GCSEs and EBacc - in December 2012 the NUT and other organisations launched a petition against Government proposals to abolish GCSEs and replace them with the English Baccalaureate. Please follow the link to see the implications.
This response to the proposed new Primary School curriculum for England was submitted jointly by the NUT, ATL, various curriculum and other organisations, several key academics and 72 children's authors (3 August 2012).
Secretary of State Michael Gove is proposing an archaic and very limited curriculum, in which detailed prescription for literacy, arithmatic and science will marginalise all else. It will encourage transmission teaching and rote learning, and (contrary to Gove's rhetoric about raising standards) will dumb down children's learning by marginalising opportunities for enquiry, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and experiential learning.
The curriculum fails to recognise the diversity of students, including those with EAL, SEN or affected by poverty. If implemented, it will allow teachers little flexibility to respond to children's needs, talents, interests, languages, cultures and experiences.
The targets and expectations on which pupils and schools will be judged are not age appropriate, and generally set so high that the majority of children will fail. (See in particular T Wrigley for a comparison with Finland)
No attempt has been made to involve teachers or parents, and even the government's hand-picked Panel of Experts was alienated and ignored. It is a prescriptive, top-down curriculum which, combined with England's surveillance system (Ofsted, league tables etc) will further demoralise, incapacitate and deprofessionalise teachers.
Pupils and teachers will be overwhelmed by excessively detailed lists of spellings, grammatical analysis, arithmetic procedures and scientific facts. In English, for example, the emphasis is on phonics, spelling, punctuation and grammar, marginalising spoken language, reading for pleasure and information, more creative aspects of writing, drama and ICT.
Follow these links for the agreed joint statement and for the detailed analyses produced by the various organisations and individuals:
National Association for Primary Education
Council for Subject Associations (in particular NATE)
National Association for Advisers in English (NAAE)
Information for Schools and College Governors (ISCG)
Alan Gibbons and children's authors
Prof Margaret Brown (Maths)
Prof Dominic Wyse (English)
Dr Tony Eaude
Prof Colin Richards
Dr Terry Wrigley (editor of Improving Schools)
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