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Liberal Education and the National Curriculum By David Conway

Liberal Education and the National Curriculum by David Conway

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Outlines the history of the development of the English national school curriculum and defends its overarching goal of providing a liberal education for all.

Liberal Education and the National Curriculum Summary

Liberal Education and the National Curriculum by David Conway

A free and democratic society demands much of its citizens, which is why universal education has been the foremost concern of every genuine liberal. In a remarkable piece of detective work, Professor David Conway traces the history of proposed school curricula from the liberal reformers of the 1860s to modern times. The common thread has been the idea that all children, whatever their backgrounds, should be introduced to 'the best that has been thought and said'. The reactionary and anti-progressive demands from some contemporary educationists to abandon the attempt to provide a liberal education for children from less advantaged backgrounds is both unjust and unwise. To limit the enjoyment of the riches of culture to a small elite who attend independent schools would be to create a divided society, with negative consequences for all. The National Curriculum has attracted criticism from different quarters: some claim that it stifles the creativity of teachers by putting them in a timetabled straitjacket; others say that the National Curriculum is too focused on traditional academic subjects that working-class children cannot relate to. Professor Conway argues that the overly prescriptive and politicised National Curriculum that we have now is not necessarily an argument for not having one at all. He cites educationists going back to Matthew Arnold whose concern for the education of the majority of the nation's children through the state system led them to call for a national curriculum of some sort. Arnold's curriculum was designed to provide a liberal education, that is to say, an education of which the primary purpose is not training for work. Rather, by introducing children to the work of the world's greatest artists, writers and thinkers, a liberal education would help them to self-knowledge (through the humanities) and knowledge of the world (through science).

About David Conway

David Conway received his education at St Olave's Grammar School, Clare College Cambridge and University College London. He taught for over three decades at Middlesex University, of which he is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, before joining Civitas as a Senior Research Fellow in 2004. His previous publications include A Farewell to Marx, Classical Liberalism, Free-Market Feminism, The Rediscovery of Wisdom, In Defence of the Realm, A Nation of Immigrants? and Disunited Kingdom.

Table of Contents

Author Acknowledgements Foreword Justin Shaw Summary 1 How Schooling in England Went So Badly Wrong 2 The National Curriculum as Culprit 3 Some Common and Less Common Myths about the National Curriculum 4 On the Alleged Puritan Origins of the National Curriculum 5 The 1904 Regulations as Alleged Source of the National Curriculum 6 The True Source of the National Curriculum Table 6.1: Subjects Prescribed by Various National Curricula from Matthew Arnold's Day to the 1988 National Curriculum 7 Liberal Education as the Purpose of the National Curriculum 8 The Meaning, Origin and Rationale of Liberal Education 9 Conclusion Notes

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Liberal Education and the National Curriculum by David Conway
Used - Very Good
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