HMI: Curriculum Matters

1 English
2 The Curriculum
3 Mathematics
4 Music
5 Home economics
6 Health education
7 Geography
8 Modern foreign languages
9 Craft, design and technology
10 Careers education and guidance
11 History
12 Classics
13 Environmental education
14 Personal and social education
15 Information Technology
16 Physical education
17 Drama

Curriculum Matters (1984-9)
HMI Series

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1984-9
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Notes on the text


Curriculum Matters was a series of 17 booklets published by HMI between 1984 and 1989. They were intended as a contribution to the 'Great Debate' about the nature and purpose of education which Prime Minister Jim Callaghan had called for in his speech at Ruskin College Oxford on 18 October 1976.

They covered most areas of the school curriculum - though, strangely, not science. (For a statement of mid-1980s thinking on school science, see Science 5-16: a statement of policy published by the DES in 1985).

The Curriculum Matters booklets were published as Margaret Thatcher's Tory government was preparing the ground for the 1988 Education Reform Act, which was to impose the National Curriculum on schools. (The Prefaces from booklet 9 onwards indicate what was happening).

The booklets refer to the years of compulsory schooling in secondary school as years 1 to 5. Since the introduction of the National Curriculum these have been designated Years 6 to 10.

The booklets all had similar covers (the last is shown above) and were known - in my school at least - as 'raspberry ripples', since the colour was reminiscent of a type of ice cream popular at the time. All their titles included from 5 to 16 except for Modern foreign languages to 16 - presumably because it dealt only with the years from 11 to 16.

The online version

All the booklets in the series are presented here, each in a single web page. Links are provided to the main section headings so you can either scroll through a whole document or go straight to a particular section.

The formatting of the text (bold, italics, centred etc) is a reasonably accurate representation of the printed version, but the pages presented here are not exact facsimiles of the original: the font (Times, Arial etc) and size of print - and therefore the number of words to a line and lines to a page - are determined by the settings you have chosen for your web browser. However, the page breaks are correct. In other words, if something is shown here as being on, say, page 103, you can be sure it appeared on page 103 in the original.

The page headers varied between the booklets: some had the booklet title on both left and right hand pages; others had the title on the left hand pages with section headings on the right. They have all been omitted here.

Most of the booklets contained a few printing errors: I have corrected those I spotted.

Blank pages have been omitted.

The HMI series Curriculum Matters and the above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 13 June 2011; the notes were revised on 30 October 2012.