Sir Jim Rose finished his review of the primary curriculum and while I’ve yet to read the whole document I have taken a look at the executive summary and recommendations.
The curriculum that primary children are offered must enable them to enjoy this unique stage of childhood, inspire learning and develop the essential knowledge, skills and understanding which are the building blocks for secondary education and later life.
To achieve this, the new curriculum must be underpinned by an understanding of the distinct but interlocking ways in which children learn and develop – physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, culturally, morally and spiritually – between the ages of 5 and 11.
Key features of a new primary curriculum
- recognise the continuing importance of subjects and the essential knowledge, skills and understanding they represent.
- provide a stronger focus on curriculum progression.
- strengthen the focus on ensuring, that by the age of 7, children have a secure grasp of the literacy and numeracy skills they need to make good progress thereafter.
- strengthen the teaching and learning of information and communication technology (ICT) to enable children to be independent and confident users of technology by the end of primary education.
- provide a greater emphasis on personal development through a more integrated and simpler framework for schools.
- build stronger links between the EYFS and Key Stage 1, and between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
offer exciting opportunities for learning languages for 7–11-yearolds.
What is set out in the draft programmes of learning represents a national entitlement with full scope for teachers to shape how it is taught and to supplement it.
Subjects and cross curricular learning
There are times when it is right to marshal content from different subjects into well-planned, cross-curricular studies. This is not only because it helps children to better understand ideas about such important matters as citizenship, sustainable development, financial capability and health and wellbeing, but also because it provides opportunities across the curriculum for them to use and apply what they have learned from the discrete teaching of subjects.
Six areas of learning
- Understanding English, communication and languages
- Mathematical understanding
- Scientific and technological understanding
- Historical, geographical and social understanding
- Understanding physical development, health and wellbeing
- Understanding the arts.
Children thrive best when parenting, the curriculum and pedagogy are all of high quality. In other words, children benefit most when their home lives and school lives establish similar values and expectations for their learning, behaviour and wellbeing. Much has been achieved in recent years to ensure that parents are fully informed about and seriously involved in many aspects of school life.
(i) The QCA, in consultation with representative groups, should exemplify and promote the range of learning envisioned in the new framework for personal development with the firm intention of helping schools to plan for balanced coverage and avoid piecemeal treatment of this central aspect of the curriculum.
(ii) Personal development together with literacy, numeracy and ICT constitute the essentials for learning and life. The DCSF should work with the QCA to find appropriate and innovative ways of assessing pupils’ progress in this area.
With their local authorities, primary and secondary schools should agree a joint policy for bridging children’s transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3. Five interdependent transition bridges are suggested for this purpose: administrative; social and personal; curriculum; pedagogy; and autonomy and managing learning. This should involve extended studies across Year 6 and Year 7, and draw upon the support of personal tutors.