Session Title: Your reaction to the draft National Curriculum for England
Date: Thursday 21st February 2013
Tonight’s discussion was highly enjoyable, especially considering the subject matter. The National Curriculum has divide opinion since it was introduced a generation ago and it’s current reinvention is no exception. It was pleasing to see that UKedchatter discuss this thorny issue in a considered and balance manner.
The discusion began with a retrospective look at the current National Curriculum and examining whether it needs updating. There was universal agreement that the curriculum was outdated in many ways and that the time was right to change it, although many partisipants thought that there were still many useful things in the old curriculum to take forward.
We began to discuss the new draft curriculum and we began to compare the new and old. We started by discussing what improvements we felt had been made. A small number of suggestions were made and these were mostly about that the number of items to cover had been reduced. Of course, there are some notable exceptions, such as the history curriculum ballooning into a weighty area of study. There was a mixed response to the absence of level descriptors and there was some debate about how progress would be tracked.
The discussion turned to whether the 2014 timescale for introduction of the National Curriculum is adequite for schools to prepare. Some participants were worried about meeting the deadline. At this point many UKedchatter voiced concerns about providing training to staff to meet the requirements.
The group explored some of the theory behind the ethos of the new curriculum and the work of E D Hirsch. There was a brief debate about a skills vs knowledge based curriculum, which is a common theme of UKedchat.
The discussion turned towards the problems that participants saw with the draft document. Many people discussion the overburdened History curriculum. There were many other criticisms and I suggest you read the archive to explore them fully.
It was pointed out on numerous occasions that academies and Free Schools were not required to follow a National Curriculum and some voiced that drafting a new curriculum at a time when it seemed that many schools were considering converting to academy status was telling and not at all surprising.
The discussion turned to specifics and UKedchatters were asked what they would change in the draft document. Once again, there were many answers given, but broadly it seemed that most changes revolved around the ‘fact’ content that teachers would need to teach and a perceived lack of practical, creativity and thinking skills which was praised in the Rose review.
The discussion finished by talking about what one thing would participants pencil in to the curriculum if they could. There were some fabulous responses. I will leave you with the words of Ian Addison and my pick for the tweet of the week: #ukedchat in BIG red letters, “this is just the minimum, please feel free to explore, be creative and improve this if you can”
@Hayley_Onslow: There are so many components ‘to cope in society’ knowing facts maybe one of them but it isn’t the be all and end all #ukedchat
@SheliBB: Have you got some good ideas for teaching computing in school? Please add them to the google doc here https://www.digitalleadernetwork.co.uk/?page_id=1833 #ukedchat
Tweet of the Week
@ianaddison: #ukedchat in BIG red letters, “this is just the minimum, please feel free to explore, be creative and improve this if you can”
About Your Host
Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 teacher at Mersea Island School in Essex and is an advocate for using digital technology to improve teaching and learning in schools. He founded the ICTmagic educational resource website and is a co-administrator for UKedchat.