Union's fears over rush to 'Gove-rriculum'

Published on Monday, 08 July 2013 17:08
Written by Scott Buckler

Voice: the union for education professionals – which represents teachers and support staff – has raised its concerns over the new National Curriculum for England and the speed of its implementation

Senior Professional Officer (Education) Ian Toone said: "It seems that this is the 'Gove-rriculum' that we feared – the personal fantasy curriculum of journalist-turned-politician Michael Gove.

"While it seems that some concessions have been made, and that will be welcomed by teachers, many of the concerns of education experts who took part in the consultation have not been taken on board.

"In that consultation, we raised our concerns about the proposed curriculum being 'over-prescriptive' with an 'over-reliance on rote learning at the expense of understanding and critical thinking'.

"It seems that the new curriculum will still meet that description. Far from being 'rigorous', as Mr Gove claims, it will not be rigorous enough. It presents 19th century methods as the way forward for the challenges of the 21st century. A modern curriculum requires a greater emphasis on concepts, skills and attitudes – not rote learning of 'essential knowledge' chosen by politicians.

"Mr Gove's motivation for reform seems to be international leagues tables. That is the wrong motivation.  The needs of children for a curriculum that develops their understanding and prepares them for lifelong learning and future employment should be at the heart of the curriculum – not a system driven by tests and statistics.

"Trying to implement a new curriculum by autumn 2014 is totally unrealistic, especially on top of changes to GCSEs and A levels, and will push the education system to breaking point.

"The closing date of 8 August for the initial consultation is ridiculous, as this includes the busy end-of-term period and the start of the school holidays.

"Even the name 'National Curriculum' should be called into question because academies – which now comprise the majority of secondary schools – and free schools will not have to follow it.

"We will need to study the detail and respond in full in due course."

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