Why we won't be narrowing the curriculum

The last few months have thrust our profession into a brave new world. We now talk with ease about social distancing, PPE, R-Rates, second waves, words that would have meant nothing to us as we started the Spring Term. We have poured our heart and soul into creating some kind of education for our children, without being able to see their smiles, hear their laughter or wipe their tears. As the end of term is in sight, we look to next year.

We don’t know what September will look like, but we want to be ready. We ask ourselves, what will those children have lost? We hope in some way that their losses are limited to education. That is something we can fix. We know that for some children within our school communities, the losses will sadly be much more.

We’ve heard talk of a catch-up curriculum, of interventions, of narrowing the curriculum to prioritise core subjects. But we know that a diet of English and Maths does not offer the balance that primary school pupils deserve. We’ve seen children who flourish with a paintbrush, with a xylophone, with a spoon and ingredients for a Gruffalo crumble. We know children who can talk with enthusiasm about Roman Soldiers, Egyptian Pharaohs, Greek Gods; their passion for history is something we nurture as we take them by the hand and guide them through the primary curriculum.

At the Knowledge Schools Trust, we believe that a rich and varied curriculum is the right of every child. Our pupils study subjects; learning the unique identity of disciplines, their concepts, their skills, their knowledge. We are driven by our belief that knowledge and understanding of the world allows pupils to join conversations, participate in change and ultimately hold the power to decide how they will live their lives. For us, knowledge frees our pupils to think for themselves; they are entitled to this freedom.

In September, like many teachers around the world, we will continue to adapt, to adjust, to accommodate change. In our classrooms we will need to undertake careful observation to find out where our children are, what they need and what progress will look like for them. We will recognise the lost time but will focus on the time we do have and how to use every moment to support learning. For us, the wider curriculum will continue to play an integral role in the education of our primary pupils. We know those subjects offer vital background knowledge, vocabulary, and understanding for our pupils. We know that the arts play an important role in developing communication; how children interact with one another, how they express themselves and how they develop their individual voices, things that may have been lost during the challenge of living through a global pandemic.

We hope that by supporting schools across the country through the Primary Knowledge Curriculum Partnership, teachers will have the tools they need to provide a coherent, knowledge-rich curriculum for all children.

We will step into this brave new world armed with our dedication to our pupils, our passion for education and our firmly held belief that a rich primary curriculum is the right of every child.

If you would like to work with us, please get in contact here to join our partnership.

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