DfE tightens grip on curriculum with new policy jobs

The government appears to be tightening its grip on what is taught in schools, and is advertising three senior jobs handling curriculum policy.

According to the job advert, the curriculum policy division is “responsible for policy about the knowledge and skills taught in state-funded schools in England, and for policy on improving the teaching of curriculum subjects”.

The three vacant roles are for a “curriculum support policy adviser”, a “STEM in schools policy lead” and an “English Baccalaureate implementation adviser”.

The salary for the three jobs, which are based in London, ranges between £51,463 and £59,411.

The curriculum support policy adviser will be responsible for coordinating support and “introducing a curriculum fund”, which was pledged in the government’s manifesto during the election earlier this year.

The STEM policy lead role will be involved in improving the teaching of science and computing in schools.

Finally, the EBacc implementation adviser will work to ensure 75 per cent of year 10 pupils in state-funded mainstream schools study the EBacc subjects to GCSE by September 2022.

We were all very aware that Michael Gove in particular saw the curriculum as his big thing

Required skills for all roles include “seeing the big picture”, “collaborating and partnering” and “building capability for all”.

Anastasia de Waal, the deputy director of the think-tank Civitas, said the roles came as a “surprise” from an administration that has been quieter than its predecessors on matters of curriculum.

“I think it’s interesting,” she said. “It’s a bit of a sign that there’s been a lot of beavering away in the background on curriculum, but the hiring of high-grade civil servants is something I would have expected a few years ago. It’s very interesting that it’s happening now.

“We were all very aware that Michael Gove in particular saw the curriculum as his big thing, but that side of things has gone a little quiet recently. I was surprised they were hiring these positions.

“I would say, with all three of these jobs, they are not at the beginning of a process of creation. I would imagine this is much more about implementation than a change in direction.

“We know that curriculum is a priority, even though it’s in the background. But who knows what’s really going on in the background? It’s not always obvious.”

A spokesperson for the DfE said: “These advertised posts are part of routine recruitment within the department.”

Applications for the positions close on October 9.