Are the Foundation Subjects as relevant to a child’s development as Mathematics and English?


Controversial is a idea/viewpoint that is disagreed about by a number of people. 


Controversial issues are looked at in primary schools in through: 



 Controversial issues in the Foundation Subjects.

  •  Art -What is art? Who decides what is a ‘great’ art? Who decides which is valuable art or not? 
  • DT – Will the industry affect Britain’s technological future?
  • Geography – Fair-trade? Brexit? Globalisation? Climate change? Water?
  • History – Glorified war? Different views? History of tomorrow? Accepted ‘truth’. 
  • Languages – English dominate? Should there be a universal language? Relationship of culture and language. 
  • Music – Sexualisation of music and videos. What music and why? 
  • PE – Racism/gender in sport. Obesity. Coaches teaching PE. Lack of time. Extra Funding.
  • RE – Gay Marriage. Equality for woman



Why are these issues not addressed in schools and how can we?

Society and particular people can support addressing controversial issues, such as Banksey, Protest movements/songs, Inventions. 

Demonstrations and Protests can show controversial issues and they show power. 


  • teach all of the foundation subjects 
  • question national curriculum 
  • use local authority 
  • utilise PSHE curriculum 
  • citizenship curriculum 
  • collection worship – use assembly’s to address issues 
  • talk about issues on the news

Hidden curriculum – Diversity, Equality, Race – aspects which are in the always occurring in a school setting and can support addressing the controversial issues. 

BOOKS – this resources can support the starting point of controversial issues for example Jaguar Talk, A fine dessert, The little refugee. 

Books can support the addressing of issues because they can support children questioning what happens throughout a book for example the little refugee can start conversations about war and refugees now on the news. 

Circle time, Worry Monsters, News-round, Question boxes, Share languages: ways in which we can start to address the issues in everyday life. 


Use art for questions – listen to music and discuss the purpose – discuss historical events – Protest ecological and culturally linguistic issues  – Explore feelings that relate to news (football and racism)  

Through engaging with further reading with Hess (2007) I believe that teachers should educate children in controversial issues and have a balanced approach when doing so. This is because children should have the opportunity to decide what they believe in relation to a particular issue and should not have teachers opinions influence their own decision. Education is to prepare children for later life experiences, controversial issues will be an aspect which children will encounter when they are older so this should be taught to ready the children and support their skills in deciding what they as an individual think. 

Following further reading by Oulton et al (2004) i discovered ways that issues can be taught to children. These practices included: focused groups, role play and resource-based learning. I believe that role play would be a beneficial pedagogy for teaching controversial issues as it offers children the opportunity to learn about an issue however the activity will depersonalise the debate as it is breached in an informal way. 


In relation to the original question, I have developed a philosophy through reading and directed tasks. I believe that Mathematics and English as important subjects that children should develop in however the foundation subjects and Science are just as beneficial towards a child’s development. For instance the subject of languages can offer time to develop phonology in both English and another language as well as learning about other cultures. Physical Education can impact a child holistically as well as improve their health. Subjects can be cross linked with others and this will create a interesting environment for the children and support overall development. Therefore, I believe that the subjects that are integrated in the curriculum are all beneficial towards a child’s development. 


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