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English version of US fact bible for Year 1s hits the shops

News | Published in TES Newspaper on 1 July, 2011 | By: Helen Ward

The first English version of the controversial American core knowledge series has gone on sale.

The book What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know is being published by think-tank Civitas, which a few years ago republished the 1905 history textbook Our Island History.

What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know is edited by American educationalist ED Hirsch, whose work has been praised by Michael Gove and schools minister Nick Gibb, who is overseeing the curriculum review.

Professor Hirsch, formerly of the University of Virginia, is famous for his 1987 bestseller Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, which included 5,000 "essential facts". But critics of this approach say that lists become out of date quickly and that the selection may overlook minority interests.

Content covered in the first English version - which is available to order on Amazon for £12 - includes handwriting, the signing of the Magna Carta and numeracy.

It is primarily aimed at parents but Civitas is hoping that teachers will also be interested and is looking for schools which are interested in piloting it within their curriculum.

Co-editor Annaliese Briggs said: "This book is part of a much bigger curriculum project. We're developing a core knowledge sequence for schools as a springboard for learning.

"By outlining a content-rich curriculum we hope to eliminate unnecessary repetition and gaps. The book can be used by parents as a way of saying this is what we are covering in schools and this is how you can help at home; it embellishes the content in the sequence."

The current review of the national curriculum has been given the remit of slimming it down so that it "properly reflects the body of essential knowledge which all children should learn".

The first subjects of the new curriculum are due to be taught in 2013.


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