Since its introduction in 1988 as part of the Education Reform Act, the aims of the National Curriculum have always acknowledged the need to develop pupils individually as well as academically (Parliament 1988). Recent aims of the curriculum have followed on a similar pastoral theme: of helping pupils be suitably prepared for the future (QCDA 2007) and ensuring they make a positive contribution to society (QCDA 2011). However recent changes to the National Curriculum imposed by current education secretary Michael Gove have re-emphasized the academic nature of the curriculum and its status as a set of concepts, skills and knowledge that children must acquire prior to completing each key stage (DfE 2010).
[...] Ramsden, P. (1992) Learning and Teaching. Available at http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/deepsurf.htm (Accessed: 21 February 2012). The Guardian (2012) State Schools Hover on the brink of huge Private Sector revolution. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/28/state-schools-private- sector-revolution (Accessed: 22 February 2012). Coughlan, S (2011) Ofqual Inquiry orders Exam Board change. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16273366 (Accessed: 1 March 2012). The Daily Mail (2011) Teachers set to join 2 million in mass strike over pensions. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article- 2063148/Pensions-strike-Teachers-set-join-2m-mass-walkout.html (Accessed: 21 March 2012). [...]
[...] (2009) School Curriculum' in Capel,S, Leask, M and Turner, T (eds.) Learning to teach in the Secondary School. New York : Routledge Falmer, pp. 351-359 Butt, G (2009) National Curriculum' in Capel,S, Leask, M and Turner, T (eds.) Learning to teach in the Secondary School. New York : Routledge Falmer, pp. 360-370 Husbands, C (2007) ‘What should we teach? Understanding the School Curriculum' in Brooks,V, Abbott, I and Bills, L (eds.) Preparing to teach in Secondary schools' a student's guide to professional issues in secondary education. Maidenhead: Open University Press, pp. 171-180 Jackson, P., W. [...]
[...] These types of schools do not have to follow the set national curriculum although they still have to offer a diverse range of subjects. In an unprecedented step, Academies are also responsible for the appointment of staff and setting pay and conditions for its employees (DfE 2010). Although this will greatly improve the choice of schools available to parents and possibly improve the attainment of students, there may also be significant downsides to these alterations. The freedom of schools to set staff's pay may lead to unfair exploitation of certain employees and possibly lead to disputes between teaching unions and the government, a numerous amount of which have been recently well documented in the media such as the industrial action over reforms to teacher's pay and pension in November 2011 where more than two million public sector workers went on strike (Mail 2011). [...]
[...] This is also highlighted by the fact that the Government have scrapped publications which have a social theme such as ‘Every Child Matters' and Big Picture of the School Curriculum' (DfE 2010). However a potential disadvantage of these changes are that may not benefit all students: some pupils may be better suited to vocational courses rather than academic subjects and this may raise the concern that not all students needs are being suitably catered for. Husband (2007 pg 172) suggests that there is a large amount of disagreement between over how the curriculum should be taught so that students fulfil their potential as much as they can. [...]
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