Itís scary. 1988 saw a watershed in Primary School education with the introduction of the National Curriculum. Teaching through topics and the integrated day were condemned. The curriculum cake, divided into subjects, would provide rigour and ensure progression in learning. The icing on this cake was the belief that this approach would raise standards. Well it did, up to a point. Some 10 years later, when the steady increase in the number of eleven year olds reaching their expected levels slowed significantly in Literacy and Mathematics, national strategies for these subjects were launched. Recently, when the impetus weakened, these initiatives underwent a thorough revision resulting in new frameworks for both subjects. Schools are expected to begin using these from September. The scary bit? The Department for Education and Skills announced yesterday that they will undertake a fundamental review of the teaching of mathematics in primary schools!
This is an extended introduction to my title, but it is pertinent. I recently shared with staff and governors a seminal document on education entitled New Horizons - 2020 Vision. Itís a very clever title, implying a sight far enough into the future and with sufficient clarity that will enable us to prepare the children of today for the world of tomorrow. Yes- the children who began school in 2006 will enter higher education or the world of work in 2020!
They will inherit a world that is more socially and ethnically diverse, has greater access to and reliance on technology, with an economy evermore reliant on a well educated and multi-skilled workforce, with complex pathways through education and training, and with a sharper focus on sustainability.
Three of four major strands for realising the new educational vision relate specifically to curriculum matters: (1) higher quality teaching- consistent and within a rich curriculum, (2) pupilsí voice- giving ownership and involving children in curriculum development, (3) parentsí voice- engaging parents across pastoral and curriculum areas. The key words here are consistency, ownership, involving and engaging. That is, schools working with and within their communities to shape a curriculum that is rich, broad and balanced, that meets the needs of all children and the aspirations of parents. It is a vision I share and care about deeply. It sets us on a path along which we are about to take our first steps. Despite the inevitable twists and turns, potholes and dead ends we will encounter along the way, it is one we will travel confidently if it remains fixed beneath our feet. If, as the opening above suggests, it continually shifts below us, we may be in for a rough ride.
We held our School Summer Fair recently and despite the poor weather the Friends of Brightwell School had their hard work rewarded, raising a great deal of money for the school. And, as our Year 6 children prepare to leave us and move on to their respective secondary schools. I want take this opportunity to wish them all the very best for the future.
Finally, we are launching a ĎWalking Busí for the children who come to school by car (from High Road, through Kings Orchard to school each morning at 8.30 a.m. If you have the time and would like to support this initiative by accompanying the children, please contact the school office on 837024.