BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Go to the Listen Again page
The Learning Curve
Tues 16:30 - 17:00
Sun 23:00 - 23:30 (rpt)
The definitive guide to learning
Contact us
If you've got a comment or suggestion about the programme, contact us
Latest programme
Tuesday 14 March 2006
Listen to this programme in full
Libby Purves
Libby Purves presents this week's edition of the Learning Curve
Join in the education debate on the message board

Opening Minds:
Opening Minds is a new educational system that says there shouldn't be separate lessons for history, maths, art, English. It maintains that our fixation with old fashioned subjects - the way what pupils learn has been organised for hundreds of years - simply gets in the way of what today's young teenagers really need to know to be successful in the complicated world of real life.

What they really need to know and understand is a set of skills, or competences. So, rather than have a geography lesson followed by maths then English, you might work on a topic called "higher faster stronger" - in which you'd keep an eye out for improving your skills in 'Relating to People', and 'Managing Information', which would incidentally teach you some maths, English and geography as you went along.

Libby discusses the issue with Lesley James: Head of Education for the Royal Society of Arts where Opening Minds was developed, Mark Taylor: History Teacher at a South London Comprehensive School, who believes in the traditional approach, and Dr Bethan Marshall: Senior Lecturer at Kings College London, who is, as she says, "impaled on the fence" on this issue.

Package: Opening Minds
Sara Parker visits St John's School and Community College where they've been using the RSA Opening Minds competence-based curriculum since 2001.

The Kana Foundation School
A new educational initiative - the Kana Foundation School - for African/Caribbean children has just opened, based at the Institute of Education , University of London . The school is open on Sundays between 11am and 2pm and offers teaching in a wide range of subjects. Angie Brooks, the founder of Kana Foundation School joins Libby in the studio.

Package: Indian School
One place where the slow change in attitude to the Dalit ("untouchable") caste is most evident is at a school for poor children in Delhi run by India 's largest sanitation NGO, Sulabh International. Clare Jenkins has been finding out more about this 'school for scavengers' and how it promises to transform their future.
Related links
Additional Information:

The Kana Foundation School :
The Kana Foundation School
BBC News - Sunday school targets black boys

Opening Minds:
Royal Society of Arts
RSA - Curriculum Network
RSA - The New Curriculum (Opening Minds)
King's College London
St John's Community College

Learning through Landscape
Learning through Landscape are undertaking an internet based National School Grounds Survey. British children spend over ¼ of their school days - their formative years - in school grounds and as the national school grounds charity we believe passionately in improving these places. However it is important for us to keep in touch with views so that we can obtain results that influence our decision making processes. The research is being undertaken on our behalf by Stirling University and the more responses we get - the better our chances of achieving proven, defendable and balanced results about school grounds. Please take the time to visit us or complete the survey.
Message board
'What a fabulous piece about lending out people to combat discrimination. The Dutch librarian had such an elightened idea...'
Join the debate
Listen Live
Audio Help

Listen again

Previous programmes


Should schools ask parents directly for cash donations?


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy