A century and a bit on from the introduction of the photon, and an increasingly quantum-technology driven world, together with a recognition of the cultural value of physics seems to make a strong case for teaching about light starting and ending with photons. This sketch of the core of a schema, once allied to essential tangible lived-in world experiences, shows that how this could be possible.
Later work might make use of wavefront descriptions and ray optics where these provide less fundamental but perhaps more useful insights for particular tasks. For an education in physics for all, I suggest starting out on optics with the photon.
That's it for an initial tour of optics, which I think could achieve a more coherent insight than the current collation of practices. But
photons keep on giving: the ideas can be exploited to give good accounts of power in pathways and of the interactions of radiations with matter, both accessible to pre-16 year old children and their teachers.