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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.

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:17:25

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:20:42
here is the link.

Just so you know, I am an extremely dedicated year 6 teacher. I am only posting because I am so concerned about this.

ClayDavis Sat 09-Feb-13 19:21:36

'children should be taught about: the lives of significant individuals in Britain's past who have contributed to our nation's achievements - scientists such as Isaac Newton or Michael Faraday, reformers such as Elizabeth Fry or William Wilberforce, medical pioneers such as William Harvey or Florence Nightingale,or creative geniuses such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel or Christina Rosetti.'

I'm not sure how this is very different in practice to the current 'the lives of significant men, women and children drawn from the history of Britain and the wider world (e.g. artist, engineers, explorers, inventors, pioneers, rulers, saints, scientists).

I know some schools that already teach about Brunel in KS1 and I don't get the impression that list is definitive. Presumably you could choose the individualsto study.

The phrase 'common exception words' in the English PoS does make my teeth itch though.

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:23:24

I agree Clay

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:24:56

You can't choose from the KS2 list. It says to be taught in chronological order sequentially.

piprabbit Sat 09-Feb-13 19:25:13

I look at that list and think it looks really exciting. It probably won't get covered in much depth but it seems to be all the things I left school without ever having studied and which I've been self-educating myself about every since.

piprabbit Sat 09-Feb-13 19:26:35

Although we did do a lot about Normans in Infants school as we had the remains of a Norman castle in the village - was fab, nearly as good as dissecting owl pellets.

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:26:49

I teach William Harvey as part of science and history in year 5 - fits better with work on heart and circulation.

bamboostalks Sat 09-Feb-13 19:27:42

This is so typical, someone genuinely concerned about massive changes to curriculum finds an innocuous comment re Newton picked apart. Just look at the bigger picture and you'll see, yet again, our children's education being used as a political football. The fantastic Rose Report quashed and this pile of piffle pushed in to appease Tory nuts. Forget Newton physics...yes of course it can and is studied. That is not the essence of this tread though. Bigger picture people.

ClayDavis Sat 09-Feb-13 19:28:23

About the common exception words, mrz? I know the document explains about common words with irregular GPC but 'common exception words' suggests something quite different.

Tiggles Sat 09-Feb-13 19:29:57

Haberdashery, took me a while to find it, but here is a link - the pdf is on the right hand side of the screen.

Tiggles Sat 09-Feb-13 19:33:49

Under computing for KS1 it says that they will be taught to write and test simple programmes. Interested (because I'm a software engineer) is that new? What software language to they use? Or is it more of a simple, learning to use logic steps like Scratch the Cat, rather than an actual programming language?

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:34:18

About the KS1 curriculum not being much different from the current version and that whoever wrote "common exception words" hasn't thought about the wording.

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:37:07

The new "computing" curriculum ... hmm

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:41:14

Thank you to bamboostalks - was beginning to think I was going mad here! I could hardly copy and paste the whole 221 pages! Just wanted to pique people into looking at this thing before it is too late...

exoticfruits Sat 09-Feb-13 19:43:45

I can't see how you fit that amount of history into 4years for key stage 2.

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:45:56

Just in case everyone thinks I am just being negative, I do approve of the reintroduction of MFL at KS2, as I will happily teach French (my degree) and German. However, still not sure where they will expect me to shoehorn it in to get to necessary standard in an already stuffed year 6 programme. Barely have time for Art/DT/music now.

Tiggles Sat 09-Feb-13 19:47:21

You made me interested enough to read (well skim) the document despite it not being relevant per se to me smile
My genuine response is, I would love my kids to know all that, or at least to have experienced it, before they leave primary school. However, I am very happy to admit I am not a teacher, and have no idea if it is actually feasible or not. This is also based on my personal experience at school where I genuninely regretted NEVER doing a fast paced chronological study of British history. My assumption from skimming the document is that is what is being given in KS2 to be studied in more depth in KS3. But could be very wrong.
IF this is a major change from what is already taught, then yes it is an issue, inasmuch as I do think teachers need to be able to stick at something for a while, to get fully familiar with it.

ClayDavis Sat 09-Feb-13 19:47:51

As much as it pains me to say it, I don't really dislike the KS1 part of the curriculum. They haven't thrown everything out just because it was part of the old curriculum. There's a little bit less genre theory in the early stages of writing, which is good. I can also see lots of space for teaching creatively within it.

In terms of KS2 history, I agree with the chronological overview idea. I'm just not sure they've got the content quite right.

SJKenyon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:53:20

Fair enough. I don't think there's too much wrong with the old history curriculum in KS2 as it stands . We do a lot of fantastic cross-curricular work based on it.

heggiehog Sat 09-Feb-13 20:04:47

The content is abysmal.

ReallyTired Sat 09-Feb-13 20:05:34

"Under computing for KS1 it says that they will be taught to write and test simple programmes. Interested (because I'm a software engineer) is that new? What software language to they use?"

I expect that key stage 1 children will use logo (moving a turtle through a maze) or do projects in Scratch. They are only between the age of 5 to 7.

I imagine that older children (ie. secondary) can choose whatever language the teacher wants. I would have thought that javascript or VBA or simple basic would be suitable choices. Although its not strictly a programming language an introduction to HTML would not hurt.

I think the new curriculum will be over crowded, but the topics suggested are interesting. Its just that there are only so many hours in a day.

ClayDavis Sat 09-Feb-13 20:13:08

The old history curriculum was all over the place. There was little sense of what went where and there was no continuity with KS3 and 4 at all. It was like they were two completely separate curricula. This one isn't perfect. There are things I'd like to see added e.g. Ancient Egypt/Fertile Crescent, Ancient China, Indus Valley. I also think condensing that amount of British history into 4 years is too much. Perhaps moving some of that into Yr 2 could be a possibility.

Wellthen Sat 09-Feb-13 20:15:51

The history page actually says that children should be taught the chronology of British and world History and then lists all the periods that have previously been quoted. It doesn't say that must study all of them in depth. I think this is the way in which the new curriculum allows for a little more freedom - schools can pick periods to focus on that will excite their children or be more relevant. However it is still important to ensure children have a general picture and timeline of history.

I quite like it actually, the Tories seem to be doing good things with the primary curriculum while ruining secondary. Disappointed PSHE is not compulsory though.

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 20:19:19

In the current ICT curriculum children will use programmable toys like bee-bots and turtles and write simple instructions.

From the stated intent to allow teachers to teach we are faced with an overflowing offering ...wait for longer school days to follow perhaps

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