Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Interim Report on the Primary Curriculum

This has just been released and can be downloaded from here.

The press attention has been around the recommendation that primary schools change their organisation from a subject to a more thematic approach. This reflects much of what has been going on in the secondary curriculum of late and is very relevant to the House Committee on Children, Schools And Families examinations that were reported in my last post.

Sir Jim Rose acknowledges the tensions between the two approaches to organising learning and states; "six areas of learning are proposed to give schools optimum flexibility for planning cross- curricular studies, and ample opportunities to teach essential content discretely and directly". In other words lets give schools the ability to do some thematic work but at the same time design the curriculum so that they are influenced to teach the really important building blocks of content. A recommendation is..

"Given the excellent examples of both witnessed by the Review, neither discrete subject teaching nor cross-curricular studies must disappear from primary schools. Schools should protect time when learning is best served by teaching subject content discretely and systematically, and give children ample opportunities to use and apply their developing subject knowledge, skills and understanding in cross-curricular studies."

I am pleased that he highlights the need to develop young peoples' ability to speak and listen.
"Discussion of reading, writing and numeracy in primary education often fails to recognise the central importance of developing children’s spoken communication."

ICT is also given a strong role in helping improve the learning that goes on in primaries. He states "One highly promising route to meeting the demand for in-depth teaching and learning is undoubtedly emerging through ICT." It is clear that he believes that ICT capabilities need to be explicitly addressed and also that ICT itself is an enabler of enhanced learning across all subjects (and themes).

I await the final report with keen anticipation

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