Monday, July 08, 2013

More than a fine tune

After nearly nine years of retirement from teaching, you’d think that we would be no longer interested in what is going on in British schools and that is generally true.

However, the mental scars created by the introduction and the subsequent revisions to the National Curriculum are hard to heal. The mere mention of the topic in Casa El Willo still raises the blood pressure of both Pam and I, especially Pam. To be honest, I largely ignored it and got on with teaching the way I always had.

Since its introduction, the National Curriculum has been tinkered with by successive governments. The latest move though is more than a fine tune, it is closer to a through overall. Fractions for five year olds is just one example of the radical changes that will be made.

Each time these changes are made, teachers have to re-write their lesson plans, scrapping everything that they know works well for a stab in the dark at something which may fail completely. Added to which, publishers have a nightmare of a task revising their texts to cover the new content and often get left with supplies of out dated material. The process of change is both painful and expensive for all concerned.

To make matters worse, experience teaches us that the changes to the curriculum will either be watered down or scrapped altogether by successive governments. The new rigour that David Cameron applauds might work well in the leafy suburbs of Surrey but will be doomed to failure in the terraced areas of inner cities.

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