Immediate Thoughts on Mr Gove’s new Proposed curriculum

Channel 4 have kindly uploaded to you tube Michael Gove’s  9 minute statement to parliament …..

Michael Gove has not got his way on curriculum change in school, or has he? Okay there will not be a single exam board for each subject (but this step down is only due to being told it wouldn’t pass EU regulations on procurement).

There will be linear exams only and internal assessments and exam aids will only be used in extremis  (2 minutes in)

There will be no more higher and foundation tiers (about 2: 50 minutes ) so i am presuming there will be a one paper only for all approach. However it seems the more able will be able to sit ‘extension papers’. does this mean that AG&T students will be sitting longer and more exams than everyone else? (3:12)

There will be new GCSEs in English, Maths, Science ,History and Geography (called the core academic subjects) ready for teaching in 2015. these will bring about a ‘swift and significant rise in standards equipping young people with the knowledge they need”. This sounds ominously like his idea for a return to O’Levels by the backdoor.

He is going to get rid of the measuring schools by how many pupils get 5 A* – C passes (3:55). This, I must say, I completely agree with.It has always greatly irked me that pupils on the C/D borderline got more assistance from their school than those predicted either higher or lower grades. As Michael Gove says this should now mean that “the achievements of all pupils is now recognised equally.” (5:30). However I await to see how his point score system of “how pupils have progressed from KS2 to KS4” (4:46) actually works. Again, this seems to be EBacc by the back door, as it will include “at least 3 of the 4 EBacc subjects” (4:57) So schools will still be making pupils choose certain subjects as a priority, even if 3 other subjects are now included in this new measure.

The new draft National Curriculum for the 21st century (6:02) is out today. Of course, it is too early to respond to this as a whole. All subjects have been retained, which I know is a relief to those who teach Citizenship as a separate subject in their school. also the idea that the statutory national curriculum should only form part of the whole school curriculum may seem somewhat ironic by history teachers when they see the long chronological list of events and people they have to cover. For a subject that currently has equal weighting with Geography in most schools, they now have 3 times as many pages to describe their curriculum.

He has stripped out any mentions of “how to teach” (7:25), yet has instructed teachers on a core of what to teach in each subject (capital cities in geography for instance).

But if you teach in an academy can you ignore all of these core topics and teach what you want anyway?

Also where are the national curriculum levels?


2 thoughts on “Immediate Thoughts on Mr Gove’s new Proposed curriculum

  1. No levels.

    Academies have different legislation but still must be broad and balanced. Note the second footnote about a regulation already in place: ‘all schools’.

    Page 5:
    2. The school curriculum in England
    2.1 Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based (1) and which:
     promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
     prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
    All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage and sex education to pupils in secondary education.

    2.2 Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory National Curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for core and other foundation subjects that should be taught to all pupils. All schools must publish their school curriculum by subject and academic year online. (2)

    2.3 All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education

    1 See Section 78 of the 2002 Education Act: which applies to all maintained schools. Academies are also required to offer a broad and balanced curriculum in accordance with Section 1 of the 2010 Academies Act;

    2 From September 2012, all schools are required to publish information in relation to each academic year, relating to the content of the school’s curriculum for each subject and details about how additional information relating to the curriculum may be obtained:

  2. Since there are now vast numbers of academies, how they relate to the curriculum seems to be lost in all this. If they are not bound to adhere to it, are ‘they’ going to check each and every school’s breadth and balance on an ongoing basis? Is that really a practical thing to be doing? So we then have a curriculum for many schools, and a very loose situation for the rest – how do those very different scenarios marry up?

    My own personal view is a simple one. For the curriculum to cover a broad base to a good depth of competency but to avoid ‘how-to’ teach statements and to give sufficient latitude for teachers to adapt to the specific directions their pupils take to explore each subject.

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