Mike Heal “Education: change for change sake”

As an ex-teacher I worry hugely about what’s happening to our education system.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is launching a review of the curriculum after previously raising concerns that key areas of knowledge are missing from the current curriculum and what he claims is an “overly-prescriptive” system. The review will look at how the curriculum can be slimmed down, to contain only the “essential knowledge” that children should acquire, and leave teachers to decide how to teach it.

Last October, Mr Gove claimed that children are leaving school unable to read and write properly and ignorant of the nation’s history. It was then that he called for an urgent shake-up to prevent the UK from being left behind by other countries.

In 2007 the Labour Government a introduced a series of secondary school curriculum reforms that saw some historical figures such as Winston Churchill no longer singled out. Teaching reforms which allows teachers more flexibility over what they teach.

As the then Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the body responsible at the time argued;  Teachers do not need to be told to mention pivotal figures in history lessons.

The coalition government argues that there should be a core knowledge that pupils should have to take their place as “educated members of society”?

Christine blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said on the bbC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The fact is, we know that children and young people are successful. Some children leave school with qualifications that Michael Gove doesn’t recognise, but the fact is, generally speaking, people are very successful. What we need is a comprehensive, good local school for every child.”

Mr Gove says he wants a curriculum that refrained from telling teachers how to teach, but now he is telling them what to teach in core subjects. He denied he would be coming up with prescriptive lists of names and dates. He told the Today’s programme: “I’m saying that we need to have facts in the curriculum. I want there to be core curriculum content – facts, knowledge. I want teachers to decide what that is. Parents need to know what children are learning, both so they can hold schools to account and so they can play their proper part in helping.”

For all the talk of giving freedom to teachers to teach the coalition Government have shown once again that, they know best and as far as education stands at least, a Top Down approach is Simply the best.

As any parent will tell you, our children are fully aware of our Nation’s History. This is yet another way of this Government using the fear factor. Claiming, failing educational standards as a way of introducing greater curriculum control. The next step will be a greater need for testing?