8Revisiting school knowledge (Whitty) 

The paper by G Whitty provides some high level challenges. The paper discusses the place of knowledge in our curriculum but also the curriculum model itself.

It was interesting to read a brief history of attempts to address academic inequalities over the past 70 years. It is interesting that the issue has still not been resolved and that we are now on to the third wave of intervention, that of focusing on the finance of schooling (which follows the policy of schooling, which I turn followed the access to schooling).

Mark Priestley uses the term powerful knowledge in one of his blog posts (Approaches to school-based curriculum development, 17.11.14). This phrase is used in Whitty’s paper and is taken from Young (2008). Powerful knowledge is that which is paramount to enabling an individual to progress. As Witty says, “this is least likely to be discovered outside of school by those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

The idea that our very curriculum is inequitable is troubling. It makes me question what we are doing wrong. Until reading this paper, I had even considered that the curriculum itself could be a barrier to equity!

However, the following from Whitty rang true:

This demands a radical review of our provision. How accessible is our current curriculum?

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