Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sarah Teather and the early years curriculum

One of the most characteristic innovations of the last Labour government was the introduction of a national curriculum for children aged 0-5. It was even more characteristic that it should have 69 targets for them to meet.

So it is good to see that Sarah Teather, as children's minister, is proposing to slim this curriculum down. You can read more about this on the Department for Education website.

However, a reader was less than impressed by Sarah's interview on the Today programme the other day and sent me the link so I could listen to it.

I see what he means. For instance, I do not find Sarah's argument that his curriculum has been in place since 2008 at all clinching, given what I though of the government in 2008. Jim Naughtie's incredulity is nearer to my own view of the matter.

While Sarah's assertion that "the evidence say that if parents are involved in how their child is developing they do better" makes a parent sound like just one of many different kinds of professional involved in the child's life. It suggests that Sarah has spent more time in the past year talking to professionals than parents.

This impression is strengthened by the phrase that really caught my readers attention. Sarah referred to the  importance of ensuring that "young people [are]  really prepared to enter school".

Three- or four-year-olds called "young people"? There is something to be said for the old term "children" at such an age. Again, parents seem to have been downgraded here.

And these four-year-olds want to be careful. If they fail to meet the demands of their national curriculum they may become youths, at least in the Leicester Mercury.


Anonymous said...

"It suggests that Sarah has spent more time in the past year talking to parents than professionals."

surely you mean the reverse

Jonathan Calder said...

Indeed I did. Thanks.