About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure (using font only to enable access in settings with poor internet)

Friday, 8 February 2013

UK curriculum to be 'slimmed down'

I was reading of how the UK primary and secondary curricula in the state sector are to be 'slimmed down'. I found this quite alarming reading! There has been quite considerable debate recently regarding the best way to provide a good, broad education to all, and this has involved consideration of changing the format of examinations, putting more or less emphasis on course work etc. My concern is that through generally seeking to provide all things to all people, there is regression to the mean, and excellence and individuality may become stifled. I am also often startled by how little people seem to question. Some of my friends seem to accept that if the government makes a proposal, it must be based on good evidence and be in the best interests of their child. Others seem to delegate all responsibility to the schools, and think that if you can get your child in to a 'good' school then that is all that is needed.

These curricula have to be followed by state schools that are not academies. Maybe these are not the type of schools that some of my friends and relatives would accept as 'good', but they are attended by the majority of UK children. The new guidelines seem prescriptive, and from what I have read, are becoming more so. I was slightly alarmed by what seem to be conflicting aims and methods. For example, 'Another aim is "to develop their [children's] love of literature through reading for enjoyment" and to help them "appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage".', but at the same time, there curriculum is becoming more prescriptive regarding what is considered 'essential knowledge' and seems (from my understanding) to be trying to reduce some of this to lists of facts and figures which should be memorised. For example, 'The youngest children, as today, will be taught about key historical figures and from seven, youngsters will be expected to learn a detailed chronological history of Britain, from the Stone Age through to the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In geography, there will be a focus on using maps and learning key geographical features - from capital cities to the world's great rivers.' Of course I may be misjudging and misinterpreting what is proposed to actually take place within classrooms, or the individual flexibility of teachers to make these subjects 'come alive', but to me this was depressing reading.

Once more I have been grateful that we plan on a more interactive style of learning, for example learning important history and geography through biographies and field trips rather than memorisation of lists of dates or world capitals which is what seems to be proposed by the government.

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