Guardianship of subjects in 2016

Annette Smith – Chair, Council for Subject Associations
Wednesday 21 September 2016


I very much welcome the revival of the British Curriculum Forum and was delighted to attend the recent conference “Investigating Knowledge and the Curriculum”. My reason for attending is that I Chair the Council for Subject Associations (CfSA), which is the umbrella body for subject teaching associations.

I guess that I have a unique point of view as Chair of CfSA as I look at, and try to support, the efforts of the leaders in subject specialism across the curriculum areas. The conference mentioned above helped me to bring together in my thinking two aspects of the current discussion about subjects, and it is these that I would like to share in this blog.

Firstly, there is the pedagogical argument for subjects. I was, until a couple of years ago, CEO at the Association for Science Education so I was well-versed in ideas and the accompanying research about how children develop and learn science – the travels through “children’s ideas” or “misconceptions” to counter-intuitive explanations of observable phenomena, and alongside the cognitive development, the refinement of fine motor skills. I was also very well aware of the challenges that we faced when we needed to access language and mathematical aspects of science, and the commonalities with aspects of design and technology when it addressed motor skills and problem-based learning. 

Interested in becoming a CfSA member?