Polices regarding the National Curriculum with rational for further enquiry The Risking speech delivered by James Callaghan was the catalyst for the great debate concerning education, influencing the development of the National Curriculum immensely (Layton, 1980). The Education Reform Act was a landmark movement during 1988, House of Commons (2003: 304) outlines it consists of a “number of core and eligible subject to be studied by all students”, allocating the amount of time each subject should be studied for, providing the foundations of the education system as e know It today.
This essay shall critique social, political and educational Issues, providing academic justification. The findings will then be analyses during work placement to develop an individual and first person understanding of the prescribed curriculum, the issues associated with it, outlining advantages and disadvantages evident concerning how the system hinders both pupils and teachers performance. The Risking speech occurred after the international economic crisis, defining the need for more practical graduates to be produced by schools (Hill, 2001).
Green (2003) suggests this changed the nature of education dramatically from the child centered approach influence by Plato and Rousseau to a curriculum focusing on innumeracy and literacy (Missouri, 2005). Conversely this is viewed as the beginning of centralized education which focuses on meeting the needs of the economy. The previous labor government continued this approach, although it is now under review by the coalition. Although this notion Is still present within today’s society, this Is reinforced by the Increasing numbers of “work based enrichment days and foundation courses available (Missouri, 2005).
Margaret Thatcher’s government introduced the 1988 curriculum across England and Wales. Colby (2000: 57) conveys that many viewed this “as an attempt to re-impose a traditionalist curriculum”, due to the clear right wings views held by the government at this time. The conservative government were content on instilling the concept of British nationhood, alluding to a sense of civil unity and national Identity, as well discouraging ethic Identity (Bass, 2010). Although It Is denied to date, Thatcher also outlined the belief that “There Is no such thing as society, there are only individuals” (Addax, 2001 : 27).
Consequently by introducing the curriculum Thatcher has contradicted her own values and beliefs. As Hollies (2009) outlines the curriculum provides identity as individuals are working together, studying the same scheme of work, and ultimately promoting cohesion throughout all races. Although Thatcher’s views have been abolished within today’s society with the notion of “A Big Society’ being Introduced by the current coalition government, although the main aspects of the National Curriculum still remain.
The National Curriculum today applies to pupils of compulsory school aged 5-16. It is organized into four key stages providing work which challenges and assesses children placed within this key stage (Department for education, 2011). The aim of the curriculum is to “ensure that teaching and learning is balanced and consistent”, for each subject there Is a prescribed program of study (Direct Gob, 2011). The programmer of study develop during each key stage. Schools have some discretion over when to start teaching the key stage programmer of study as the law states that the programmer should be taught during the key stage and not at a specific time” (QUA, 1999, pop. The House of Commons (2008, 1 1 1) summarizes that assessments focus on core subjects such as Math’s, English and Science as these are seen as “necessary to access the broader curriculum and for success in further study or work”. Since the Risking speech all schools are aiming to introduce provisions of standardization, centralization, and vasoconstriction of education.
Missouri (2005) argues the concept of centralized testing has damaged both the esteem of pupils and teachers alike. The focus has now turned to the passing of exams, placing strain on pupils who see no pop if they are unable to conform and obtain the results needed to progress in life. This is reinforced by Williston (2009: 256) stating that we are over related on test, “Increasing pressure on the schools relating to them being held accountable for their students’ performance”.
As well as this the competition between schools highlighted in league tables has consequently influenced a narrowing of the curriculum as teachers main focus is teaching for exams (Start, 2009). Green and Dates (2009) articulate that assessment involves negative responses for those who are unable to achieve damaging the entire curriculum, alternative forms of assessment must be provided to combat this growing problem. One of the areas that I am going to critique is the prescribed curriculum, as this restricts teachers concerning how they are able to teach the National Curriculum.
When the curriculum was firstly introduced, Godson (1966) articulated that the House of Commons stated it would “Provide Scope for imaginative approaches”, although this has not occurred leading to professionalism corroding as control over the curriculum has been given to the state. Practical based learning opportunities are minimal, Layton (2002) expresses that pedagogy is returning to teaching by rote and passive learning instead of learning by interaction.
Fragments of the National Curriculum have been described as “vague” and similarities between topics has led to important teaching time being lost (McCullough et al: 2000). Furthermore the topics which have been highlighted above and will be investigated within the corresponding report are: ; Presided curriculum ; Teaching for exams ; Narrowing of curriculum ; Effects of the competition of schools league tables In order to collate up to date information regarding the above topics I am going to interview several teachers during my work placement in Holy Family High school.
As I believe that there years of experience and in depth varied knowledge of the curriculum will provide me with up to date and relevant evidence to explore my chosen topic. I will be focusing on an array of curriculum subjects based around key stage three and four, as the problems regarding the curriculum are present within all subject areas and not Just my area of study, physical education. The House of Commons (2008) set out plans to reduce the amount of guidance and materials offered to schools. Declaring that schools should be free to use their own professional verdict about how they teach, without unnecessary instruction.
Although therefore I will also be asking the teachers I interview their views on the coalitions proposed plans outlined within the white paper. Questionnaires will also be handed out to students to providing an insight into how they view the curriculum and whether it meets their educational needs. Lastly Journal articles such as improving caching and learning constructed by the teaching and learning research program will be scrutinized to outline disadvantages regarding the curriculum and help to develop solutions to these problems.