Curriculums

Blam! Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger to teach British pupils about money | Business

Dennis the Menace and the Bash Street Kids could soon be teaching primary children how to manage their pocket money, thanks to an educational tie-up involving the Bank of England and Beano comics. A 12-lesson course on financial literacy, called Money and Me, will be introduced to English, Scottish and Welsh school curriculums from July, teaching children between the ages of five and 11 the basics of money and how the economy works. The lessons, a collaboration between the Beano,…

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Calls grow for black history to be taught to all English school pupils | Education

Pressure is mounting on the government to review the national curriculum and make the teaching of black history mandatory for all pupils in schools in England. Campaigners are collecting signatures for an open letter to be sent this week to the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, calling on him to make the teaching of black history compulsory in primary and secondary school and across a range of different subject areas. The campaign, led by a group called the Black Curriculum, has attracted…

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The vision for a national Open School is a good one. The BBC is ready to make it happen | Tony Hall | Education

The Covid-19 crisis has transformed all our lives in ways we could barely have imagined just a few weeks ago. In so many areas, we will be desperate to go back to “normal life” as soon as safely possible. But in others, however, what we have learned in this crisis will – and should – reshape our thinking for ever. Educating the nation’s children is one of those areas. All of us have had to adapt to play our part…

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Like the Open University, we now need an Open School for the whole country | Tim Brighouse and Bob Moon | Education

When the Covid-19 emergency is over, schools will face a monumental task. Children who have been learning at home will need support in making the transition to the “in school” curriculum. The needs of disadvantaged youngsters, who will have fallen even further behind during the closure, will have to be a priority. We cannot just think of the lockdown as a very long holiday with schools able to pick up as if nothing had happened. Many teachers have been displaying…

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Sex education: ‘We can’t let teachers perpetuate a homophobic or transphobic narrative’ | Education

Relationships and sex education (RSE) will be compulsory for all secondary pupils in England from September, and primary schools will also need to teach about relationships. What these courses will contain, however, is left mainly to headteachers and governors, in consultation with parents. The Department for Education has issued guidance for teachers, but does it go far enough? No, say young sex educators, who want the lessons to go beyond the mechanics of condoms on cucumbers to take fuller account…

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Our ideologically driven curriculum fails the test | Letters | Education

No one who knows anything about education – a category that rarely includes government ministers – could disagree with the main thrust of your editorial (The gap between rich and poor pupils is not the only thing wrong with GCSEs, 12 February). In particular, you are right to point out “the inadequacy of a whole mode of thinking about education, according to which anything that cannot be audited can appear virtually without meaning”. However, it is simplistic to imply that…

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Outstanding primary schools fail Ofsted inspections under sudden rule switch | Education

The eight-year-old boy was meeting the Ofsted inspector for the first time. “What do you remember learning in history?” she asked, tapping on her iPad. It was months since his year did the subject but he thought of something: “The Vikings.” And what did he learn about the Vikings? “They invented dragons,” he replied. Under the inspectorate’s new framework, introduced last September, anecdotal evidence of what children say appears to be taking centre stage. The child’s reply about Viking imagery…

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Welsh parents lose opt-out for sex, relationship and religious education | Politics

Parents in Wales will soon lose the right to withdraw their children from lessons on sex and relationships or religion, provoking concern among both church groups and secular campaigners. Kirsty Williams, the Welsh education minister, confirmed the plans – part of the government’s overhaul of relationships and sexuality education (RSE) and religious education – but said they would require “careful and sensitive” implementation after the government’s public consultation revealed strong feelings. Williams said the decision “ensures that all pupils will…

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Schools should brace for five years of upheaval from a triumphant party with Gove at its heart | Melissa Benn | Education

The election campaign is now in a bygone decade but we are still not much clearer about what the Tories have in store for education over the next five years. The relevant section of the Conservative manifesto was, at just 646 words, deliberately vague, and seemed oriented towards perceived Labour policy weaknesses – on Ofsted and discipline – rather than on any real plans for education. Not a word on the future use of the pupil premium, nor the burden…

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British girls have finally made the global top table … for fear of failure. How terrifying | Laura McInerney | Education

Last year, in randomly selected school halls across the country, Britain pitted its 15-year-olds in an academic competition of wits against children from 79 other countries. The Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests have taken place across the globe every three years since 2000, and a country’s score is often used to boast about its smartness (or otherwise). The results this year showed the United Kingdom has finally made it into the top five. But our standout statistic isn’t…

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Tate and Steve McQueen call for ‘arts-rich’ school curriculum | Education

Access to the visual arts will be a preserve of privately educated children unless the government takes urgent action to improve the school curriculum, the director of Tate, Maria Balshaw, and the artist Steve McQueen have warned. Tate has joined forces with McQueen and 35 museums and galleries across the country to complain that the curriculum in England is failing children. They are calling for an “arts-rich curriculum” as a “lasting legacy” for McQueen’s hugely popular school photo project which…

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Populism has no place in education – so stop bashing Germans and private schools | Laura McInerney | Education

We live in complicated times. Prorogations. Constitutional crises. It is not surprising, therefore, that the government wants to talk to the public about simple things that “make sense”. Unfortunately, the education policies of the two main(ish) political parties may be feeding the anxious political climate. Take the battle cry of the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, who has set a target that vocational education in Britain will “overtake Germany” in the next decade. It is not clear what he means, but…

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Where will our working-class playwrights come from, now the arts have been sidelined? | Selina Todd | Education

The playwright Shelagh Delaney shot to fame when her debut work, A Taste of Honey, first performed in 1958, turned into a runaway success. She was just 19. The play told the story of a single mother, Helen, and her teenage daughter, Jo, who wanted more from life than marriage and motherhood in the slums. It has rarely been off the stage since and is currently being revived in a National Theatre tour. Fascinated by the work and its Salford-born…

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Politically literate citizens seem to be a problem for Michael Gove | Laura McInerney | Education

From the vast compendium of Michael Gove’s arrogant moments as education secretary one has been on my mind these last few weeks. He was never a fan of citizenship as a subject – the one that teaches children the rules of democracy – and, once in office, set out to slim the curriculum and get rid of “political fads”. You know, such as teaching young people the rules politicians must follow even when their plans are fading in front of…

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Ofsted chief: pupils’ wellbeing at risk as sport is squeezed out of schools | Education

The Ofsted chief inspector has called on the government to do more to increase sport in schools amid growing concern that physical education is being squeezed out of the curriculum as a result of funding cuts and excessive focus on exam results. Amanda Spielman told the Observer it was essential that ministers and school leaders acted to show they understood what should be obvious – that sport and exercise for young people were vital parts of a full and balanced…

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Forest schools: is yours more a marketing gimmick than an outdoors education? | Education

Ash trees rustle in the breeze while beneath them muddy children run free, collecting leaves and searching for bugs in the shadows. This must be a forest school. Or is it? According to academics in a book, Critical Issues in Forest Schools, to be published next month, there is a high probability that it is not a forest school as, it says, large numbers of nurseries, primaries and secondaries are falsely claiming claim to be one. The forest school movement,…

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