A new report has been published today from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority after ministers asked them to review schools’ Key Stage 3 and put forward recommendations ready for consultation. That should make interesting reading.
Apparently the Authority were asked to ‘focus on essentials’ and how to make time for personalised learning. Excuse me for sounding a bit dim, but what would be the point in having a report that focused on the non-essentials?
Among the recommendations in the report: Mandarin and Arabic should be allowed instead of just EU languages; climate change, slavery and healthy cooking should be included in the curriculum, too.
Well, why not? The more languages on offer the better, I say - though I suspect that this won’t actually come to anything. My school wanted to offer kids a greater choice of musical instruments in music lessons, but they received a budget increase that stretched to a couple of triangles and a set of cymbals rather than the full orchestra they’d hoped for.
Teaching about slavery should be a good thing, as long as it’s not reduced to: slavery is bad, don’t do it. (I can see the bit that goes: “We like to pretend that we didn’t, but we did. Take a proper look at our biggest cities, kids” being spun into non-existence).
Similarly with climate change - sample lesson plan: Give your parents a hard time. Make them recycle. Tell them they’ve buggered up your lives; they got to travel all over the world, guilt free. You won’t.
And I can’t help but notice that the Authority were asked to look into how to “make time for” personalised learning. Time for, not facilities for, staff for, incentives for - so is this politicianspeak for, “Recommend we give them more free periods, so we can get them out of school earlier and cut down costs”?
Excuse me for sounding cynical - but, basically, I am.