The curriculum in schools is at the top of the agenda for many countries yet official global studies such as OECD’s PISA do not survey how countries tackle curriculum reform. Twenty five years ago the National Curriculum was introduced in England and Wales. Since then Governments in England have initiated reform after reform to its content with Wales eventually achieving an independent education system including an independent curriculum. At every stage the changes have been highly controversial with teachers, parents and everyone with an interest in schools. We asked Warwick Mansell, an independent journalist who has tracked the twists and turns of the latest curriculum reforms in England, to kick off the debate about whether there are better ways to create to create a curriculum for schools. He spent nine years at the Times Educational Supplement and now writes regularly for the Guardian Newspaper. He is the author of Education by Numbers: the Tyranny of Testing (2007).His article provides a fascinating accompaniment to John MacBeath’s and Maurice Galton’s reflections on how English Governments have consistently ignored educational evidence over the years.