As most people in education will now know, the Government have decided that the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum must be shelved. We enter the next phase of government shaped educational ideology which will shape our schools and education system for the next few years. No doubt when this government have run their course we will have new ideological changes heaped upon education as this political football continues to be booted from one end of the ideological pitch to the next.
And yet both recent governments and their predecessors before them have missed the point of education.
In the past education has been a way to control the masses. Coop the masses in factory type buildings and teach them discipline. Our education system believe it or not was built on the principles of the British Army!
The attitude of the "superiors know best" still pervades our education system with young public schooled civil servants remembering what Sir taught them at Harrow and Eton and naively believing that this type of education is right for Salford, Hackney and Handsworth. These messages make it to our high profile education secretaries (many of whom received a similar education) and resonate and become policy. To use a topical cliche, our approach to education is bankrupt!
Instead of asking our kids to memorize facts and information in short term memory stores which last long enough to pass tests but don't stay in our long term memories we should be teaching children how to learn. The value of this approach will last a lifetime and create lifelong independent learners and provide skills for adulthood rather than the current system which creates resentment of education and disillusionment.
Sweller talks about cognitive load theory (http://tip.psychology.org/sweller.html
) and until we understand what the brain is capable of our teaching of curriculum becomes a delivery and pray exercise.
Therefore the upcoming curriculum review of the primary curriculum (coalition version) needs to focus on how children acquire learning before any consideration is given to content.