Knowledge-rich curriculum guru blasts Nick Gibb over lack of funding

A guru on the knowledge-rich curriculum has warned schools minister Nick Gibb that unless he ensures schools get resources to implement it, the end result could be “worse than it was before”.

Michael Young, professor of education at the Institute for Education, also accused the schools minister of just picking out “individual” school success stories without ensuring all schools have the money to train teachers in knowledge-rich methods.

“If schools try to introduce a knowledge curriculum when resources are not up to it, you may get something that is worse than we had before”, Young warned Gibb at the Parents and Teachers for Excellence (PTE) annual conference in London today, not longer after the schools minister gave a keynote address.

“Governments often forget that a knowledge-curriculum is a resource-rich curriculum”, he added.

Young, who was speaking on a panel also featuring Christine Counsell, on Ofsted’s curriculum advisory group, and academy trust CEO Ian Bauckham, is regarded as one of the most influential academics on knowledge-rich methods.

In 2008 he wrote Bringing Knowledge Back In, seen by many as a seminal text for the knowledge-rich approach.

Young also told Schools Week that “what Nick Gibb does is pull out one or two schools” to demonstrate the knowledge-rich approach is working when actually schools need funding for high-quality continuous professional development for their staff.

“Schools put a lot of effort into redesigning the curriculum, but they don’t put a lot of effort into how you develop professionalised teachers to cope with that curriculum.”

He added the government have “allowed CPD to go down the tube”, with teachers not given the chance to “take their ideas forward, study, think and write”.

Teachers learning knowledge-rich methods have “got to be trained to think in a completely new way” rather than just pick up “quick-fixes”, he concluded.



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  1. It’s unlikely there’ll be adequate money for CPD when there’s a crisis in school funding. Instead, the DfE spends tiny amounts on over-hyped initiatives designed more for their propaganda value than actual worth to all schools.

  2. The vast majority of teachers already teach a lot of knowledge, and the only thing inhibiting them from doing it systematically are CPD providers who do indeed peddle ‘quick fixes’ along with erroneous advice on how children learn. It doesn’t help that the quickest escape route from the front of the classroom is to pile up postgraduate degrees in education, where once again the basic role of knowledge in education is seldom understood.