15 Jul 2007


Interesting reading....follow the link at the bottom

The Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, last week announced a raft of proposals for the country's beleaguered schools.The spin was classic New Labour: for teachers, "greater flexibility" in the classroom; for parents, more focus on the basics; for the country, sickened by targets from the cradle to the grave, "no more clutter". And for New Labour's "fix" of excitement and modernity, there are to be new subjects (such as personal finance and Urdu) and a pledge to make teaching more "relevant".The Balls hype began almost a week ago and the formal announcement finally followed, of a new national curriculum. The curriculum quango's head repeated the promise of greater "flexibility".But his message, like that of his political boss, was mixed: there will be fresh demands on what is taught and how - whether it is "the Battle of the Nile or taking out a mortgage" - and there will be more dumbing down.New Labour's nationalisation of the classroom is moving into overdrive. Not only will the heads have to cram new subjects into the tightest of timetables, but their teachers will have to change the old ones.History and geography look set to be politicised to fit in with the Brownite spin and the ideologies of the Left: in geography, there will be an emphasis on world "poverty", climate change and cultural diversity; in history, we'll have the slave trade and the history of Islam as well as the "cultural, social and ethnic diversity" of Britain.The teachers, too, are in for more "assessment", the favoured ideological alternative to written exams for all. The profession may be drowning in paperwork but there will be more. The new plans emphasise "personalised learning" and with it "personalised assessment".And, as if life were not already bad enough for heads and teachers, they will also have to take on board the controversial "diploma" system, with phoney subjects dreamed up by educationalists......

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