Letter: Cures for crime: a return to family values, creative play, moral lessons, caring at home

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The Independent Online
Sir: The two 10-year-old boys accused of the murder of James Bulger are among the first generation of children whose schooling is wholly under the aegis of the national curriculum introduced in 1988.

Critics of that curriculum have deplored its almost total reliance on the 10 foundation subjects and arrangements for their testing, and the downplaying of work on personal and social education - an area that focuses on concern for others and self-understanding.

We do not yet know, of course, precisely what kind of educational experience the two boys have had, but if the Government is serious about tackling crime, it cannot do this without giving far more attention to this central area of the curriculum. Leaving moral education to the religious education lesson is no answer in an overwhelmingly secular society. We urgently need a remodelled national curriculum, which puts the cultivation of personal qualities first and the acquisition and testing of knowledge second.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN WHITE

Professor of Philosophy of Education

Institute of Education

University of London

London, WC1

21 February

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