I’m afraid I haven’t had enough time to devote to the recent publication of the interim report from The Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum. This post hopes to remedy this at least in part.
As has been widely reported the report is suggesting trying to develop a more systemic approach to cross curricular learning:
While the current framework should not prevent schools from developing a curriculum that makes the best both of subject studies and cross -curricular studies, this is not achieved often enough. Though by no means a universal response, many primary teachers report that they fi nd it well nigh impossible to concentrate thoroughly on literacy and numeracy and deliver all ten statutory subjects of the National Curriculum, plus religious education (RE) and the joint non-statutory, but soon to become statutory, framework for PSHE and citizenship.
These difficulties are noted in Ofsted’s annual reports which repeatedly tell us that teaching, learning and assessment in the foundation subjects are weaker and lag behind standards in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. This is largely because many teachers struggle to cover the full curriculum. The Review is therefore working to propose a framework which will enable schools and teachers to overcome these difficulties.
They’re helpfully provided a pictoral overview of the framework they’re proposing and as you’ll see personal development and physical health and well-being are crucial parts of the curriculum that is being suggested.
In terms of drugs the report has this to say:
Possibly more than any other aspect of the remit, personal development has been subject to piecemeal treatment. This is borne of disparate elements being added to it as deep societal concerns about such critical matters as drug abuse, obesity, sex and relationships, violent behaviour, ‘e-safety’, financial capability and so forth, press for an educational response in primary schools with children at an ever earlier age. Sadly, society at large, which looks to schools to address these concerns, does not always live up to and exemplify the standards of behaviour that it expects of its children.
They acknowledge the popularity and limitations of SEAL and suggest they’ll look at whether it needs to be extended or modified in their final report.
This interim report goes on to make a two part recommendation which they hope will strengthen the provision for personal development:
(i) Build a framework, based on the successful SEAL programme, for the personal skills and attitudes that all children should develop throughout their schooling. The framework should exemplify how these skills and attitudes can be fostered across the curriculum.
(ii) Set out the essential knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes for personal, social and health education (PSHE) alongside physical education (PE) in an area of learning, provisionally entitled ‘Understanding physical health and well-being’.
The DCSF point out that:
Sir Jim Rose welcomes contributions and comments on the interim report from everyone with an interest in primary education. If you wish to contribute, please use the contact details below to share your views on the interim report by 28 February 2009.
The DCSF YouTube channel has a number of videos of headteachers reacting to the report, perhaps unsurprisingly they’re broadly welcoming. Here’s an example:
You can download this post as a 2 page breifing -Primary Review Briefing [pdf]