COALITIONS CURRICULUM REFORMS

PRIMARY CURRICULUM

Rose recommendations not accepted by Coalition

Comment

The previous Government accepted recommendations put forward by Sir Jim Rose to implement a new primary curriculum from September 2011. Many schools were well advanced in preparing for the launch of this new curriculum. However, it  was clear in the wash-out phase, at the end of the last Government, that the Tories were  keen to see the end of the Rose Review Curriculum .

Ministers formally announced on 7 June 2010 that the Government does not intend to proceed with the new primary curriculum.

A statement issued by the Government said: “Ministers are committed to giving schools more freedom from unnecessary prescription and bureaucracy. They have always made clear their intentions to make changes to the National Curriculum that will ensure a relentless focus on the basics and give teachers more flexibility than the proposed new primary curriculum offered. The Government intends to return the National Curriculum to its intended purpose – a minimum national entitlement organised around subject disciplines – and will shortly announce its next steps. In the meantime, the existing primary curriculum will continue to be in force in 2011/12 and schools should plan on that basis.”

Ministers have also decided not to proceed with the revised level descriptions which were due to come into force for Key Stage 3 from this September. Secondary schools should therefore continue to use existing level descriptions. The Government will also be scaling back work on PSHE, RE and Citizenship education.

Critics worry that any new curriculum will be designed from the centre and be over prescriptive. Gove  however has said that he will appoint experts to advise on the curriculum development and the intention is once a core curriculum is established for the Government to step back.

However Mike Baker, the former BBC education correspondent and  commentator,  wrote in the Guardian this week  that  much depends on which Gove we get.  Baker asked ‘Will it be the Dr Jekyll who genuinely wants to end central direction and set schools free? Or will it be the Mr Hyde who does not trust the education establishment, and cannot resist specifying which type of phonics and which historical dates pupils should learn?’

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