“Through conversation…we may whet and sharpen our wits by rubbing them against those of others.”

Michel de Montaigne [1]

Huh is the Egyptian god of endlessness, creativity, fertility and regeneration. He is the deity Mary Myatt and I have adopted as our god of the school curriculum. Our first book in the Huh series focused upon how school practitioners design the Key Stage 3 curriculum. Its popularity prompted calls from many quarters for a similar book on the primary curriculum. Consequently, we went about interviewing over 30 primary colleagues who have responsibility for curriculum development from EYFS to the end of Year 6.

When we reviewed what we had to share, we could not have crammed it all into one book without losing important material. Indeed, we have gathered so much wonderful wisdom from our most recent batch of interviews, that this new book, Primary HUH is, in fact, the first of two books with a primary curriculum focus.

Primary Huh focuses upon the discrete subjects at primary, whilst its companion book, Primary Huh 2 (due to be published in June 2022), gives a platform to practitioners who lead on the broader issues of primary curriculum design:

From the first interview to the last, the expertise of our primary school colleagues has been remarkable. Our friends Rachel Higginson, Lekha Sharma and Emma Turner have been tremendous co-conspirators on the Primary Huh project, bringing their primary phase expertise to the conversations.

And those conversations have been genuinely inspiring. As Gadamer wrote, ‘No one knows in advance what will “come out” of a conversation… a conversation has a spirit of its own, and the language in which it is conducted has a truth of its own so that it allows something to “emerge” which henceforth exists’.[2] I would go as far as to say that everyone who engaged in our curriculum conversations felt enriched by the experience, especially me. It’s certainly true that every interview significantly extended my limited knowledge and understanding of the primary curriculum; I feel sure the Primary Huh books will do the same for anyone who reads them.

In the spirit of Huh, we hope that Primary Huh and Primary Huh 2 form the fuel for endlessness, creative, fertile and regenerative curriculum conversations in myriad schools across the country, and that from those conversations clarity and truth emerge as we all work to provide our young people with rich, challenging, ambitious curricula.

Postscript: It is hugely encouraging to see several books emerge which focus upon the primary phase. Our Primary Huh books join, amongst others, Emma Turner’s Simplicitus, and Mick Waters & Claire Banks’ A Curious Curriculum, as primary forces its way into a conversation which has been so very secondary-heavy.

[1] Michel de Montaigne, “Of the Education of Children,” in Essays and Selected Writings: A Bilingual Edition, trans. Donald M. Frame (Columbia University Press, 1963), 41.

[2] Hans-Georg Gadamer (1991), Truth and Method, trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald Marshall (The Crossroad Publishing Corporation: New York)

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