Tag Archives: Skills

Blog of the Week: 21 September 2018 – HMCI commentary: curriculum and the new education inspection framework

What do we understand to be the real substance of education?

That was the question I posed nearly a year ago, in a commentary on the initial findings of our research into the primary and secondary school curriculum. I argued that the vast, accumulated wealth of human knowledge, and what we choose to pass on to the next generation through teaching in our schools (the curriculum), must be at the heart of education.

The research underpinning that commentary showed that there was a dearth of understanding about the curriculum in some schools. Too many teachers and leaders have not been trained to think deeply about what they want their pupils to learn and how they are going to teach it. We saw curriculum narrowing, especially in upper key stage 2, with lessons disproportionately focused on English and mathematics. Sometimes, this manifested as intensive, even obsessive, test preparation for key stage 2 SATs that in some cases started at Christmas in Year 6. Some secondary schools were significantly shortening key stage 3 in order to start GCSEs. This approach results in the range of subjects that pupils study narrowing at an early stage and means that they might drop art, history or music, for instance, at age 12 or 13. At the same time, the assessment objectives from GCSE specifications were being tracked back to as early as Year 7, meaning many pupils spend their secondary education learning narrowed and shallow…

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Blog of the Week: 20 April 2018 – Knowledge in the classroom

Teaching it Real

knowledge_quote

When I joined in with twitter’s educational world a couple of years ago I was struck by how much discussion there was on the role of knowledge in the curriculum. We were still feeling the reverberations of Gove’s reforms to the national curriculum and the new GCSEs were being prepared ready for teaching. Whilst there were many voices saying that they welcomed this move to a more rigorous and knowledge focused curriculum there were many dissenting voices.

Their arguments tended to fall into a few broad and overlapping points.

  • It was a backwards step. We had moved beyond this way of looking at education.
  • This form of education wasn’t needed for the 21st century. We needed to focus on the skills that employers wanted. Not knowledge.
  • It was actually harmful and Gradgrindian. Dictating what kids learnt like this was a form of abuse.

What I find interesting is that over…

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