An Aims-based Curriculum

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An Aims-based Curriculum

The significance of human flourishing for schools
Michael J. Reiss and John White

"...anyone interested in where education is going in the 21st Century should read this thought-provoking book." Anthony Tomei, Visiting Professor, King's College London, former Director of the Nuffield Foundation

"This exciting book gets right to the heart of the international debate on the curriculum. The logic of an aims-based curriculum is pursued with clarity, and the challenge to curriculum designers is set out forcefully. This book should be required reading for any teacher about to review a school curriculum, or any government about to review a national curriculum."  Dr Brian Male, Director, The Curriculum Foundation

At present a revision of the English National Curriculum is in progress. As in many other countries across the globe, it is constructed around a number of largely academic school subjects.

An Aims-based Curriculum spells out a ground-breaking alternative. Its starting point is not subjects, but what schools should be for. It argues that aims are not to be seen as high-sounding principles that can be easily ignored: they are the lifeblood of everything a school does.

Michael Reiss and John White show this by beginning with overarching aims that will equip each learner to lead a personally fulfilling life and help others do so too. From these, they derive more specific aims covering the personal qualities, skills and understanding needed for a life of personal, civic and vocational well-being.

The second half of the book, on political realities of implementation, takes this process of deriving aims further. Some of its detailed aims, but by no means all, overlap with conventional curriculum objectives. It also looks at the role of the state in curriculum decisions, as well as the implications of the book's central argument for student choice, school ethos, assessment, inspection and teacher education.

Michael Reiss is Pro-Director: Research and Development and Professor of Science Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. John White is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London.

"...logically and impressively demonstrate[s] the implications for all young people, whatever their abilities and background." Professor Richard Pring, Green-Templeton College, University of Oxford

February 2013 • 978-0-85473-998-1 • 72pp • £14.99