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A broad and balanced curriculum

This project seeks to achieve long-term reform of post-16 education, moving towards a broader and more balanced curriculum model.

The UK has an unusually narrow post-16 system, and students tend to specialise much earlier than they do in other countries. There are growing expectations that the way we live and work will change considerably because of technological innovation. This narrowing in education poses a challenge as we think about the changing nature of the future of work, another of the Royal Society’s policy programmes. In many countries around the world, there has already been a move towards a broader curriculum to better prepare young people for these future skills needs.

The Society is currently exploring the benefits and drawbacks of changing to a broad and balanced curriculum. This work involves engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and conducting research into both the benefits and the challenges of changing the system, particularly for students, teachers and employers.

International Case Studies

As well as a mapping of the current post-16 qualification mix and subject choice of students in England, the Royal Society has commissioned a series of international case studies, which look at how curriculum reform has been managed in other countries and the drivers behind these reforms. The case studies (Sweden, Belarus, Ireland, Manutius, Hong Kong and Spain) are available to download from this page.

2018 International Ministerial Summit on Textbooks

The Royal Society recognises the importance of a stable and coherent curriculum across the educational system throughout England. With this in mind, the Society hosted a Summit on textbooks jointly with Cambridge Assessment and the Department for Education, which was an important milestone in ensuring high quality textbooks and other resources are available for teachers and pupils.

World-leading educational experts and government representatives from 16 countries were welcomed to share evidence and insights on the importance of high-quality textbooks and how to ensure their use across varied education systems.

Delegates heard various case studies emphasising how textbooks can help in reducing the pressure on teacher workloads, retaining curriculum cohesion and ensuring all students have equal access to learning and resources.

Cambridge Assessment have produced a summary of the event, which highlights the outcomes of the discussions from the summit helping to shape the development of resources as part of the curriculum.

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