Education May 15 2010

Will teachers really get freedom over what they teach?

By Fiona Millar 1 comment

Interesting piece by Mike Baker on the BBC website, speculating about how far this government will be prepared to go to ‘free up’ the primary school curriculum. Mixed messages came from the Conservative Party during the election campaign. On one hand they promised to ask schools simply to focus on the three R’s, but with an emphasis on teaching phonics, so one central directive already.

The Michael Gove waxed lyrical about his belief in a traditional curriculum and classroom management with children sitting in rows, rote learning the names of kings and queens and poetry by heart.

But what will happen to the teachers who don’t want to do that, or who prefer not to teach to the SAT test at the end of Key Stage 2, or those who would like to follow the recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review, which called for a fundamental re-think of how and what is taught in primary schools and for new ways of assessing pupils, but which received a mixed reception from politicians of all parties.

Robin Alexander, who led the Cambridge Review, warned just before the election that reducing micro-management from the centre shouldn’t necessarily lead to ‘unaccountable licence’.

‘The review is very clear that teachers should always be able to give a coherent justification for their decisions, citing evidence, principle and aim, and this requires reforms in their training, continuing development and leadership to produce a more convincing articulation of research and practice.’he wrote.

Schools and teachers would probably like less prescription, but equally another massive upheaval at a time of spending cuts, which may mean staff cuts, needs to be carefully thought through and involve proper consultation with the heads and teachers who will have to make the any changes work.

One Response to “Will teachers really get freedom over what they teach?”

  1. chrislabour says:

    I really hope they do but the planned freeze to urb labour spending plans don’t give as far as tories and education are concerned

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