So what does it all add up to?

Could this be a new, bright red iPad?

The news over the weekend of the proposed revision to the Primary National Curriculum probably hasn’t escaped your notice. But just in case it has…

To begin with, All Change Please! openly admits it knows very little about primary education, but long, long ago it did actually attend a primary school, which of course makes it an expert on the matter.

Now this may come as a surprise – even a shock – to regular readers, but All Change Please! actually thinks that some of the content of the proposals are a good idea: every child does needs to acquire a certain level of basic skills in English and Maths, and that certainly includes things like punctuation and times-tables. Well, it’s never done me any harm, anyway. At least not as far as I’m aware.

But sadly, that’s where the good news ends, and the proposals start to fail to add up. These days basic skills in English, maths and scientific knowledge together with some historical names and dates and exposure to a foreign language are not nearly enough on their own as a preparation for life. But start assessing and publishing the results of easily-assessable basic knowledge tests, and schools will quite naturally place an excessive amount of emphasis on them at the expensive of a wider understanding and range of experiences. Somehow we still need to find a way to have a balance of factual recall, and learning to learn through contextualised and personalised first-hand experiences. And then there is the problem of defining an age by which children need to have acquired these skills and knowledge, and what to do about those who become ‘left behind’?

Proposed primary curriculum: what about the pupils?

Letters: The trouble with Michael Gove’s primary school proposals

But surely the biggest problem of all, and the one so often neglected by new government curriculum policies through the ages, is the need for high quality in-service training for teachers, which, in the current economic climate just isn’t going to happen. Or, as the Daily Mail subtly puts it:

Thousands of teachers go back to school to learn basic maths and grammar so they can deliver tough new lessons

Ah well – perhaps it’s all not a problem after all. Because these proposals don’t apply to Academies, and the intention is that before long all schools will become Academies (i.e., two negatives become a positive?). So what all it really adds up to is another bout of political/media spin in nice Mr Gove’s campaign to become the next Prime Number?

And finally – it seems that aliens have landed… well this writer seems to be living on a different planet, anyway:
Proper education will do much more for the poor

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