Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Moving The Goalposts


Michael Gove has announced the following…

  • children as young as five to memorise and recite poetry
  • a new focus on spelling and grammar
  • compulsory learning of foreign language from age seven [which could be Mandarin, Latin, Greek, French, German or Spanish]
  • learning times tables [and nine year olds to know their 12x]
  • number bonds up to twenty learned by the age of seven
  • In science, there will be content added on the "solar system, speed and evolution", with an "increased focus on practical scientific experiments and demonstrations”
  • lives of famous scientists, such as Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton, will also be studied
  • plus a continuing requirement for art and design, design and technology, geography, history, ICT, music and physical education.
  • and a major change proposed for how achievement is measured - with plans to remove the current system of levels

And all that has been announced this week!

How are teachers meant to keep up with all this?


  1. I give up! How about dealing with the basic 3 R's learned thoroughly and then add the frills -- oh I forgot, that's what we used to do. After 40 years of teaching all levels and a variety of subjects, I'm telling you, a thorough grounding in the basics makes the other stuff come so much more easily and therefore more fun. But then again, Dad rarely brings home a paycheck for having fun.

  2. I agree with most of it tbh. What worrys me is weather the children will "learn" or just parrot certain things. I could probably teach my DD some poetry to memorise now, she currently knows incy wincy spider, happy birthday and twinkle twinkle little star. But would she understand what she was saying and would it have meaning?
    x x x

  3. That's how I remember being taught. It seems as though we have been through a stage of dumbing down and have realised it doesn't work.
    Jane x

  4. Some of this is quite good, although I hope the poems for the 5 year olds are fun rather than formal. The earlier children learn another language the better. My eldest grandson now aged 6, who lived in Germany for 4 years, could speak excellent German when he returned to the UK and his Leicester cousin aged 4 has a little French and Mauritian Creole in addition to his English. Spelling and grammar standards generally are appalling, especially the use or mis-use of the apostrophe, so improvements in standards there are a welcome move.

    However, I share your concerns that teachers, along with many others in the public sector professions, are expected to cope with constantly moving goalposts and methods of measuring outcomes. It's the same in the NHS.

    I also hope that the needs of less academic children will be addressed more sucessfully than in the past.

    Ann Johnston

  5. This is one of the reasons I was glad to get out of mainstream education...once more teachers are being given more and more to fit into an already crowded curriculum! And wasn't it not long ago that secondary aged children didn't have to learn a foreign language? Now primary kids are to learn!! (Mind you I don't think it
    's necessarily abad idea...)

  6. There have always been major changes in education. It never seems to be left alone. Once one system is introduced and installed then another one comes to take its place. In all my teaching career we seemed to spend an awful lot of time just changing things and rewriting schemes and policies. I agree with ChrisJ - stick to the basics and then add the frills. It's hardly rocket science - children need to learn to read, write and be numerate. Work hard on the basics in the morning then be creative in the afternoons.
    Love from Mum

  7. It does sound ambitious but I like many parts of it. And I think it's good for children to learn poetry whether they understand it or not - at some point in their life it will "click", and their minds will be ready stocked with beautiful words and phrases. (The same applies to Scripture memorization.)


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