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Broad and balanced curriculum

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Grandsire, May 7, 2019.

  1. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    How do people do it? We're expected to do additional maths and English activities every day, on top of the usual lessons, so these two subjects alone are taking up about 75% of available lesson time. It's leaving us very little room to do anything else - once I've factored in the two hours of PE, there's simply not enough time in the week to fit in Geography, History, Science, Art, Music, RE, MFL, DT, PSHE... I'm really worried because (as I understand it) Ofsted will now be looking to see we're teaching a broad and balanced curriculum - and I know my pupils deserve to be taught these other subjects properly. How can I do that if I'm doing all this English and Maths every day? If I say anything, I'm told that I need to 'work smarter, not harder', and that we need to get results, but I know it's not possible to fit everything in.

    Then there's another problem: some colleagues just aren't teaching the other subjects often enough... or are not teaching them at all! What can we do as co-ordinators if our subjects have fallen by the wayside?
    stonerose and Sally006 like this.
  2. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    I don't have any answers but I suspect at least 9 out of 10 primary school teachers are asking the same question.
    agathamorse and Sally006 like this.
  3. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Is there a way you could incorporate literacy and numeracy in the other subjects, or teach literacy and numeracy using, say, music?

    I’m not a primary school teacher so I’m not sure of your curriculum but there are lots of ways you can incorporate other subjects to appease your superiors and also fulfil your duty to ensure you’re providing a broad and balanced curriculum.
  4. aypi

    aypi Established commenter

    If your pupils are good at Maths and English, I would be pleased.
  5. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Broad and balanced are both very subjective terms, so one would imagine a case could be made for virtually any curriculum planning that have a number of subjects. Write it down and call it a policy!
  6. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    For the last 40 years, school inspectors throughout the UK have been asking for the impossible from primary school teachers.

    They want them to teach a broad and balanced curriculum and, at the same time, they want them to focus on raising standards in literacy and numeracy without, of course, spending too much extra time on English Language and Mathematics.

    It can't be done, and they know it, but asking for the impossible allows school inspectors to find fault in whatever primary teachers try to do and, of course, justifies their own existence.
    If they tell you that it can be done if you work smarter, not harder, any reasonable teacher should be able to ask: 'Can you show me?'.

    After all, if you are learning a particular sport or hobby, any instructor worth their salt should be able to demonstrate the skill they are trying to impart. In my experience, school inspectors will invariably answer: 'That is not my job', or something similar, because they know they can't do the impossible either.

    Unfortunately, because of the extreme power imbalance that exists between teachers and school inspectors, the latter can get away with putting impossible demands on teachers, without offering any practical solutions, and, as a result, school pupils continue to suffer.

    The school inspection systems in the UK are simply not fit for purpose.
    Jamvic, aypi, agathamorse and 3 others like this.
  7. Sally006

    Sally006 Occasional commenter

    Always consider, when facing an Ofsted inspector, the reason why they do their job and you are a class teacher. The answer will dawn very quickly - they can’t do what you do. Notice that these inspectors are not old sages on the point of retirement with years of experience to call upon - few are over 40. So always bear in mind the question why and smile. That said I agree with every word of Flyonthewall75. The pressure on primary teachers has reached breaking point. It is not possible to get to these ridiculous Govian expectations and do the foundation subjects well and teachers up and down the land are killing themselves trying to and their self esteem is on the floor.
  8. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    .......and these are just a few reasons, out of a huge pile, that are either demotivating teachers, making them ill or driving them out of the profession. :mad:
  9. aypi

    aypi Established commenter

    Imagine being an inspector.
    4 nights in a hotel away from home.
    A week at base writing up the report.
    What sort of human would want that sort of life?
    Piscean1, stonerose and lardylegs like this.
  10. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    It's not a tough job and anyone could do it, but if you're scoring more highly on the Hare Psychopathy Test than normal range I think you would enjoy the sadistic aspects quite a lot.:rolleyes:
  11. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    The school that inspectors are looking for relies heavily on children arriving at school with the basics in place. Ready to learn, good sound vocabulary, interest in books, able to count etc. With a large majority of these children in your class you can probably compress the amount of time you spend on English and Maths and still give good coverage of the other subjects too.
    If, unfortunately, you have a large number of children who do not fit this description then your job will be an uphill battle to get these children to jump through complex grammar and maths puzzles before they are reading fluently. Huge amounts of time will be devoted to English / maths as the children quickly realise it's 'too hard' and get demoralised. Virtually no time will be left for the more fun subjects which might have grabbed their attention and made them feel more positive about school.
  12. aypi

    aypi Established commenter

    Your bias bessie, I found History and Geography to lack fun.
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Sadly, I think they want all the knowledge simplified onto apps and the kids sent off to swot it all in a er...fun learning game. Hmmm .

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