Responding to the new national curriculum for primary schools.
What is wrong with the new National Curriculum for Primary Schools
- The new primary curriculum will damage the education of the children that we teach
- It is a curriculum based upon the dictatorship of content over experience
- It is crowded curriculum that can produce nothing but rote learning
- It is a curriculum that is based on worst kind of transition belt model of learning. The idea that children are empty vessels to be filled up with knowledge, a model that any teacher worth their salt knows cannot work to educate children.
- It would seem that Gove wants an education system where it isn’t good enough to understand literature, to enjoy it, to express opinions, to desire to learn more or to love literature. He doesn’t want to give the educational tools to children that enable them to take knowledge in to their own hands. Instead, Gove wants a system that says that you are educated if you can quote chunks of Iliad by rote. This will be a system where the mark of good learning is the ability of a child to reel of a sonnet or recite a Shakespeare soliloquy. It wont matter if you love the piece of literature, or if you hate it, just matters that you can memorise is and recite it on demand.
- Because children do not learn best with this kind of curriculum, more children will fail than ever before. Gove has written failure in to the heart of the education system.
What could we do differently?
- Teachers know that good learning takes time. Children can not be forced to learn things that they developmentally not ready for.
- We know that you need to start with the child – their age, their experiences, their interests and existing knowledge.
- We understand the central importance of play – not just in the Foundation Stage but right through school, as the way that children make sense of the world.
- We know that children can only flourish in an atmosphere of trust. They can’t develop skills in an atmosphere where there is a constant fear of failure.
- We understand that phonics, whole word recognition and using the pictures in a book to help, are some of the many strategies that children find useful. There can be no one size fits all approach to learning to read because every child is unique and different.
- We understand that practical experiences form the basis of learning.
- Why not create staff development networks?
- Create learning communities, which encourage peer observation, teacher research, critical questioning and collaborative planning.
- We need local governance of schools to be shaped in such a way that the pressure for schools to compete with each other is overcome. We need schools to collaborate, cooperate and drive up the quality of children’s education across the board.
BUT MOST OF ALL WE NEED TO CAMPAIGN TO STOP THIS CURRICULUM FROM DESTROYING THE LIFE CHANCES OF THE CHILDREN THAT WE TEACH.
HELP US DO THAT AND COME TO OUR OPEN ORGANISING MEETING IN LONDON ON SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER, 10:30- 1PM, VENUE TBA