Saturday, 12 June 2010

The new curriculum is no more...

On Monday, the government made a significant announcement regarding the new curriculum:

"Along with today’s significant qualifications announcements, ministers also confirmed that they will not proceed with the last Government’s proposed new primary curriculum, which was based on a review led by Sir Jim Rose. The new curriculum was due to be taught in schools from September 2011, but the relevant clause in the Children, Schools and Families Bill did not successfully pass through the last Parliament.

Nick Gibb said:
'A move away from teaching traditional subjects like history and geography could have led to an unacceptable erosion of standards in our primary schools.

Instead, teachers need a curriculum which helps them ensure that every child has a firm grasp of the basics and a good grounding in general knowledge, free from unnecessary prescription and bureaucracy.

It is vital that we return our curriculum to its intended purpose – a minimum national entitlement organised around subject disciplines.

Ministers have always made clear their intentions to make changes to the National Curriculum, to ensure a relentless focus on the basics and to give teachers more flexibility than the proposed primary curriculum offered. They will shortly announce their next steps.'

In the meantime, the Department has advised schools that the existing primary curriculum will continue to be in force in 2011/12 and primary schools should plan on that basis."
This announcement has disappointed myself and teachers all over the country. It seemed as if teachers were finally being listened to regarding what is taught in school. The creative curriculum, as it was dubbed, was the answer to many problems - it streamlined the curriculum, it allowed schools some freedom for how to teach and it meant that teachers, and pupils, could be creative - to do something different rather than the 'same old'.

Now we are told that after large amounts of money being spent in its creation and many schools already working on its principles we are told that it has simply been abandoned. It seems the government want to continue with discrete subject teaching.

I am really frustrated by this news - the creative curriculum was to be our focus for next year - mainly because David Cameron talked so frequently about his dislike of waste. How can he justify this wastage? (It's not just taxpayers' money spent on research and developing the curriculum, but also the wastage in time and effort in schools in introducing a new curriculum which we are now told is incorrect).

A report in the Guardian says that dropping the new curriculum will save £7million. However, I'm assuming this figure refers to planned expense, not what has already been spent - a figure which, as far as I know, hasn't been published.)

I hope that the government have a better plan up their sleeves and introduce a curriculum which combines the positives of discrete subject teaching and the creativity of areas of learning. I hope that they work with schools on this, not for schools. I hope that they will give further justification for why they have taken this decision, not just in a short press release. But most of all I hope they sort something out quickly - the curriculum which is currently law is outdated and drastically needs revamping.


Nikki said...

We have an integrated curriculum at our school and don't teach subjects discretly, and we got "Outstanding" for the curriculum at our last Ofsted. I think you can still choose to teach this way, they just don't want to formalise it.

John McLear said...

I had a similar rant!