Category Archives: Articles

What is a knowledge-rich curriculum? Principle and Practice.

Worth a look.


I have found recent discussions and debates about the concept of a ‘knowledge-rich curriculum’  – or knowledge-led; knowledge-based – fascinating.   Some of this has been explored brilliantly in various blogs.  Here is a selection:

There are also numerous blogs from Michael Fordham (Knowledge and curriculum – Clio et cetera), Clare Sealy (Memory not memories – teaching for long term learning…

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David R Edwards

I knew David as a childhood friend. I was involved with Datblygu before they were famous.

David was an intense friend given to extremes. We were both leftist and exchanged youthful ideas about how the world should be. He was younger than me but we shared ideas and that was it. He was an unpredictable and reclusive friend, given to extremes, some of which were troubling and cruel but be was kind.

While I was at University in Bristol, my taste in music veered towards punk and radical, so when I came home for the summer I reconnected with David.

I was encouraged by David’s kind and gentle Dad who always found time for me. By this time David was doing his A levels. David was smoking and drinking and indulging a developing addictive personality. He had a Tascam mixer and was producing cassette tapes. I was impressed and started spending time with him sharing our taste for John Peel.

His mother was encouraging. I got the impression his parents were hoping my friendship would be positive. We discussed God and vegetarianism. I am not sure David’s wounderful mum understood what he was getting into and was the normal indulgent mam.

By the time I had graduated and was embarking on doing my PGCE in Cardiff, David was functioning with alcohol and trying drugs. I realised this while at a concert in St Dogmaels where the likes of Edgar Allen Poet and Malcolm Neon played. David was unreasonably angry and drunk. It was a different David.

Malcolm was an inspiration and we spent time in his makeshift studio in his bedroom where he tortuosly mixed synthetic sounds frequently interfered with by the local Taxi firm behind his house with their short wave radios. He was a perfectionist and ahead of his time.

Malcolm’s home and Robin’s Taxis

I was worried by his behaviour but David’s creativity was astonishing and there was a buzz in Cardigan where every rebel had an idea. I am not sure this was good though layerd over a cultural void.

David was able to make his guitar say anything; it was an extension of his voice. We discussed deep things and spent the summer at the nascent Fflach studious in the derelict basement of a Chapel on the Mwldan, trying to produce a tape for BBC Cymru, who seemed to be very antagonistic and not understanding of what was going on.

The door to Flach studios

David produced a magazine called Mae’na Dân Yma Beth Bynnag. He only produced one but managed to convince the BBC it was significant. During the summer I met Pat and she sung on a made up band we got together as a laugh called Mah Blah but never performed only recorded as a way of experimenting in the studio. It was named because every rubbish Welsh rock Group in David’s analysis had the sound “mah” in their name.

We did a song about born again Pharisees, Prophets that profited, called Paid Cynllwyno Fy Marwolaith, and a lament on Bhopal. We also wrote a play for a BBC competition called Pan Mae’r Lleuad yn Llyfo a mad attack on organised religion including a very violent murder based around a full moon. We didn’t win.

The Catholic Church in Cardigan with this life sized carving facing the main road.

David became a sparring partner as my religious sensibilities were growing. Me being a Catholic, he quizzed me finding the life sized wooden carving of the crucified Christ outside the Catholic Church a troubling image, having to go past it each morning and evening to get to and from school. I remember one evening of deep discussion when we spent time at Pat’s cottage overlooking Bala lake, I think, where I struggled to present a coherent cosmology, but failed. The cross is an image David found perplexing, appearing in some of his lyrics as something that was failing him.

David seemed desperate to include me but I was abstemeous, averse to drugs and dogidly Christian. David asked me to come with them to the Eisteddfod to perform in the alternative scene organised by Anhrefn. I agreed. I had been on a Jesuit Silent retreat in Loyola Hall Liverpool and been confronted with the hate in my heart and the cruelty of the world. I was in a mess emerging from a devastating experience of University which left my self esteem in pieces. I also knew and found out how antagonistic Anhrefn were to Christianity. The Christians picketed one of the venues we played at which I found disconcerting. But again I was challenged as I found myself understanding both sides of the argument; being an un- invested outsider I could see contradictions in Welsh culture and its investment in a failing faith.

David and Pat were lovely people and so kind. I had agreed to go but I didn’t last. I played 3 times, once without an audience, once in a pub where someone threw a telephone at us and once where we silenced an audience for the BBC in a tent.

People came up to us afterwards and were incredibly complementary. I think they had seen something new they did not expect of Welsh music. I was terrified as the fact that I was second language Welsh and very shy, was exposing me: an imposter. The song I played on was Dafydd Iwan yn a Glaw which wasn’t making us popular. However I became so frightened of the drugs and alcohol I decided to leave, got on a train and went miserably home. All I earned was a mention on the Anhrefn album Cam o’r Tywyllwch as a friend which was removed it seems subsequently. My next stop was Corymela where in the Croi I shed my republican opinions.

David became a stranger to me. When I did occasionally meet him, he was clearly sad. I couldn’t cope not knowing how to reach him. I found the recent videos of him and some of the songs he wrote very sad though incredibly poetic. Pat as ever though was a delight and clearly loved and valued him.

That was the end for me and I have been in England ever since, reflecting occasionally on this cathartic experience. Strangely I became part of a church that turned its back on modern culture, and the media, and though I had been an avid Peel listener and Fall fan with David, I have only recently found out about the extent of Datblygu’s fame and David’s influence.

Why am I writing now? I have to confess to being an unreliable witness and doubt my memories. Cool Cymru passed me by but even now when I look at interviews I see chronic self indulgence and deep immaturity. Alcohol and drugs have a dangerous grip on the Welsh youth psychi. It was ever so.

Indulgent mams have a lot to answer for as do emotionally absent fathers, though this wasn’t the case for Mr Edwards.

Hedonism is the perennial religion. Being foul mouthed is a badge of honour and cursing a deeply ingrained part of the language. In my time girls were dishonoured and treated as objects and racism was casual.

There was a deeply ingrained nepotistic caste system perpetuated by ruinous language streaming in the schools.

The Welsh Not might be a folk tragedy but there was no sympathy for the sons and daughters of the crime. My father was the son of a miner from Birmingham who followed the work aged 14 and learned the Welsh of the coal face. He married my Mamgu, daughter of Welsh peasant stock. In his late teens my dad converted to Catholicism and was to be an advocate for the Welsh language in the church all his life.

I came to Wales aged 7 and was a learner the rest of my days. Menna Elfyn was my teacher and was such a good, inspiring teacher, but despite her efforts I was never accepted as a Welsh speaker. But I gained a trophy for my efforts and was allowed to compete in Eisteddfodau.

1976 Welsh Learner Team Literature Winner

Cardigan was a fragmented town divided by Chapel affiliation; the remnant seafaring community moved from the Netpool to the Ridgeway, a virtual ghetto with its own distinguishing accent; the mainly English employees of the RAE in Aberporth, and run by a Masonic Lodge. There were running cultural sores and David tried to create an audience in this milieu… a doomed enterprise.

The truth is you need an income or parents able to support you. Pat was a Chemist, I think, and David had parents who would drive to the ends of the earth for him. But where was the audience to come from, especially as David seemed to despise the people who might pay his way and was continually biting the hand that fed him. Mark Smith was not a good role model.

But when I knew the boy David, he wasn’t only able write Fy Dy and Cariad yn y Rhewlgell but y Teimlad. This is engaging poetry in Welsh and tanslates well to English, played on a Catgut, half sized guitar and recorded on a fourtrack recorder in a bedroom. David despised clean sounds, once, when we did a song, he said it sounded too good and trashed it.

Outside Cardigan the cultural problems were magnified. David hated the Welsh music industry and attacked it and his audiences with explosive ire. We are talking wrath. Did this energy consume him?

One incident that stands out, because of the documentary I saw on S4C, where they played out with Geraint Jarman’s song, Merch Ty Cyngor happened that eventful summer in North Wales.

David insisted on taking me to a Geraint Jarman concert and spent the whole concert standing in the middle of the dance floor, smooth faced, huge in his trench coat, hurling abuse at the stage. A hairy large man tried to reason with him. David smiled and carried on expecting me to join in!

Was this song sung on the documentary played as evidence of a reconciliation with the industry? I don’t think so, it sounds like irony, missed by S4C. What I saw on the documentary was a burnt out man with a boyish smile struggling with the fact that he couldn’t quite be the Fall… Thank God for John Peel. For me David is the boy who wrote y Teimlad. This wasn’t a love song, it was a reaching out for meaning, a grasping for a sparkling chink of light.

Y teimlad sy’n gyrru bobol i anghofio amser

Y teimlad sy’n gyrru ti i feddwl nad yw’r dyfodol mor fler
Y teimlad sydd yn dod a cyn sbarduno gobaith
Ti’n gweld y tywod llwch ond ti’n gweld fod yno flodau

Y teimlad, beth yw’r teimlad?
Y teimlad sydd heb esboniad
Y teimlad, beth yw’r teimlad?
Y teimlad sy’n cael ei alw’n gariad
Cariad, cariad, y teimlad

Mae hapusrwydd yn codi ac yn troi yn wir rhywbryd
Ac mae’n dangos fod yno rhywbeth mewn hyd yn oed dim byd
A pan mae’r teimlad yno mae bywyd yn werth parhau
Ond yn ei absenoldeb mae’r diweddglo yn agosau

Y teimlad, beth yw y teimlad?
Y teimlad, sydd heb esboniad?
Y teimlad, beth yw y teimlad?
Y teimlad, sy’n cael ei alw’n gariad

Well Mae’r pillars melyn wedi mynd beth bynnag.


The Christian distinctive that is foundational.

Miroslav Volf teaches at Yale Divinity School – and is celebrated for his work on reconciliation and forgiveness. But book learning alone does not explain this focus.

Miroslav’s brother was killed in a childhood accident, and the Volf family’s journey through misery and hatred finally ended in a powerful act of forgiveness inspired by Christian teachings. He tells Dr. Laurie Santos how seeking to “unglue” the deed from the doer is a gift we can give others and ourselves.


Beatus Vir: a reflection on psalm 1

Peace becoming, allowing and resisting.

Malcolm Guite

The Trees by Girton pond, a place I often meditate -photo Liliana Janik

Like many people I have found that lockdown has brought my reading of Scripture to life and especially the Book of Psalms. The psalms form part of our cycle of daily prayer as priests in the Church of England, but that practice is only a late flowering of a much longer tradition. The regular recitation of the psalms reaches deep back into Judaism, forms part if the spiritual life of Christ himself, and was a staple of Christian worship from the earliest times, especially in the emergence of monastic communities almost all of which make the recitation of the entire psalter the very centre of the turning wheel of their prayers.

And we recite the psalms not just as historical texts from ‘out there and back then’ but as inspired words given for our own hearts to…

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Let us Pray

Through our faith in the redeeming work of the cross; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, do we have authority in creation, together with the Father, Son and Spirit? Is this the mystery of prayer: from the beginning, not only did we have dominion through technology and culture, we had dominion in the spiritual realm? Is our prayer of faith an exercise of the original authority given to us at creation? Is our prayer preparation for heavenly authority in the age to come? Is the outworking of God’s loving kindness that he only works through prayer? Are all prayers answered by God through the glorification of love and the defeat of principalities and powers through the way of love?


Love is defined by scripture as sacrificial, non-coercive and enemy loving. Love doesn’t hold a record of wrongs and does not insist on its way.

Matthew 5:43-46 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?

Matthew 22:37-40 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

God is beyond anything we might understand. God’s love extends beyond what is revealed in these scriptures; beyond our conception. God is good, he is loving, and he is steadfast, in ways we cannot limit by what we may comprehend. God is faithful and has made a space for creation in which he may be glorified and pour out love. God cannot become more loving, he is complete love and in creation love is perfected. Love is freely given and freely received. This is what is essential, God has formed creation so that love is perfected. Love can be no less than what God says it is in the scriptures.

God is One, Father, Son and Spirit and is love. All creation is in God. God creates a space for love to be poured out and to draw in humanity. Humanity is made in the image of God, but we are not gods. God prepares humanity to love and be loved, to hear his voice and to choose to follow the narrow way of love. Christ, the eternal Son, is made flesh, in the form of the man Jesus. Through Jesus’ life and death and resurrection humanity is perfected in love. Christ came fully human so that we may be restored to our full humanity and original blessing. This event in time is for all time true, the eternal sacrifice revealed to us.


We are privileged to see and know this mystery. God shows us in Christ the dominion we have through faith and teaches us to ask. Christ forms our hearts so that he is in us, lives within us, and the words we hear are the words we speak. Our hearts are sanctified, trained in holiness, as we confess with our lips that Jesus is LORD.

The mystery of prayer is that God promises to work as we pray. Where people pray, the rule of God formed in people’s hearts, releases God’s blessing power in love. God does not force himself on creation but gifts humanity with dominion in the heavenly realm and on the Earth. This authority is the authority Jesus, who is fully human, exercises. We are called to exercise authority through prayer. God is alive and active and willing to exercise power, through the prayers of the faithful. This is the mystery of prayer, that we are to subdue creation through prayer.

The way the world is, is because of prayer and the neglect of prayer. We are called to labour in prayer as much as we are called to rule the creation and subdue it. Prayer is the power of the work of our hands and prayer defeats the work of the evil one, putting him to flight. Deliver us from evil, Jesus teaches us to pray.


Prayer begins with praise and worship; Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name! Your kingdom come your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven! Prayer continues, formed in the knowledge of the Holy.

In naming the One who brings blessing and the blessings he brings, our prayer gains content. We need to rest in the still small voice that speaks; in the thunder that proclaims. Each moment has purpose, and, in each moment, we are invited to choose life. Our purpose is to be gathered to God in the fulness of time. Where there is opposition we go deeper; where there is pain we experience pain and pray the more. This is the battle.


The battle is won on the cross. From the beginning, the Word, the lamb who is slain is slaughtered. In creation, there is forgiveness. From the beginning, this forgiveness is found in sacrifice, the victim is the life of the one seeking atonement; more than a substitute.

Genesis 22:11-13 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.”  He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”  And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

Hebrews 11:17-20 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

Notice how Abraham chooses to sacrifice the ram to fulfil the command of God. It was not a command of God to sacrifice the ram. The sacrifice of the ram fulfilled the command of God to sacrifice Isaac. The ram was more than a substitute it was the life of Isaac. Figuratively, Isaac experienced resurrection.

The ritual of the sacrifice of an innocent victim in the place of the sinner covered sin through perfect love and the sabbath sacrifice brought peace. This ritual expressed the revelation of the Word, made sin for our healing. Satan perverts this ritual to include human sacrifice to include child sacrifice which is the work of the destroyer. Satan contorts the image away from the forgiveness at its centre, the reality in the heavenlies.

God says from the beginning,

Genesis 9:4-5 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning…

From the beginning, humanity is without sin, flesh is not eaten and able to choose life or choose death. Humanity chooses death and surrenders dominion to Satan. This is our story; we fall short of the glory prepared for us and we sin, becoming slaves to Satan.


In the fulness of time, forgiveness is revealed in Jesus. Jesus is fully human and Christ. Jesus is fully God. Only God is good and in Jesus’ life this goodness was perfected. Humanity through sin gives up its dominion but, in Jesus, humanity is redeemed and exerts its dominion. All hell breaks out to bring Jesus down. His life is a battle, as he draws all sin to himself, but he is without sin. He resists temptation. The fury of hell brings Jesus to the cross. The penalty of sin is death. Jesus has not sinned. All sin is put upon him and the wrath of God, his incandescent anger for the victims of sin and the perpetrators of evil and iniquity; those who sully the glory that is humanity. Wrath is poured out on Jesus by the Father as in Jesus God bears the sin of the world. Jesus the innocent victim is more than a substitute for all humanity and he becomes sin. God suffers the anguish of sin, the separation of sin and the wrath of the Father, as Satan seeks the downfall of Jesus and Jesus is slaughtered. Jesus is innocent of sin to the last and Satan who holds the keys of death and hell, slaughters the innocent lamb of God.

In this one act Satan is vanquished- death is the penalty of sin. Jesus did not sin.


In taking the life blood of Jesus, death is sanctified, and death no longer has dominion; the penalty is annulled. The keys of death and hell are relinquished and revealed to be in the hands of Christ from the beginning. All forgiveness is found in him. The truth is revealed that God takes upon himself our sin so that we might walk free. Love is perfected in Christ, in whom all sacrifice ends. Christ, the fulness of God, in whom we live and breathe and have our being, frees us from sin by grace through faith. The ground of humanity’s faith is the goodness of God revealed in the victory of the cross.

In death, Jesus regains dominion for all humanity in all time.  The resurrection restores humanity and is the first fruits of what is to come. In Jesus’ sacrifice we gain our life, a life without end. We are new creations in Christ, a bride being prepared for the Son, filled with the Spirit. Let us pray in the knowledge of the victory of Christ our Saviour who restores all authority in Heaven and on Earth to humanity for the praise of his glorious name.


Did a prayer meeting really bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War?

World Prayer News