Schools need to have purchase on the curriculum: why they teach the subjects beyond preparation for examinations, what they are intending to achieve with the curriculum, how well it is planned and enacted in classrooms and how they know whether it’s doing what it’s supposed to. Fundamental to this understanding are the conversations between subject leaders and their line managers. However, there is sometimes a mismatch between the subject specialisms of senior leaders and those they line manage.
If I don’t know the terrain and the importance of a particular subject, how can I talk intelligently with colleagues who are specialists? This book sets out to offer some tentative answers to these questions. Each of the national curriculum subjects is discussed with a subject leader and provides an insight into what they view as the importance of the subject, how they go about ensuring that knowledge, understanding and skills are developed over time, how they talk about the quality of the schemes in their departments and what they would welcome from senior leaders by way of support. We have chosen this way of opening up the potentially difficult terrain of expertise on one side and relative lack of expertise on the other, by providing these case studies.
They are suggested as prompts rather than the last word. Informed debate is, after all, the fuel of curriculum development. And why Huh? Well, ‘Huh?’ may be John’s first response when he walks into a Year 8 German class but, in fact, we chose ‘Huh’ as the title of our book as he is the Egyptian god of endlessness.