Jonathan Simons and Natasha Porter (eds.)
This collection of essays is dedicated to examining the work of E.D Hirsch and his influence on curriculum reform in the UK. Hirsch advocated the idea that returning to a traditional, academic core curriculum, built on shared knowledge is the best way to achieve social justice in society. His work also encouraged schools to focus on the concept of building cultural capital as a way of closing the attainment gap.
The essays touch on a series of interpretations of Hirsh’s work, and offer policy recommendation based on the principles he advocated, including a call to reconsider aspects of teacher training to incorporate these principles, and placing the responsibility for curriculum reform in the hands of experts, rather than politicians.
Not all the authors however give unqualified support to Hirsch, with arguments against approaching education with polarised views; and focusing only on the knowledge gap, to the determent of the skills gap disadvantaged pupils may also have. Tom Sherrington, for example, argues for a rich and challenging National Baccalaureate Curriculum, which incorporates both knowledge and skills.
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