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Free school head without any teaching qualifications plans to ignore curriculum

(313 Posts)
mrz Sun 10-Mar-13 11:52:06

ipadquietly Thu 11-Apr-13 16:06:16

TBH it appears that Gove is just spouting a collection of soundbites (once a journalist, and all that...) He rails about 'progressive' education (that doesn't (IME) go on), and praises the free schools and academies for rigour in phonics and times tables, which most schools do anyway. Empty words.

From where I stand now, Hirsch's model as used in the US Core Knowledge Schools looks quite sensible, particularly if the core state standards are used in tandem with the Core Knowledge curriculum.

I also think Willingham endorses what many primary schools are doing now in the UK, building skills on a knowledge base. (I reckon his arguments against using learning styles to plan the curriculum are specific to the USA - they were never embraced with much fervour here.)

So, apart from the rather awful draft history and DT curricula - it doesn't look so bad to me. smile

However, I think they have made a BIG mistake employing a 27 year old non-teacher to run a school! grin

mrz Thu 11-Apr-13 16:08:19

So, apart from the rather awful draft history and DT curricula - it doesn't look so bad to me.

However, I think they have made a BIG mistake employing a 27 year old non-teacher to run a school!


muminlondon Thu 11-Apr-13 16:17:55

I think there is some general consensus here grin

beezmum Thu 11-Apr-13 19:17:17

...ditto (if allowed)

ipadquietly Thu 11-Apr-13 19:57:45

I think I need a holiday after all that!

Have now filled in consultation form.


mrz Thu 11-Apr-13 20:03:06


mrz Wed 09-Oct-13 18:48:09

tethersend Wed 09-Oct-13 20:55:50

Mrz, that has absolutely made my day. Thank you smile

ravenAK Wed 09-Oct-13 21:38:39

Schadenfreugasm here too. smile.

muminlondon Wed 09-Oct-13 22:32:24

That's really weird, was wondering how long she would last! A free primary proposed neighbouring private school teachers in West London has just swapped its founding headteacher for a new principal after seven months. No explanation.

ipadquietly Wed 09-Oct-13 23:10:38

Just had to quote this Telegraph article from April 3rd. Feel that egg on the face. Hahahahahahahahaha grin

'Scarcely a day passes without some Left-wing dinosaur making a fool of themselves over education policy. Today it was the turn of Paul Dimoldenberg, a Labour councillor in Westminster. He has called for the Conservative-run council to launch an inquiry into the appointment of Annaliese Briggs as the headmistress of Pimlico Primary. His complaint is that she doesn't have a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), the qualification you get after spending a year at teacher training college.
"I can't believe how anybody could be so arrogant to believe that they can do that job when they've never taught in a school," he says. "I find it quite staggering."
In fact, Ms Briggs has taught in a school – several schools, in fact. Employed by the well-known think tank Civitas, the well-known education think tank, she helped run Civitas Schools, a network of after-school classes and Saturday schools across the country. As for her lack of credentials to run a primary school, she is one of the country's foremost experts on E D Hirsch's core knowledge curriculum and, as such, advised the Department for Education on the new primary National Curriculum.
It goes without saying that Westminster Council won't launch an "investigation" into her appointment. Pimlico Primary isn't a local authority-run school so the council has no say over who's hired to run it. This is just a piece of grandstanding by Cllr Dimoldenberg. The reason he's making a fuss is because the school in question is sponsored by Future, a multi-academy trust set up by the schools minister Lord Nash and his wife. Like the Observer, which ran an attack piece about Ms Briggs earlier this month, he sees this as an opportunity to score a few cheap political points.
Left-wing critics of free schools and academies are constantly harping on about the fact that they're allowed to hire "unqualified" staff, by which they mean teachers who don't have the union-approved bit of paper. It's a complete red herring. Independent schools have long enjoyed this freedom, yet it hasn't put parents off. Far from it. According to a 2012 Populus survey, 57 per cent of parents would send their child to an independent school if they could afford it. Ultimately, it's for parents to decide whether they want their children to be taught by teachers without PGCEs, not trade unions or Labour politicians.'


PiqueABoo Thu 10-Oct-13 00:16:50

That was my reaction when I skimmed the Civitas UK version of Core Knowledge (that I assume Ms. Briggs had a large hand in before she went off try it out in a real school).

merrymouse Thu 10-Oct-13 06:04:35

I am a bit confused and must have missed something. Is Hirsch the author of the 'what your first grader should know' etc. etc.

I was curious and downloaded this on kindle a couple of years ago. I wouldn't say it was a wasted purchase because I used it as an anthology of fiction and poetry and it was useful to have loads of children's stories on my phone, but I didn't think the educational theory was exactly ground breaking.

merrymouse Thu 10-Oct-13 06:05:49

[the 'what your first grader should know' etc. etc. books.

mrz Thu 10-Oct-13 06:57:30

Hirsch is an influential American education "guru" founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation - co-author of what your first grader ...... & in UK what your Year 1 child ...... (Annaliese Briggs/ED Hirsch)

merrymouse Thu 10-Oct-13 10:16:23

The UK series seems to be just "What your Year 1 child should Know". Maybe she has quite to to do the rest of the lesson planning.

PiqueABoo Thu 10-Oct-13 13:21:12

There is an entire 'curriculum' for Y1-6 you can get from their site in year-by-year pieces, each being 20+ pages long. You don't get three terms of lesson plans with the NC (but can obviously go buy them).

merrymouse Thu 10-Oct-13 13:46:31

Just looked at website - looks like the US version but adapted for UK history and geography. That curriculum does look rather stressful to convey in its entirety...

juniper9 Thu 10-Oct-13 15:23:38

The school only opened in September! So she made it an entire month... hmm

muminlondon Thu 10-Oct-13 19:00:20

I wonder if she actually did any teaching herself at Pimlico Primary? A local BBC programme showed parents who expected to see her in the classroom and talked of a 'temporary teacher'. Her experience consisted of editing someone else's books and tutoring in after-school clubs, while her teaching practice may have been with older children, so being in front of 30 four-year-olds might have been a shock to the system. Or was it the stress of managing trained teachers with far more experience than her? Or talking parents who had completely different expectations from her?

juniper9 Thu 10-Oct-13 19:33:51

The Guardian article says that the parents had been told she was ill and would be coming back... sounds like it was their reporter who informed them that she had left. Bet that went down well...

I can't imagine the staff would be particularly supportive of her, unless they were hired knowing exactly what the situation would be.

lalalonglegs Thu 10-Oct-13 20:04:17

I don't know what the appointing committee were thinking - what a mess.

PiqueABoo Thu 10-Oct-13 21:45:06

@merrymouse, " That curriculum does look rather stressful to convey in its entirety..."

I looked at it a year or so ago with eyes biased by a relatively bright and musical DD and I couldn't see how it would possibly work for a child and thus their teacher, especially at the younger ages. Amongst many problems it has of course got everything (and then some) that was wrong with Gove's history in the new curriculum before he did the U-turn.

It beggars my belief i.e. I find it almost incomprehensible that people playing with education can be so pig-ignorant about the nature of young children.

nlondondad Thu 10-Oct-13 22:29:56

There may not have been an "appointing committee."

One of the "freedoms" Free Schools have is to ignore all the recruitment rules, including competitive appointments on merit.

Also in an ordinary state school the appointment (and for that matter removal) of a Head is a matter for the school governing body so parents are involved in the decision through their elected representatives. In Free Schools this decision is entirely one for the Trust ie the sponsor. The school GB (of which in any case a majority are appointed by the Trust) has no say.

ClayDavis Thu 10-Oct-13 23:18:38

Some of the core knowledge UK isn't that bad but they've chopped and changed it in a fashion that makes a complete hash of the US version.

They seem to have completely got rid of the idea of domain based units that link the different areas of the curriculum. Bits of history and geography have moved year groups so some art/music literature that linked and should be in other year groups has moved as well, leaving them overcrowded. Other bits stayed where they were so are now taught in isolation rather than as part of a topic.

The music is a mess because they've tried to crush 9 years of curriculum into 6. This also added to the overcrowding in some year groups where bits had been moved.

WRT history, the US has a lot less history to cover. That allows them to do a brief overview from K-2 and a more in depth study from 3-5 alongside major world civilisations, then in depth studies of world history from 6-8. The UK has metric fuck ton of history from the Stone age to the modern day and they've tried to cram it all into 6 years + world civs. Whoever decided that an overview of the change in the power and role of the monarchy and parliament should go in year 1 has obviously never met a 5 year old. The CRE history curriculum which is also chronological is much better, IMO.

The less said about the geography curriculum the better. WTF is going on with the European part? Or the UK regional part for that matter.

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