Both sides could learn from each other in dispute between Gove and teachers

Richard Garner
Sunday 14 April 2013 22:31

It is perhaps no surprise to find Education Secretary Michael Gove and hundreds of teachers at loggerheads over his proposed national curriculum reforms.

Mr Gove made it plain at the outset that he planned a vigorous concentration on the basics of learning – which his critics say will see schools return to a more traditional era of education akin to the 1950s and stifle creativity in the classroom.

To my mind, it is essential to include both elements in a successful curriculum – a rigid adherence to rote learning is unlikely to spark a love of learning among those who struggle most to succeed, while an absence of knowledge of the building blocks of learning is equally likely to sentence pupils to an unfulfilled future.

Michael Gove has repeatedly stressed that he believes his reforms to the curriculum will give teachers more free time to devote to what they want to teach their pupils. His Department for Education has said it is reforming the system to promote deeper cognitive skills which depend on solid foundations.

He has, though, failed to convince many teachers that this is the case.

If he can – perhaps by spelling out in more detail what his new vision of the curriculum will mean to a subject in a given week – then the future for the curriculum will not be as bleak as some of his sternest critics believe.

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