"Give me the child before the age of seven and I will show you the man." The quote is attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. We now understand in neurological terms why childrens' learning in their early years is so important for how they develop as adults, and we know that teenage years are another critical period.

Parents se their own curriculum for their children, to greater or lesser extent. But the school curriculum is a very important influence on what children learn, and their attitudes.

Which is why the current failure of the school curriculum - at least in the UK - is so important.

There are many great and good words written about the school curriculum and many official statements that seem sound and wise. But the reality is very different. The actual experienced curriculum for young people in schools is very largely dictated by the national tests and exams, used to sort pupils into successes and failures and for accountability of schools.

Even in early years the government is dictating in detail what should be learnt through the tests applied. This is reinforced by the SATs tests at age 10. The key stage 3 curriculum is seen in many secondary schools as just preparation for the exam-driven curriculum of key stage 4, with quite a lot of schools now starting exam study in yr 9.

All the claims that Ofsted requires schools to have a 'broad and balanced' curriculum mean very little, schools knowing that the real priority is the narrow measurements of SATs and the English EBacc. It is lie to fool parents and teachers when Education Ministers claim schools have control over the curriculum. They know from the research that has been done how the government school control mechanisms act to narrow the curriculum to that dictated by the government.