to think that the new national curriculum proposals seem to have passed people by when actually the consequences could be terrible?

(83 Posts)
soverylucky Sat 09-Feb-13 12:52:31

Yesterday the new proposed National Curriculum was revealed. It is a draft document that is open to consultation. I am horrified at some of the changes that are proposed and it would seem on some teaching forums others are too. Yet the story doesn't seem to be covered elsewhere. Why is this?

Kim147, you have a very good point - all primary schools will have to buy new books for the nf library. I wonder if our brand-new selection of books about the Victorians, Ancient Egypt and WW2 would fetch anything on ebay?

Cakebar, I have always added the chronology myself, by putting up a big class time line which we consult frequently during the various topics, and also use when we meet events on the news, in reading books, etc. At the beginning of the year we also walk down to the bottom of the school field to find the relative position of the Ice Ages (since the recent films) and look on maps to see where our time line would reach if we included dinosaurs.

Teachers can do chronology without prescriptive rules laid down by the government. Contrary to popular opinion in government and on MN, we are not all idle and stupid.

No matter how diligent I may be, though, there is no way the sheer mass of detail laid down in the consultation document can be covered. Has anyone worked out just how many hours of teaching time are available for history between y3 and y6?

Just reading through the 200 pages now (it's raining, after all).

Actually, some of it is quite funny: I really like the bit where y3 start learning about genetics and inheritance, looking for family likeness among the Hapsburgs (I thought we were to stick to English history?), where it also helpfully points out that children are not yet expected to know how chromosomes work. I see hours of fun in the playground when they manage to work out that Amy's mum and dad both have blue eyes so there is no way Amy's dad really is Amy's dad ....

Just got to geography - where has Africa gone? And our study of Pakistan? With all the carefully nurtured cross-curricular links with RE and Islam, the partner schools with which our classes exchange letters, our fund raising projects supporting the school in Nigeria ...

From an RE point of view, not being allowed to study a country where Islam is the main or even a major religion is a big step backwards.

I am quite sure that South America is fascinating, but far further away with far fewer family and community links for the children, WHY???????

corblimeymadam Sun 10-Feb-13 08:18:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Sun 10-Feb-13 08:20:45

This is from 2 years ago:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12227491

"He said he wanted to reduce "unnecessary prescription" and that the curriculum would be slimmed down so that it reflected the "essential knowledge" that children should learn.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Gove said it would be for the panel leading the review to determine what content should be specified in the new curriculum.

"I'm not going to be coming up with any prescriptive lists, I just think there should be facts," he said.

"One of the problems that we have at the moment is that in the history curriculum we only have two names [of historical figures], in the geography curriculum the only country we mention is the UK - we don't mention a single other country, continent, river or city."

The education secretary has in the past been vocal about the lack of a "connected narrative" in the teaching of British history"

No prescriptive lists, a slimmed down curriculum confused

corblimeymadam Sun 10-Feb-13 08:23:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Believeitornot Sun 10-Feb-13 08:31:34

Surely this prescriptive list tells us that you cannot teach children everything in schools. Surely the aiming a curriculum is to teach a core, to spark interest in whatever subject, then as children grow up they can follow that interest. Not cram as many facts in as possible - facts are relatively easy to learn, it's the analysis etc that's harder.

Exactly. Facts can be looked up in books or on google. Attitudes, skills and enthusiasm need to be developed, so that the children actually want to discover the facts and know how to find and evaluate them.

Lists of facts are relatively easy to teach, though, while being uninspiring to learn. Lots of lists, drilling, memorising, mnemonics, chanting, rhymes to remember dates, flash cards ..... It'll be just like the 50's ... lovely.

(How old is Michael Gove?)

Catsnotrats Sun 10-Feb-13 08:41:31

I can't understand either why North and South America have been designated as ks2 and Asia and Africa as Ks3. Is there something far more challenging in these continents which means they aren't suitable for 7-11 year olds?

I've also just noticed that we are supposed to teach about the Industrial Revolution in ks2 DT. How does that fit with the idea of chronological teaching?

SuiGeneris Sun 10-Feb-13 08:45:15

Have not read the consultation doc, but it sounds eminently sensible and quite similar to how we were taught history 30 years ago (in another country): chronological order from pre-history to ww2 between 7 and 11. The difference is we did it again in more detail between 11 and 14 and then in much more detail between 15 and 19. End result is I know much more about history (including UK history) than DH, who was state educated in England until 10 and then went on to a reasonably well-known school.
Don't really understand the moaning about making things "relevant": we are all human and history is about the evolution of man, so Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Charles V etc have affected all of our backgrounds, regardless of whether we are English, German, Indian or Chinese.

The fact that current teachers may not have studied much history after their teenage years is more concerning, but good textbooks and training courses should help? Yes, they do cost money, but education is very important and IMHO is one of the best things on which to spend money...

IAmLouisWalsh Sun 10-Feb-13 09:13:00

I asked DH who Clive of India was last night (because I genuinely don't know, other than something to do with colonialism)

He replied 'some mate of Derek of Pakistan'.

Well, it made me laugh....

(I have an A level in History, he has a joint honours degree in Politics and History)

But there will be NO resources and training. We know that; almost all training in schools has been cut. SuiGeneris - what an interesting name! - have you read the list that is to be covered in a little over 100 hours teaching time? Even if they don't have any time to find pencils, do school plays, change after PE etc?

cazzybabs Sun 10-Feb-13 09:22:58

what we want, Gove you are reading, is not a definative all you need to know list of facts but a list of skills to engage and eqiup for life in the 21st century. Let us teach children how to find facts, ask questions, solve problems, think and let us as teachers decide which topics are best to engage our children with to achieve these aims.

I hate what he is doing to teaching.

Wellthen Sun 10-Feb-13 10:04:11

I agree with the poster that said it would make more sense to go backwards and ultimately be more interesting for the children. IME primary children just dont get ancient history, its too far removed.

Didn't notice the Geography as much, will have to go back and have another read. But I guess I would say remember that this is what you have to teach but its not the ONLY thing you teach. Surely you can cover children's home counties in PSHE or RE as well?

Dont know why I'm supporting Gove really as I'm definitely not Tory! Its not as bad as I thought it would be I spose.

kim147 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:06:19

I dread to think what the assessment will be look. What will a level 3 or 4 look like? Will it be the ability to name dates?

<Thnks back to NC in early 90s and the amount of crap that came with that>

lljkk Sun 10-Feb-13 10:36:05

there's no way they'll cover all that history. There will be a selection element to it: "Choose one of these six choices from the same era to cover in year 5" kind of thing.

soverylucky Sun 10-Feb-13 11:35:20

suigeneris - I think the way History is taught now is not too different to how you studied. Certainly at the school I teach in we follow a chronological approach from the Romans in Britain to virtually the present day. Primary schools do seem to adopt the dip in and dip out approach. I understand people's concerns with this and I am not totally against change. However the proposal means that pupils will be studying topics in primary school at a very young age when little time will be given to the subject matter, their comprehension will be limited, the teaching will not be from a specialist and it will not be repeated at high school. If the government kept the idea of a chronogical approach for primaries but slashed the content that would be an improvement on what they have proposed. Secondary schools could use that framework to build on and develop the subject further. What they are suggesting seems totally unworkable.

lljkk makes a relevant point. They will not cover all the content and important topics will be left out. High schools will not be able to "fill the gaps".

Wellthen, we can add our own content; it's just a time thing. If we have to fit in all the facts required, there is absolutely no time for extra. And if teaching about Africa and Pakistan or India has worked well up to now, why change it just for the sake of it?
If there is a choice of units, that would be more sensible, but still, to lose the whole sense of our geography! sad

soverylucky Sun 10-Feb-13 11:36:56

It is also true to say that there will be no extra funding for training and resources. All the major educational publishers will have to start from scratch. The books that they have just released are now of no use.

dayshiftdoris Sun 10-Feb-13 11:52:34

PE mentions team sports with football heading the list and includes every team sport you can think of except Rugby shock

Why is rugby missing? Tag / touch rugby is played until 9yrs and the RFU have changed their rules this year so that contact is brought into the game in a much slower manner...
In my experience its a much more inclusive sport than football...

Swimming is still on there too with all children having to have swimming lessons regardless of their prior skills!

Oh what a shame about rugby! It is really popular in my school and so much more accessible to girls and the less sporty.

Let's hope that the RFU get onto it right now!

Swimming is fine ... just costs more to take everyone. We already have to charge for the coach to the pool (30 mins each way, so a whole afternoon out of teaching), so presumably that will just be expanded to include everyone, not just the non-swimmers who were mainly missing their lunch break. Maybe we could chant lists of kings on the coach!

I think there just will not be books in schools, since there will be no possibility of replacing whole sections of the library (thinking of my lovely new box of Pakistan books) and teachers will use the internet and download/make worksheets.

However, I am really trying not to be negative .... I am very pleased to see fossils and dinosaurs making a come back in year 3/4. Children tend to be fascinated by them and I could never understand why they didn't feature in a big way, especially to catch boys' interest.

dayshiftdoris Sun 10-Feb-13 13:15:47

Exactly LaBelle... not against swimming - just the blanket 'You need to go' - much better to concentrate the spend on children who are not water safe.

My son is proficient swimmer but he can't bloody spell be much more useful if he spent that time relearning his phonics!

As for rugby - can't understand it at all. It's considered a much more technical game with respect for elders, manners built into the ethos of clubs... it's played at very high level in the private sector (our club is in area with some prominent public schools and we have a number of players who are purely here to learn school ready for senior selection).

State run education seems to favour the football... they seem scared of the 'risk' but tag can be played across the ages and is no more risky than football.

Lovecat Sun 10-Feb-13 13:28:11

I haven't read the document but can someone who has please confirm that Mary Seacole is still on the curriculum? I don't know if she'd be under History or Health/Science type stuff.

The reason I ask is because Gove said he was going to remove her from the NC (I get the impression he'd like our children to learn about dead white men and little else) and I signed a petition against this, I was under the impression that he'd done a u-turn, but if she's not on the History list then where is she?

<declares personal interest, my cousin is on the board of the Mary Seacole Trust and it took long enough to get MS recognised along with Flo Nightingale, I'm aghast that Gove wants her gone>

dayshiftdoris Sun 10-Feb-13 14:56:33

Follow the link - it's a PDF so you can search it...

I didnt notice but then I wasnt looking for it

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