Monday 25 June 2007

We don't need no...subjects?

Norm and Shuggy have fun with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's plans to 'scrap the traditional timetable in favour of cross-curricular topics'. It's difficult to take seriously educationalists, such as Mick Waters, the QCA's curriculum director, who use this kind of language: 'The challenge for schools is to create a nourishing and appetising feast that will sustain learners and meet their needs.' Rule of thumb: never trust anyone who uses the term 'learners' when they mean students or pupils.

The agenda behind this kind of talk, and behind all schemes to do away with the so-called tyranny of subjects, is ultimately anti-educational. Why is it always left to right-wing commentators (in the case of the Times article, a professor from the private Buckingham University) to criticise this kind of thing, when the outcome will almost certainly be pupils in private schools (unhindered by this kind of experimentation) continuing to soar ahead of their state school counterparts, imprisoned in a cycle of low academic aspirations? As I've said before, the radical case for education as a process of enabling students to engage with the breadth of human knowledge and culture needs to be restated: Antonio Gramsci, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

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