On Friday 25th January I took part in a conference for a pyramid of Wakefield schools. What follows are a few of my thoughts linked to the keynote presentation.
The first thing that strikes me is the influential role of some of the independent educational consultancies in shaping the direction that primary schools take when reviewing their curriculum. In this case our conference was led by a well regarded keynote speaker from a prominent commercial education consultancy. I heard some conflicting messages.
Some were excellent, i.e. we need to provide `hooks’ at the beginning of a new (topic/ unit/ theme/ project) to ensure children engage with the learning; use questions to focus learning; engage with the local area; help children to make connections about their learning experiences so that they are joined up and make sense in their minds; provide opportunities for pupils to share `what they know’, e.g. through making a video to show to other children in the school.
While others messages appeared muddled, i.e. the synonymous use of literacy/ English and numeracy/ mathematics; the use of sub-grades in subjects such as geography (what exactly does a 5c look like?) and very definitely the Primary School Year 3 planning for geography, `How will Global Warming change my life?’
[I want to return to two of these areas, i.e. the ones that relate to assessment in geography and to Global Warming in a later entry.]
So, do the solutions to the primary curriculum lie with the published advice and guidance that commercial educational organisations provide or do the solutions lie with teachers in the classroom who know their pupils and want to provide a curriculum that starts with the child and takes into account the needs of the child and the community in which the child grows up?