16 July 2007

Every child shall ... be creative

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority:

QCA is pleased to be launching the new secondary curriculum. The consultation was widely supported by education professionals, parents, employers, industry experts — in fact, anyone with an interest in education. The opportunity to create an exciting and stimulating curriculum that includes classroom activities and out-of-hours learning, as well as a solid foundation in the basic subjects, has been greeted enthusiastically. ["Oh no it hasn't." — "Oh yes it has."]

Our aim has been to increase flexibility. The new curriculum builds on the best of the past by maintaining the discipline of subjects, but at the same time offering greater opportunities for personalised learning, addressing the major challenges that face society and equipping young people with the skills for life and work in the 21st Century. By mixing tradition with a more creative approach to the curriculum, we will achieve our objective of producing successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens.
Andrew Motion (Poet Laureate):
One of the several heartening things about the revised Secondary Curriculum is the way it creates more space and provides more encouragement for pupils to discover the value of contributing to a creative culture of learning. Just as importantly, it spreads the benefits of this approach across all subjects and disciplines. It is a very welcome development.
Professor John Mullan:
Arguing for the changes on Radio 4's Today programme, [the Chief Executive of QCA] revealed a philosophical shift of a different kind. The key thing, he suggested, was to address the "needs of the time". By "needs" he seemed to mean "social ills", for he immediately began talking of obesity among youngsters and the rate of teenage pregnancies. You wondered whether the vaunted "flexibility" was going to be so desirable for the teachers. It sounded as if they would now have to teach not just how to draw a graph or use commas, but how to live. What is a curriculum for? Providing fundamental academic knowledge and skills, you might think, but Dr Boston wants you to think more flexibly. "Instead of teaching the Battle of Malplaquet, you teach them how to cook food".
(Emphasis mine.)

Further to the theme of "every child shall [be offered state-approved goodies]":

  • Every child shall have ... five hours of sport per week, the government has announced.

  • Every child shall have ... one free piece of fruit or vegetable per day — and has had for some time. But it appears the effects so far are minimal, though this conclusion is denied by the government.