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A Knowledge-Based Curriculum Is What Our Children Need

Equipping pupils to play a full role in society is not the same as “rote-learning”

Responding to criticism of the Government’s proposed new curriculum, the independent think tank Civitas said children needed a foundation of knowledge in order to build skills.

Civitas contributed to the Department for Education’s consultation and is publishing its own knowledge-based primary curriculum.

David Green, director of Civitas, said: “This absolutely isn’t about ‘rote learning’, it’s about equipping children with the essential knowledge they need to aid their cognitive development and ensure they can grow up to play a full part in the life of society.

“Above all, it is about ensuring that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are not left behind. All importantly, this is not a zero-sum game: an emphasis on knowledge does not represent a rejection of skills – building skills requires a knowledge foundation to apply.”

Civitas is publishing, in a series of books, a curriculum for primary school children designed to revolutionise primary school teaching with a new emphasis on core knowledge and cultural literacy.

The books are edited by the American education reformer ED Hirsch, who gives greater weight to the incorporating of key facts – arming children with the knowledge they need to support their learning.

“Contrary to the stereotype promoted by many in the education establishment, ED Hirsch is a Democrat-voting egalitarian who thinks that schools should have high expectations of every child,” Dr Green added.

“He has more in common with traditional Labour writers such as RH Tawney than with many of today’s self-defined ‘progressives’. He stands for a renewal of the traditional commitment of the left to seeking the best for every child.”



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