Thursday, March 26, 2009
Freeing up the primary curriculum? The Rose Review prescribes more rote learning, chanting times tables, dates from history and phonics. The spin doctors were dusting their magic over the plans because to give it a good media spin they included using Twitter, Wikipedia and spellcheckers.
The main problem in primary schools is the inordinate amount of time spent drilling children in English, Maths and Science. Why? Because that’s what children will be tested in, the results of which will be recorded in league tables, the place the school occupies will then decide if it fails its Ofsted inspection and in turn the career prospects of the headteacher.
The terms of reference of the Rose Review of the curriculum specifically excluded the testing culture and that fatal emphasis on ‘the basics’. Sir Jim had to ignore the elephant in the living room, the dinosaur blocking the dining room, the Komodo Dragons cluttering the kitchen or more accurately that enormous Blue Whale wedged in the bathroom blocking every ray of sunlight. So he failed to take into account testing, league tables and the grim Ofsted inspections; their baleful influence has all but stripped any element of creativity, imagination or joy from the primary curriculum.
The Rose Review is the Hutton Enquiry Mark II – limit the terms of reference and install a ‘safe pair of hands’ who won’t ask any awkward questions. Me thinks the bold Sir Jim has laboured and brought forth a veritable mouse.