Azara Blog: Teaching trade unionist wants complete change in teaching

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Date published: 2006/04/11

The BBC says:

The national curriculum should be fundamentally reformed with more focus on skills rather than specific subjects, a teachers' union has said.

Tests for under-16s in England should also go, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers argues.

It wants ministers to give children "entitlements" to broad skills, such as creativity and physical co-ordination, rather than specific knowledge.

The Department for Education said tests provided objective benchmarks.

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said the current system was "not fit for purpose".

Speaking at the union's annual conference in Gateshead, she said "skills" were needed, rather than knowledge on its own. Subjects could be used to "illustrate" them.

Dr Bousted said: "It's important to understand the world we are moving towards, where what people need to know changes very often."

Under the ATL proposal, schools or councils would be able to set their own curriculum content and to replace "artificially divided" subjects.

For example, they would decide what is studied in history, allowing more crossover with other areas such as geography.

Asked whether this meant children would be able to go from the age of five to 16 without studying any British history, Dr Bousted replied that it was "extremely unlikely" but "not impossible".

The ATL's proposals say the national curriculum should be replaced with a "framework of entitlements" ensuring:

Dr Bousted said there could be some role for government, such as ensuring all pupils learnt some British history or Shakespeare, but further debate was needed.

Dear, oh dear, and they said the loony left had disappeared from Britain. The one thing Britain could do with is the sacking of anyone who wants to completely change the entire educational system from top to bottom. And indeed sack all educationalists. And you have to wonder where maths and science fit in this grandiose waffle, but most educationalists are artsies so haven't a clue about maths or science. And most of what students "need to know" does not "change very often". Unless she wants to teach in maths that 2+2=5, or that French is now German, or that most of history is somehow different in 2006 than in 2005.

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