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Huh: Curriculum conversations between subject and senior leaders

Huh: Curriculum conversations between subject and senior leaders

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Schools need to have purchase on the curriculum: why they teach the subjects beyond preparation for examinations, what they are intending to achieve with the curriculum, how well it is planned and enacted in classrooms and how they know whether it’s doing what it’s supposed to.

Fundamental to this understanding are the conversations between subject leaders and their line managers. However, there is sometimes a mismatch between the subject specialisms of senior leaders and those they line manage. If I don’t know the terrain and the importance of a particular subject, how can I talk intelligently with colleagues who are specialists? This book sets out to offer some tentative answers to these questions. 

Each of the national curriculum subjects is discussed with a subject leader and provides an insight into what they view as the importance of the subject, how they go about ensuring that knowledge, understanding and skills are developed over time, how they talk about the quality of the schemes in their departments and what they would welcome from senior leaders by way of support. 

And why Huh? Well, ‘Huh?’ may be John’s first response when he walks into a Year 8 German class but, in fact, we chose ‘Huh’ as the title of our book as he is the Egyptian god of endlessness. As Claire Hill so eloquently comments in her chapter, “Curriculum development is an ongoing process; it’s not going to be finished, ever.” And we believe that ‘Huh’ captures a healthy and expansive way of considering curriculum conversations. 


About the Authors 

Mary Myatt is an education adviser, writer and speaker. She trained as an RE teacher and is a former local authority adviser and inspector. She engages with pupils, teachers and leaders about learning, leadership and the curriculum. 

John Tomsett taught for 33 years in state schools and was a teaching headteacher for 18 years. He writes a blog called This Much I Know, and has written extensively about school leadership

From the reviews of Huh

"Secondary school teachers and leaders can sit next to one another in the staffroom – sharing stories, laughs, teaching ideas and more – but so much of the curriculum that is taught in their classrooms is enacted in separate subject silos. As a direct result, senior leaders can struggle to support teaching, learning and, crucially, curriculum development. In encapsulating the experience of an array of expert subject leaders, Myatt and Tomsett offer senior leaders a vital resource to better understand each subject discipline, so they can support the essential stuff of school improvement. Huh is highly accessible and full of practical insights for curriculum thinking. It is required reading for school leaders at all levels."

Alex Quigley, author of Closing the Reading Gap and National Content Manager at the EEF @AlexJQuiqley