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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?

VioletStar Mon 11-Feb-13 21:57:11

Speaking as a secondary school teacher I'm trying to get my head around the sheer weight of content which I have to teach in 2 years due to a shortened KS3 in my school. 3 hours a fortnight (not including coming to lesson late - get this: today a kid said he was late as he had to go to Tesco to buy biscuits!). Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! And how on earth will we resource it? I am a history specialist and so are my 4 colleagues but time and money is not on our side. How to teach content, keep it interesting and teach the vital skills necessary?
I've been teaching 20 years and I can honestly say no two years have ever been the same. I wish politicians would stop tinkering and let us get on with it.

Toad, I agree that there is far too much Horrible Histories. It probably started off as a really good idea; a drop of irreverent humour to make children feel daring and shocking. Now history for children consists of practically nothing but. 1066 And All That was far funnier (in small doses).

I think the history curriculum looks great. Much better than the endless repetition of WW2 that I got in the 80s. My only concern is that teachers will be too unfamiliar with the syllabus to teach it well.

I learned much of my early history from Ladybird books, now out of print. They were great. Frankly, (and I know most will disagree with me here) I'm not at all keen on the Horrible History series. I think the best way to put a child off a subject is to try and jazz it up: it gives the impression that the subject is not interesting in itself.

SuiGeneris Sun 10-Feb-13 22:15:28

NotnowIamreading: raised hand here, twice over as DH is reading over my shoulder. We both us the subjunctive daily or thereabouts. Don't many people? I realise sentences such as "I ask that the papers be sent" are not very common but "if I were you..." occurs quite often in speech...

kim147 Sun 10-Feb-13 18:14:02

This is an extract from Gove's speech.

"A TRULY 21st CENTURY CURRICULUM

And that is why in reforming our curriculum and examination system we have sought to incorporate the lessons we have learnt from the most advanced cognitive science.

So our new curriculum affirms - at every point - the critical importance of knowledge acquisition.

We have stripped out the rhetorical afflatus, the prolix explanatory notes, the ethereal assessment guidance, the inexplicable level criteria, the managerial jargon and the piously vapid happy-talk and instead simply laid out the knowledge that every child is entitled to expect they be taught.

There is new and detailed content on the mathematical processes every child should master - including early memorisation of tables, written methods of long division and calculations with fractions - which was either absent or obscure before.

There is clarity on the scientific principles and laws which drive proper understanding of the natural world.

There is detail on grammar and punctuation, clarity on the essentials of clear composition and a requirement for proper knowledge of pre-twentieth century literature.

In history, rather than a disconnected set of themes and topics there is a clear narrative which encompasses British and world history, with space for study of the heroes and heroines whose example is truly inspirational.

In geography, proper locational knowledge with an understanding of how to use maps and locate rivers and oceans, cities and continents.

And in foreign languages, there is a clear emphasis on the importance of translation - including the study of literature of proven merit."

The speech is here:
www.smf.co.uk/media/news/michael-gove-speaks-smf/

So much of what he says is false - tables and methods were clearly included. Science hasn't changed much. And I bet he won't make assessment easier. We need data, don't we grin

Lovecat Sun 10-Feb-13 17:43:48

Thanks notnow

I agree it seems an awful lot to get through. DD has only just started roman numerals (Y3) and only up to 10.

kim147 Sun 10-Feb-13 15:48:49

Well - had a look at it properly now.
Maths looks similar - high expectations and a mention of Roman numbers to 1000 by year 6 confused

Science - no obvious difference.

Geography - Looks interesting and doable in KS2

But history - there's just so much of it. It's going to be superficial. An hour on an area, next one, next one - no depth to it. And just so much to be expected to be covered. I can see some of it will be interesting and might grab the attention but I think it's overwhelming.

Looking back at my primary school days, I can hardly remember any of the history we did. Apart from the Romans and Vikings.

notnowImreading Sun 10-Feb-13 15:14:57

Mary Seacole is on the list (History). I read it yesterday.

I am interested in the ways the English curriculum will change now that 'Grammar and Vocabulary' seemingly has equal weight with (all the rest of) 'Reading' and (all the rest of) 'Writing' and (all the rest of) 'Spoken Language'. I particularly enjoyed reading that the subjunctive is now part of the prescribed curriculum for Year 6. Hands up how many of us can/need to use the subjunctive (and didn't learn it through learning a modern foreign or classical language)?

Almost the whole of the proposed KS4 curriculum for 'Reading' is literature-based, with minimal reference to any skills relating to multimodal communication and non-fiction texts. There's almost no creative writing; instead a big emphasis on accurate, formal essay writing.

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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 11:35:20

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".

lljkk Netherlands 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.

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>

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.

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.

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?

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)

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...

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?

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