The Observer reports today that the education experts originally called on by the Department for Education to give advice on its new model for the National Curriculum are in ‘open revolt’ over the plans – and also the way they have been reached.
The Department received thousands of submissions from parents, teachers and academics, as well as an official panel of experts, when it consulted last year on its proposed changes. But it’s been suggested that rather than listening to those concerned voices from the sector, Michael Gove has been taking his lead from an as-yet unnamed group of ‘shadow’ advisers – outside of the official process.
On his blog, Andrew Pollard of the University of London, a member of the original expert panel, sets out his concerns about what he sees as “punitive” and “controlling” changes:
… [primary school teachers] are to be faced by extremely detailed year-on-year specifications in mathematics, science and most of English. This is to be complemented by punitive inspection arrangements and tough new tests at 11. The new curriculum will preserve statutory breadth, we are told but, whilst teaching of a foreign language is to be added, provision for the arts, humanities and physical education is uncertain at this point. The constraining effects on the primary curriculum as a whole are likely to be profound and the preservation of breadth, balance and quality of experience will test even the most committed of teachers.
The children’s author and lecturer Michael Rosen has also spoken out throughout the process.
But, typically, their views have been disregarded. Can anyone spell ‘consultation’ at the DfE? ‘Transparency’ maybe? Apparently not.