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Discussion in 'Education news' started by Jane Austen, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I know that Primary schools are structured to teach the National Curriculum and go through the motions. I also know that in Year 7 it sometimes seems that they have not taught the National Curriculum. I am not saying this is a personal moral failing of Primary teachers but I have no compunction in saying that many recently qualified staff in Primaries just aren't cut out for teaching in terms of temperament or ability. Yes, I've observed, yes I know many personally and it's a fact that many don't have specialist degrees and don't know their subjects but instead follow slavishly how-to-teach-Primary-[whatever] guide books and useless in-house subject policies some woe-begotten cluster-SLT have CCed around to their staff. We're seeing more of this ignorance in Secondary NQTs now that teaching has become a graduate starter job and ITT squats like Moloch at the end of every undergraduate course. I doubt many teachers and SLT have even read the National Curriculum.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    From my perspective - I used to teach the same children Mrs P saw earlier in their primary school and I saw many of them choosing to work at a lower level in KS3 (and 4) than they had worked at in primary school,

    However back to the OP's rant - I agree that the system is a complex mess - theory of evolution in KS1 when kids need to be learning about naming animals and fairly simple classification, complex grammar in KS2 when children need appropriate grammar and vocabulary, and time to learn age appropriate stuff about how the world works (which should include simple circuits).
    best wishes
  3. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    When I taught year 6, the year 7 secondary teachers would pop by at end of summer term just to meet the kids, chat to the teachers, have a quick look through the books and chat about any needs for specific children.

    Perhaps you could ask to be liaison with feeder primaries?
  4. Jane Austen

    Jane Austen New commenter

    Thank you for your comments which I appreciate. My reference was to English !language and the mechanics of written English which although taught at primary level, is rarely of the required level for Year 7. I am not criticising primary teachers who do marvellous jobs. It is the unnecessary content of the curriculum which prohibits enough time to be spent on the basics.
  5. Lumpen

    Lumpen New commenter

    I guess my question then would be...well, what are the basics? And isn't the analysis of text a way of teaching them?

    I think I know what you mean, in that there appears to be an excess of identification of grammatical happenings in the current primary English curriculum, which probably means that primary teachers are having to rush the real baseline material - competency in reading and spelling strategies, vocabulary, basic understanding of parts of speech and tenses, the appropriate use of punctuation and sentence construction, emerging understanding of purpose and form and engagement with and enjoyment of a wide range of text - which could all do with longer to 'bed in' with students to provide them with a lifetime understanding, in favour of having to crush in a lot of unnecessary terminology and pattern spotting to satisfy the criteria of a transient exam.

    Apologies for the style of this - it is a little 'stream-of-consciousness' - you've raised some interesting points and I'm just using this as an opportunity to work through some thoughts about the curriculum!

    I suspect some of this has to do with the (in my opinion) misconceived idea that progress is only visible in terms of people 'knowing more' as opposed to becoming better or more practiced at something and of course that learning is a fully linear process which can be measured in clear chunks (six week time periods, for example) and should always demonstrate this type of progression. I suspect that, in both Primary and Secondary, this can lead to the cramming of extraneous information into the working memory to satisfy the illusion of 'progress' when both sectors would prefer more time to commit more vital learning and skills into the long term memory and build those structures for learning which will serve students well in the future.

    I also suspect that historically (based on no further knowledge than anecdote), much of the consolidation required in English was achieved in Primary schools by the study of various other historical, geographical, cultural etc. areas which now have less time devoted to them in favour of the dedicated time now spent on the overt teaching of overly complex literacy.

    But all of this is O.K. Within the next five years, all schools will be academies and will have autonomy over their own curriculum decisions...
  6. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Justifying your frozen mindset?
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  7. Lumpen

    Lumpen New commenter

    Entirely possible Eureka - justifying my mindset certainly...would disagree that it is frozen...feels very liquidy to me...possibly melted. (And, yes, I know liquidy is not a word...)
  8. lightningconductor

    lightningconductor New commenter

    At it again, Vince?
    Of course, if someone doesn't know something, it makes you wonder whether they've been taught it.
    To all other mortals, who think rationally and aren't determined to imply that primary teachers don't teach 'statutory content', it makes us wonder whether they've had enough time to understand it or whether they've been bothered to learn it.
    I'm surprised that Chelsea2 has fallen into the trap of trying to converse with you. Surely they have realised that's a futile activity by now.
    As for the OP's original post, I think the vast majority of practising teachers can see that, in their attempts to raise standards, successive governments have made error after error - and will no doubt continue to do so in future.
    harsh-but-fair and delnon like this.
  9. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Vince, is it not the same as Year 11 students still not knowing all their times tables nor being able to have a simple conversation in another language after 5 years of secondary education? What on earth have those secondary teachers been doing?
  10. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Shakespeare is of little general educational value. The politicians like him so much because he bigs up the UK for them.
    Compassman and palmtree100 like this.
  11. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    I agree. Stick to books in plain English until 6th Form at least.
  12. Lumpen

    Lumpen New commenter

    'Shakespeare is of little general educational value. The politicians like him so much because he bigs up the UK for them.'

    I think I'd basically agree with that - I might be tempted to introduce him a little earlier than palmtree100 suggests (KS4?), for students for whom the academic study of English is a passion, but I do see that the intrinsic merit is perhaps somewhat neglible - and as I've stated, the true study of these texts (etymological/social/historical/cultural) is more complex than necessary earlier on.

    Out of interest, and mild pique if I'm honest, what do you suppose is 'frozen' about my mindset Eureka - if you wouldn't mind?
  13. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I hear Prince is writing his autobiography entirely in symbols next year.

    Should be required reading at GCSE
  14. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    I had to do parsing for my Scottish 11+ . That was 1963. I loved it. Very easy once you got the hang of it. Never used it since. I was reading complex classic novels at that age so was very literate. We had a spelling test every day and you got one of the belt for evey mistake below 7/10. My spelling is good. Not that I'm advocating that approach. 40 in the class then.
    Jane Austen likes this.
  15. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Same as the politicians re the Bard? A bit like a religious icon if yer asks me...
  16. Lumpen

    Lumpen New commenter

    I was questioning how far it is appropriate to include the material for children who couldn't watch Spiderman?!
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I can't speak for MFL but multiplication tables, you know, are a Primary responsibility.
  18. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    My apologies Lumpen. I was lumpen you in with others!
  19. Lumpen

    Lumpen New commenter

    Fair enough so!
  20. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    There was a time when half the posters defended the Bard!

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