“The researchED guide to the curriculum”

researchED started life as a one-off conference where teachers could engage with evidence, and consider how to bridge the gap between research and practice. It’s since grown into an international movement, with events all around the world.

Those who have attended researchEDs will rave about them – but not everyone can get to one as life is already busy enough. With this in mind it has started to publish a number of books covering key aspects of education, with Tom Bennett, researchED’s founder/Godfather/behaviour guru, overseeing things as series editor.

“The researchED Guide to The Curriculum: An evidence-informed guide for teachers” is part of this and is absolutely brilliant. Edited by Clare Sealy – one of the best thinkers and writers on the topic – it explores the most pertinent challenges teachers face when considering the curriculum for their pupils. As Clare says in her introduction:

“It is about how we choose what we will teach the students in our schools and why those choices are important. Every time we choose to include something, we are also choosing not to include many other possibilities. The responsibility inherent in choosing some material rather than others can be intimidating. Our choices are always contestable. But choose we must.”

The book is then made up of nine chapters by nine superb thinkers and teachers – with the very first chapter written by none other than Michael Young, of “powerful knowledge” fame. He explores the positives and negatives that have arisen as his ideas have taken root in England’s schools – and this sets the scene for the following chapters.

Some look at how teachers should consider and decide what should be taught, and others ponder how this is all tied together in a coherent sequence. 

The book is written for readers to be able to dip in and out of it again and again, depending on which aspects of curriculum they are grappling with. There’s even a handy guide up front to suggest which chapters to go to for this:

Very much written with the practising teacher or school leader in mind, there’s no reason why a parent with some background reading on curriculum couldn’t get lots out of this too. It’s well-written, only 122 pages long, and something that can be returned to as-and-when needed for mental prompts or inspiration.

So if you want something on the big questions around curriculum that’s accessible and written by seriously good practitioners, “The researchED guide to the curriculum” is a great book to reach for.