Teachers criticised for poor knowledge: Primary school pupils given wrong information, inspectors say
The report, which is expected to be published today, identifies teachers' lack of knowledge as one of the main reasons for low standards in some primary schools.
The inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education visited a representative sample of 49 schools to monitor teaching after big changes in primary schools were recommended two years ago. They found standards were satisfactory or better in just under three-quarters of the lessons seen. They also found the national curriculum had raised standards in science and history and helped teachers to plan their work and assess pupils' performance better. Most primary schools were still focusing on literary and numeracy despite claims from heads that time for these is being squeezed.
The report says the 10-subject national curriculum 'has brought to the surface problems acknowledged before but not often tackled'. In some of the poor lessons, teachers did not know what was in the national curriculum. 'In the worst examples incorrect information was given to pupils.'
In most lessons, especially for junior pupils, teachers aimed too much at average children, failing to challenge the able and leaving the slowest floundering.
The report by the 'Three Wise Men', which recommended changes two years ago, was commissioned by Kenneth Clarke, then Secretary of State for Education, and compiled by Professor Robin Alexander of Leeds University, Chris Woodhead, now chief executive of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and Jim Rose, one of Her Majesty's Inspectors.
It suggested more specialist teaching in primary schools, questioned the value of teaching by topic rather than by subject and emphasised the importance of a mixture of methods, including teaching the whole class at once.
The inspectors report that changes are happening, but slowly. Though the vast majority of primary teachers are still class teachers, teaching all subjects, 87 per cent of schools in the survey were using specialists for some subjects and schools were beginning to recognise the need to improve teachers' subject knowledge.
The national curriculum has 'prompted the challenging of certain long-held assumptions, particularly the belief that the generalist class teacher can cope almost unaided with teaching a 10- subject curriculum to adequate depth'. Topic work was still prevalent in all the schools. Only one taught every subject separately. However, many schools were beginning to use topics which focused mainly on one subject. This, the inspectors say, had improved topic work.
Among poor teachers, failure to use a mixture of methods so that children are taught in groups, as individuals and as a class when appropriate, was common.
A good teacher asks questions to challenge pupils, instructs children directly and teaches the whole class, individuals and groups. A poor teacher does no actual teaching, does not set deadlines and uses the same worksheets for all children.
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
Three-year-old boy accidentally shoots dead his mother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as she changes her younger daughter's nappy
Michael Brown shooting: Driver smashes into crowd as protests erupt across the US during a second night of unrest
Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Required skills include SQL querying, SSRS, u...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...
£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...