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primary education

(118 Posts)
SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:22:07

This is first time I have been on Mumsnet. My children are older than primary age but I am a primary teacher. I wanted to post this to make as many parents aware as possible of the draft primary curriculum which came out for consultation on Thursday. It is available at It is 221 pages long but parents need to see it asap, not just teachers. Take a good look at the history and geography sections and then the lack of interest in Art in particular. If you want your very young children to be subjected to this kind of statutory curriculum from next year, then look no further. But if having your 6 year old learning about the importance of nation, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel along with Isaac Newton and Christina Rosetti (all KS1), is of concern to you, or the inclusion of the Crusades in KS2 worries you as a Muslim parent, then perhaps you should take a very close look at this. If parents and teachers unite to say no to this, we have until April 16th to prevent it. As a teacher, I am deeply concerned by it. So should all of you be as parents.

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:24:59

If, once you've looked into it, you are not happy, use this address to upload a letter of protest to Education dept.

Tiggles Sat 09-Feb-13 18:31:26

Doesn't really affect me as from Wales, but what is the problem with a 6 year old learning about Brunel or Newton?

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:41:50

Depends whether you want them to try understanding Newton's laws at that age. You are lucky you are in Wales - your curriculum is much broader and much less restrictive. if you take a look at this proposal, you will see it is a straight jacket and will crush creativity from children and teachers alike.

cumbrialass Sat 09-Feb-13 18:45:47

This is for KS2
early Britons and settlers, including:
the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages
Celtic culture and patterns of settlement
Roman conquest and rule, including:
Caesar, Augustus, and Claudius
Britain as part of the Roman Empire
the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire
Anglo-Saxon and Viking settlement, including:
the Heptarchy
the spread of Christianity
key developments in the reigns of Alfred, Athelstan, * and Edward the Confessor
the Norman Conquest and Norman rule, including:
the Domesday Book
Norman culture
the Crusades
Plantagenet rule in the 12th and 13th centuries, including:
key developments in the reign of Henry II, including the murder of Thomas Becket
Magna Carta
de Montfort's Parliament
relations between England, Wales, Scotland and France, including:
William Wallace
Robert the Bruce
Llywelyn and Dafydd ap Gruffydd
the Hundred Years War

life in 14th-century England, including:
the Black Death
the Peasants’ Revolt
the later Middle Ages and the early modern period, including:
Chaucer and the revival of learning
Wycliffe’s Bible
Caxton and the introduction of the printing press
the Wars of the Roses
Warwick the Kingmaker
the Tudor period, including religious strife and Reformation in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary
Elizabeth I's reign and English expansion, including:
colonisation of the New World
plantation of Ireland
conflict with Spain
the Renaissance in England, including the lives and works of individuals such as Shakespeare and Marlowe
the Stuart period, including:
the Union of the Crowns
King versus Parliament
Cromwell's commonwealth, the Levellers and the Diggers
the restoration of the monarchy
the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London
Samuel Pepys and the establishment of the Royal Navy
the Glorious Revolution, constitutional monarchy and the Union of the Parliaments.

And that's only KS2. You can also do local history as well plus Ancient Greece and Rome.

Perhaps someone could tell me how we fit all that in!

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 18:47:46

Sorry but why they do need to understand Newton's laws to learn about Newton in history? hmm

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sat 09-Feb-13 18:48:03


But some children have only just clicked with reading and writing by yr 2. And a year later they have to start with all that????

Tiggles Sat 09-Feb-13 18:48:10

Wow! That is a long list. You HAVE to do all of those?? I thought (from skimming headlines) they were slimming the curriculum down.

Wales were doing well, until they decided that they need to reintroduce testing for every school year from Y2-6.

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:52:07

I have no problem with teaching them about Newton - just not appropriate for year 2 who are still dealing with reading and writing and basic maths by then. They don't need to know about Newton and gravity!!

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:52:36

And yes, the whole list is compulsory.

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 18:54:40

Is Newton less appropriate than Florence Nightingale or Mary Seacole?

I would hope they know about gravity by Y2!

cumbrialass Sat 09-Feb-13 18:55:43

And it has to be taught sequentially so Year 3's will probably get from Early Britons to the Heptarchy, year 4's would be spread of chritianity to 100 years war, year 5 would need to fit in 14th Century England to the Tudors and year 6 can deal with the rest.
Obviously, teaching sequentially could be a problem in a mixed age class!

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:57:23

All am saying is wait to teach that stuff till they are in KS2 and better able to understand it. Newton is not my point - just an example. Have a look at the document. There are going to be many thousands of very annoyed teachers. Not about us or the workload. Simply about what it will do the children's education.

PatriciaHolm Sat 09-Feb-13 19:02:01

Yr 2 DS has been absolutely inspired by Brunel this year, and is perfectly capable of understanding the basics of Newton and gravity.

Is your point more that there is too much to cover?

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:06:24

SJKenyon I am a teacher wink

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:07:01

Yes far too much. And some of the key stage two material is deadly dull! Also all of it is Brititsh History - nothing else will be taught. Does China and Asia generally not exist? WHat about Africa? No room left in curriculum then to teach anything else. I currently teach (every other year) a lengthy unit on Chinese emperors and then on the geography of China. I developed it myself - took a lot of time and effort - but classes have loved it. Won't be allowed to use it any more. If you look at proposed Geography curriculum too - only N and S America and Europe. Again no Africa or Asia. Too restrictive.

heggiehog Sat 09-Feb-13 19:07:03

Just look at the list. It's horrific.

diamondee Sat 09-Feb-13 19:11:13

How does ks2 relate to the Scottish system? Is it P3?

Haberdashery Sat 09-Feb-13 19:11:17

>> They don't need to know about Newton and gravity!!

I don't think gravity would be a crazy topic for KS1, if handled in an age-appropriate way. Newton's laws aren't actually that hard to take on board as concepts, IMO. Things like if something is sitting still, it won't move unless something outside the object happens to make it move. Why something slows down if rolled along a flat surface. Gravity is really interesting and could potentially be taught in a really creative way. Thinking about something properly is always good. You don't need to be able to read or write in a sophisticated way to think. I would have some concerns about how it would be taught. It could be properly mind-expanding and amazing but equally it could be confusing and muddled.

The KS2 list of topics sounds ridiculously prescriptive and overpopulated. However, I did the Tudors and Stuarts for four years out of seven in primary school so would really have welcomed a bit of variety. I remember being quite interested the first year we did them but rapidly wrote off history as a Waste of Time.

I would be very sorry to see creative topics downgraded. I will have to have a look at the proposals.

Could anyone post a link to the document?

TheBuskersDog Sat 09-Feb-13 19:12:08

Am pretty sure Chinese history is not in the current curriculum.

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:12:48

The current KS1 curriculum includes the study of

c. the lives of significant men, women and children drawn from the history of Britain and the wider world (for example, artists, engineers, explorers, inventors, pioneers, rulers, saints, scientists)

Christina Rosetti , Brunel, Newton hmm

ReallyTired Sat 09-Feb-13 19:13:40

"concern to you, or the inclusion of the Crusades in KS2 worries you as a Muslim parent"

I think its a bloody good thing for British children to learn about the crusades. It is important to recongise that attrocities were committed in the middle east by Europeans.

Understanding about Jihads and crusades will make children realise some of the historial background of why there is no much unrest in the middle east today. Children will have a better understanding of current affairs.

Why would a muslim not want their child to learn that there have been religious wars in the past? Its a bit like say that Jewish parents would not want the holocaust taught.

25catsnameSam Sat 09-Feb-13 19:13:51

Just marking my place so I can read the whole doc later.

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:15:01

ocal history study

7. A study investigating how an aspect in the local area has changed over a long period of time, or how the locality was affected by a significant national or local event or development or by the work of a significant individual.
British history

8. In their study of British history, pupils should be taught about:
a. the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings; Britain and the wider world in Tudor times; and either Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930
b. aspects of the histories of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where appropriate, and about the history of Britain in its European and wider world context, in these periods.
Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain

9. An overview study of how British society was shaped by the movement and settlement of different peoples in the period before the Norman Conquest and an in-depth study of how British society was affected by Roman or Anglo-Saxon or Viking settlement.
Britain and the wider world in Tudor times

10. A study of some significant events and individuals, including Tudor monarchs, who shaped this period and of the everyday lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.
Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930

11. Teachers can choose between a study of Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930.
Victorian Britain

a. A study of the impact of significant individuals, events and changes in work and transport on the lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.
Britain since 1930

b. A study of the impact of the Second World War or social and technological changes that have taken place since 1930, on the lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.
A European history study

12. A study of the way of life, beliefs and achievements of the people living in Ancient Greece and the influence of their civilisation on the world today.
A world history study

13. A study of the key features, including the everyday lives of men, women and children, of a past society selected from: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Sumer, the Assyrian Empire, the Indus Valley, the Maya, Benin, or the Aztecs.

seeker Sat 09-Feb-13 19:16:12

It's obviously too much.

But I do find statements like
"I have no problem with teaching them about Newton - just not appropriate for year 2 who are still dealing with reading and writing and basic maths by then. They don't need to know about Newton and gravity!!"
deeply depressing. Why not, ffs?

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