The current curriculum in primary

Summary

The main purpose to this project is to establish whether the current curriculum in primary schools meet the needs of children.

Information within the project has been extracted from secondary sources like the internet, various government body review reports and articles as well as short interviews with primary school pupils.

The introductory section outlines the of the current primary curriculum together with its aims and objectives as well as details of the needs of children.

It also includes that the aims are there to benefit the pupils in various ways and whatever the primary curriculum consists of help children gain their needs. Also, there are statements about how a good primary curriculum may therefore benefit children and how they can positively affect their learning experience and personal development.

The research review contains all the information that was collected. It contains why it is most vital and important for pupil's education and recommendations for an ideal primary curriculum.

The discussion section is a more in- depth analysis which argues both bias and non bias points of view of the primary education curriculum. It has been identified that the subject which is mostly weakly taught and is hardly offered any importance such as geography, and explained the true value of its content.

The conclusion includes the summary of arguments which are in light of the original statement of the primary curriculum. Also tells us how and what the effects are of the currently new and improved primary curriculum on children.

Introduction

The needs of a child, in terms of their education and academic progress are basically the main aims and objectives of the primary curriculum. This is because the primary curriculum's aims and objectives are for the best of the child, so therefore fulfilling the needs of children and classifying the needs of children during their primary education are the aims and objectives.

So what is the national primary curriculum? The national primary curriculum was established in England in 1988. Primary school covers school years one to six. This is then broken up into two parts, key stage one and key stage two. Key stage one covers years one and two for children aged four to seven. Key stage two covers years three to six for children aged eight to eleven. Key stage one and two of the primary curriculum are an important element to a child's development. The national curriculum sets out the wide areas and most common subjects that pupils in state schools in England learn.

Educators need to understand that the needs of very young, first year and even nursery children, hold high expectations to become high achieving students in the future.

The main aims of the primary curriculum are to offers pupils opportunities to develop their understanding and knowledge of the world and gain the skills required to flourish in it. Children can experience the excitement of trying new things and learning from their mistakes and recognising their achievements. The aim of the primary curriculum is to develop pupil's confidence which is essential as lifelong learners, which fulfils the needs for them to develop. [1]

There are teachers in English state schools who have to use the national curriculum as a guide or framework, to make sure that they cover important subjects and that they have covered all the essential areas in their lessons. Having a curriculum increases the efficiency of team work with teachers. The primary curriculum consists of the broad areas of what children must learn at different stages at primary school. This would help gain a basic foundation to meet some of the needs. These broad areas include making sure that parents and carers can be confident that their children have learnt core knowledge and skills and have explored a wide range of topics and to prepare them to move up to secondary school. Parents may also have a say in what they think is in the best interest for their children, and the school will be able to take actions accordingly, therefore meeting the needs of children. [9]

Children are most vulnerable from a young age, and will pick things up easily then. It is therefore important that their basic knowledge is clear and accurate and a good amount of workload for the child to be able to absorb. Some aims which the primary curriculum includes is to make sure that educators develop a self awareness of culture and an ethos that plays in children's beliefs, attitudes and expectations.

Having a good ethos of achieving high and having good expectations will encourage children to act civilised and hopefully "make the world a better place to live in". Children will also be able to understand how diverse cultures are expressed through schooling, communication patterns, and child rearing for them.

Another factor or aims is to encourage teachers to work as a team aiming to create an even better curriculum and construct instructions not only that meets the needs of individual children but also different diverse groups of pupils and others, like the parents. It is also important to have a good classroom environment and have a selection of books and other learning materials introducing good interaction between children which should be friendly and barrier proof where teachers should be approachable. Consistent professional development supports developing self awareness, and a basic knowledge and skill in working with a diverse group of pupils. Teachers are one of the most vital tools for children's learning who should be familiar with resources in the local and global communities that can support efforts to meet children's diverse needs. Parents also should be involved in some decision making at school to ensure that programs are more culturally benefiting and can meet the needs of students and families. In terms of language, children are whose first language which is not English are to be supported in use of their home mother tongue language while learning English. The curriculum supports respects and values the diversity in the classroom and in the local global communities.

So in order to try and achieve these goal are some "action plans" to some more aims where the school community can take the following steps to implement an effective early childhood that takes into the account of the needs of young diverse children.

Regularly reviewing the school and district policies and developing good policies.

Continuing updating the review will prove efficient and most useful and benefiting for all stakeholders of the school.

Providing adequate staffing and assistance who are trained in languages other than English, and who are comfortable working with a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. It would also be very beneficial if especially early childhood educators get formal training in child development, children with special needs and language acquisitions will meet the many needs in diverse classrooms will boost the confidence not only for the children, but also the teachers, making learning a good experience in primary school for the pupils before they enter into secondary school. It would be important to value fostering the second language development in young children, and it would benefit as it's their age where they grasp concepts more easily.

Children should understand the importance of valuing cultural diversity which will allow them to become comfortable with adapting to different people from different backgrounds easily in the future, and respecting them and t heir beliefs.

Setting a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the classroom will automatically give children a feeling of safety.

Strategies for disabled children into preschool and elementary school must also make some development where the same level of attention and help as any other child at primary school and they have the same right as any other child to achieve high and aim for the best.

It would be important to develop strategies to involve educating language to minority children, who are strictly speaking one language at home. It would also be useful if schools were to pursue or develop local guidelines to enable students to learn English while competing to preserve promote and share the home of languages of children.

Finally, an action taken to achieve a high standard primary curriculum would be to search for cultural organizations and community agencies which help to serve in educational systems. Parents have the most regard for the children before the school, and so therefore should be made aware that they would be first informed if any issues were to arise. Parents have the child's best interest at heart and therefore should be one hundred percent and fully aware of the child's progress at school (and possibly at home) so they can co-operate to give the child the best sort of needs. [7]

Research review

The education young children receive during their early years, and especially throughout the primary years are decisive for various reasons. Through research study, it is discovered that the first three years of a child's life are most critical, where the emotional and intellectual development needs thrive. Seventy percent of the brains growth is completed during these early years. The power to influence is not very strong thereafter. The effects will only start to show after year three or four in primary school. [2]

The independent review of the primary curriculum report was asked to be carried out by Sir Jim Rose. What the children have been offered must enable them to enjoy this unique stage of childhood, inspire learning and develop the knowledge, skills and understanding which are the building blocks for secondary school and later life. [3]

Primary education is a good stepping stone towards secondary school. Children must have a good phase at primary school and enjoy a unique performance. The curriculum must support the understanding of the needs for children but could also look in ways in which children learn and how they are affected physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, culturally, morally and spiritually. Children must also learn how to study effectively, not only covering material. It must be recognized that continuous importance of subjects and vital knowledge, skills and understanding they represent. Another advantage is that it helps provide a stronger focus on curriculum progression. It strengthens the focus on ensuring that by the age of seven, children have a secure grasps of the literacy and numerical skills which they need to make good progression thereafter. It helps strengthen teaching and learning of ICT skills and enable children to become independent and confident users by the end of their primary education. It will permit to build stronger lines between key stage one, two and three. Learning different languages for seven to eleven year old with create a great platform for secondary school and beyond. Through a more integrated and simple framework for schools, will provide greater personal development.

The primary curriculum has recommendations that the final primary education report gives which is organised in six areas of learning, understanding English communication and language, mathematical understanding, scientific and technological understanding, understanding physical development like health and well being, understanding the arts and more involvement parents and contact with teachers.

Some recommendations have been advocated that children have review sessions at school regularly imposing some sort of discipline. This will improve managing and timing for teachers. The curriculum must be organised as it would be structured in the six different areas mentioned above. It will also provide language guidance to the curriculum for parents so they can best support their children in learning at home. The new core subject for primary curriculum should focus on numeracy, literacy and ICT. Speaking and communication should develop with all subjects and should therefore capitalize on powerful contributions of performing and visual arts, especially role play and drama. This will immensely increase confidence in pupils and they will be able to make any decisions they may have to face in the future with the correct knowledge and developed understanding. [4]

An interim report is work in progress rather than the last word on its proposal. The report seeks to clarify issues, examine options and set some direction for fulfilling the remit of the review. The purpose of the review is to put forward recommendations for what pupils should learn in a curriculum that is as good as it can be made, taking in consideration about how learning is advanced in our leading aged schools through high quality teaching. The review has made more progress on some areas of responsibility than others an area, which was expected of. An example of this is the modern languages, and transition from early years to key stage one. This includes provision for summer-born children, which is further forward that on the design of the curriculum, which will be developed intensively in the future.

The final report builds on the interim report and has more detailed evidence to make recommendations on addressing the issues outlined on the remit of this review. As stated in the interim report, the first recommendation is that a national curriculum should be retained as an entitlement for children. The second recommendation is that the re-active responses to curriculum review should become pro active strategy where the statutory curriculum are reviewed at agreed intervals as a whole, rather than separate phases reviewed out of sequence. This would build up discipline for schools on the process of reviewing and they would be assured of a period of stability in which to achieve the agreed curriculum targets. The first two recommendations were to do with the actual national curriculum and the review.

The following four recommendations are to do with the actual design and content of the curriculum. So the third recommendation is that the curriculum should be underpinned by a statement of aims and values which will benefit for all stages of the statutory education. The fourth recommendation would be to give examples of both witnessed by the review to neither discrete subject teaching nor cross-curricular studies from primary schools. Primary schools should protect time when learning is best served by teaching subject content well and systematically and give children ample opportunities to use and apply their developing subject knowledge, skills and understanding in cross-curricular studies. The fifth recommendation is that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) should work with relevant leading authorities, such as organizations like the Royal Society and heads and teachers to validate essential knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes in each of the six proposed areas of learning and organize them to be manageable and achievable programs for learning. The sixth and final recommendation under the curriculum design and content section is to investigate whether it would helps schools if the new primary curriculum were set out in three, two year phases, for the purpose of planning for continuity and progression.

The next set of recommendations is to do with numeracy, literacy and ICT skills. So continuing from the recommendations as a whole, the seventh recommendation is that primary schools must continue to give some importance to numeracy and literacy, while carefully and seriously considering developing spoken language intensively as in its own right and vital for the development of reading and writing. Attention should be given to building their vocabulary which is an important priority to each subject and area of learning. In addition to realising the potential of visual and performing arts, especially of role play and drama, for young children's development in languages. The eighth recommendation is to review whether the aspects of the key stage three curriculum's for ICT would be more approximately taught during key sage two periods, and to make sure that by the end of key stage two, children should select and apply ICT to advance their learning across the whole curriculum.

The following ninth recommendation is to do with the personal development. It is recommended that strength is provided in consultation with representative groups, and they should build a framework based on the successful programs for the personal skills and attitudes that all children should develop throughout their schooling. It should exemplify how these skills and attitudes can be fostered across the curriculum. Likewise, there should be equal understanding and attitudes for personal, social and health education, along with physical education, provisionally entitled 'Understanding physical health and well-being'. Here is a quote of the personal development required remit.

"Alongside essential knowledge, skills and understanding, personal development should be a central aspect of the primary curriculum ... Your review of the primary curriculum should consider how to develop a more integrated and simpler framework for the personal skills which all pupils should develop through their schooling."

There are further recommendations under a major section to do with language. The skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes that pupils need to acquire in languages should be situated within the proposed area of learning entitled 'English, communication and languages'. This will enable teachers and pupils to exploit the links between English and the chosen language(s). This is a potential, for example, of role play and drama for young children learning a modern language. Another recommendation is that schools should focus on teaching only one or two languages. Schools should be able to freely choose the language(s) that they wish to teach. Likewise, as far as possible the languages offered should be those which children will be taught in Key Stage 3. [5]

Discussion

Here are some arguments made for and against the national primary curriculum and its successes and improvements.

The society strongly supports the main aim of a national curriculum that can support young people's academic achievement and their aspirations and bright and positive commitments towards citizenship and their place in the world or work, not least their enjoyment of and curiosity about their world around them. A key element of such a curriculum is the best knowledge, specific skills, discipline based analysis and progression in learning that is provided through a clear commitment to the 'subject'. There has been an increase of good emphasis in teaching and the learning of a subject. It is deeply explored; giving pupils a more in depth understanding of each topic in each subject they learn.

As children study the subject of geography, it explains where places are, and how landscapes are formed, how people and the environment interact, how our natural environment is changing and how economies, societies and environments are connected through processes such as globalization and sustainable development. These are the subjects and topics will help the young of today live in a more civilised manner and enable them to make more better and efficient decisions for the world than in the past.

The enthusiasm and expertise of the subject specialist teaching benefits both the teachers and pupils. The department for Education and Skills (as it was then) said:

"Our very best teachers are those who have a real passion and enthusiasm for the subject they teach. They are also deeply committed to the learning of their students and use their enthusiasm for their subject to motivate them, to bring their subject alive and make learning an exciting, vivid and enjoyable experience." (DfES, June 2003)

This shows us that the curriculum has developed since 2003 and has improved very quickly and efficiently. The stress of teaching a subject very much in depth and concentration proves to be most helpful for the pupil, not only in the short term, but the long term too.

There are a number of proposals which if implemented by the schools in a poorly planned way; it may limit pupils' access to key areas of knowledge, understanding and skills. For example, the new Key stage three has been made by some schools as an opportunity for dropping subject in their curriculum.

The Rose review of the primary curriculum also appears to be considering cutting down subjects. The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families has asked Sir Jim to consider if 'pupils interests may be better served by studying fewer subjects during the primary education' (letter Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to Sir Jim Rose, 9 January 2008). Ofsted had reported low level teachings of the geography subject in primary schools. Such 'integration' would further dilute the opportunities for children to become curious about and engaged with the world around them. It is extremely important to know about the environment as it has been affected drastically over the last ten years because of the human society.

Pupils experiences of the national curriculum show that pupils request a breadth and range of subjects and courses on offer. Pupils do, however, perceive 'tested' subjects as the most highly important and very relevant in terms of 'getting a good job. It is also recognized that there may also be important differences across types of pupils in their attitude to curriculum subjects. In a Northern Ireland, 'low-engaged' pupils expressed concern about the academic subjects as over represented and this seemed to lead towards the withdrawal. If students are to study too many subjects, and if they have to know a lot in depth and in detail, it would frustrate them, as they may think that they have to know nearly everything. This can cause breakdowns and unnecessary troubles that could affect the work rate of the child in the long term, for example when they go to do their GCSE's or A Levels.

The curriculum must change to the correct circumstance if necessary. Subject's which are on offer are ones like climate change and globalization. This are issues that are affecting the world today, therefore it would be useful and appropriate to know about this in more detail. The underlying principles and concepts are represented. Treating contemporary topics in isolation, without a grounding in the historical and geographical context and understanding of key principles, would provide a limited educational experience. Therefore, to open up the gates, more subjects taught in more depth and breadth would be most applicable. This is one of the down falls to the national curriculum. The main national curriculum subjects cannot remain unforceful. Young people for the world they will live in and the curriculum must be responsive to changes in society, the nature of work and the impact of technology. As well as building on the best of the curriculum, it must face contemporary challenges such as sustainability and globalization. Changes made to geography in the curriculum have helped to do that and reflect the thriving academic background of geography. It is a very relevant topic and must be fully understood and by everyone especially the growing young. From climate change to migration, from neighbourhood diversity to flooding, all these topic areas will have a large effect on the younger people the most.

Geography provides an excellent medium to enhance the wider curriculum. Geography is well placed to make a major involvement to the current curriculum's importance of literacy, numeracy, ICT and citizenship. With respect to citizenship, geography has a vital role to play, as David Bell (then Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools) identified in his Roscoe Lecture: "...a partnership between geography and citizenship... will energise the former and give substance to the latter. The Key Stage 3 curriculum requires that pupils know about the world as a global community and the role of international organisations. By the end of Key Stage 4 they should understand the challenges of global interdependence and responsibility, sustainable development and Agenda 21." (David Bell, 2005). [6]

A recent report has an argument against the improvement of the primary curriculum. "A narrowing of the curriculum has led to a decrease in the quality of English primary schooling, says a report." This is more focused on the subject of English, rather than the other subjects for example, Geography or Languages.

"High stakes" testing of pupils has led to a system "focused on literacy and numeracy at the expense of the broader curriculum", it suggests. There may be an urge to make sure that the curriculum not only excels in a small number of subjects, but a wide variety.

The government has defended its policies and denies that children are over-tested at school. Schools are doing the best they can for their pupils to achieve their best therefore, may push students to achieve their goals. Teachers' representatives say the government must address these issues and the way it evaluates schools. Addressing to higher authority may give good regard and problems and issues may be solves quicker.

However, a positive point has risen and come out from this issue. It said: "the evidence on the impact of the various initiatives on standards of pupil attainment is at best equivocal and at worst negative. This is a good point and down fall at the same time as far as the primary curriculum is involved. "While test scores have risen since the mid 1990s, this has been achieved at the expense of children's entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum and by the diversion of considerable teaching time to test preparation." Their report found "some" improvements in standards achieved by many pupils in primary schools. However, it found "a decrease in the overall quality of primary education experienced by pupils because of the narrowing of the curriculum and the intensity of test preparation". This amounted to a curriculum dominated by literacy and numeracy. Schools should be persistent with all their subjects they teach and regard them all just as important. [10]

Conclusion

This study has lead to qualify in supporting that the curriculum has the primary curriculum has dramatically improved in the previous years than it has about ten to twenty years ago, and has met most of the aims and objectives, achieving the needs of children in primary school. This is due to the help of teachers, governing bodies and support from parents of pupils who have given their insight and interest to help the standards of teaching for the benefit of their own children.

Children would have gained a strong foundation when continuing at secondary school. They will be able to go into secondary school knowing they have a solid foundation that then can excel in their learning.

The primary curriculum's main aim and focus is for the benefit of children and how their learning should be firm and solid before continuing their future studies. The primary curriculum is expected to have a good effect on pupils. Here are some predictions for primary schools from September 2011. Mainly, the primary curriculum covers the broad areas of what children must learn at different stages at primary school. This means that parents and carers can be confident that children have learnt core knowledge and skills and have explored a wide range of topics, to prepare them to move up to secondary school. [8]

Many teachers have been trying their hardest, and primary school results now reflect this issue. Now, around three-quarters of children leave primary school having achieved the right standard - or better - in English and Maths and the highest possible scores. This can be compared to around half achieving that standard 10 years ago. This adds up to about 120,000 more children a year who are fluent in reading, writing, communicating and working with numbers. In 2008 the Government set up a review of the primary curriculum led by Sir Jim Rose, a distinguished education expert. The review listened to the views of teachers, parents and the public, and the team had help and advice from many other experts and specialists. The purpose of the review was to make sure that what is taught in schools remains excellent, is based on the latest expert knowledge about how children learn, and is kept up to date in a changing world. The review set out plans to change the curriculum. The public is being asked for views on the detail, and MPs will have to approve the plans by changing the law. If the plans are agreed, there will be a new National Curriculum in primary schools from September 2011. A new curriculum has already been introduced for secondary schools.

The new curriculum in primary schools will affect the framework and underlying set of ideas for how your child is taught and delivered the best if they are at primary school from 2011. The child's school will put these changes into place. The primary curriculum is being updated to meet more future needs explored by the review. An independent expert has recommended these changes, and the public, teachers and experts are being consulted on the final details. There will be an even stronger focus on English, maths and ICT (information and communication technology). This may include more emphasis on encouraging children to develop their spoken English well and to apply maths in everyday situations, like counting and measuring. This may not seems to useless then, but will prove itself useful in the near future. There will also be a greater focus on schools encouraging personal development. This includes giving advice to help children grow up happy and healthy, also emphasizing the developing of children's confidence, enhancing their ability to learn, and helping them to grow up to become responsible adults. [9]

Bibliography

  1. http://www.qcda.gov.uk/13584.aspx
  2. http://www.growingchild.com/brain.html
  3. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/primarycurriculumreview/
  4. http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/Primary_curriculum_Report.pdf
  5. http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/IPRC_Report.pdf
  6. http://www.rgs.org/NR/rdonlyres/F5FFC455-2A69-4C14-825B-0AB927BE86CA/0/RGSIBGMemorandumCurriculuminquiry140308 FINAL.pdf
  7. http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/earlycld/ea400.htm
  8. http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=productdetails&PageMode=publications&ProductId=DCSF-00519-2009
  9. http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/00519-2009.pdf
  10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7268778.stm

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