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The future of our curriculum

What makes a broad and balanced curriculum?

Established in 1988, the National Curriculum constituted a fundamental reform of education arrangements in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with an aim of taking the system away from the acute variations in curriculum content (Gray J et al 1999). In my experience, the curriculum has always been about the subjects which are taught, what key stage they are taught at and how many contact hours each subject is allocated, ‘a statement of what the students will learn’ (Kelly, 2009). When I reflect on the three schools I have worked in and compare each curriculum to the key principles of curriculum design; balanced, rigorous, coherent, vertically integrated, appropriate, focused and relevant (Wiliam, 2013), I would argue that the curriculums I have experienced have not been broad or balanced. The schools I have worked in have delivered a range of subjects, across all key stages, but the content and timing allowance for each lacked relevance and appropriateness for the school setting, and most importantly, the children within it.