A National Curriculum should be retained as a statutory entitlement for all children.
Consideration should be given to making the historically reactive response to curriculum review a proactive strategy whereby the EYFS and the statutory curriculum for primary and secondary schools are reviewed at agreed intervals as a whole, rather than as separate phases reviewed out of sequence. This would impose a discipline on the process of review such that schools could be assured of a periodof stability in which to achieve agreed curricular goals.
The aims for a revised primary curriculum derived from the 2002 Education Act, the Children’s Plan and Every Child Matters should be underpinned by a unified statement of values that is fit for all stages of statutory education. The aims andvalues established as part of the recent
secondary curriculum review should be extended to the primary curriculum.
In preparing for a revised curriculum in 2011, the QCA should provide examplesof how successful schools manage time in order to achieve a broad and balanced curriculum.
The content of the primary curriculum should be organised as it is now under knowledge, skills and understanding but structured as six areas of learning to enable children to benefit fully from
high-quality subject teaching and equally challenging cross-curricular studies, and to improve the continuity of learning from the EYFS to Key Stage 3.
(i) To help primary schools sustain curricular continuity and secure pupils’ progress from reception class to Year 7, the QCA should work closely with the National Strategies to assist schools to plan the new curriculum.
(ii) Web-based guidance should be made available drawing upon the experience of that for the secondary curriculum. This should include refreshing the primary literacy and numeracy frameworks.
20(iii) In line with arrangements for implementing the new secondary curriculum, the DCSF should provide primary schools with one extra training day in 2010 to enable the workforce in each school to understand the new primary curriculum and start planning how it will work in their school.
The DCSF should commission a plain language guide to the curriculum for parents to help them understand how it will change to match children’s developing abilities and how they can
best support their children’s learning at school.
(i) Literacy, numeracy and ICT should form the new core of the primary curriculum.
(ii) Schools should continue to prioritise literacy, numeracy and ICT as the foundational knowledge, skills and understanding of the primary curriculum, the content of which should be clearly defined, taughtdiscretely, and used and applied extensively in each area of learning.
(iii) The DCSF expert group on assessment should give consideration to how the new core of literacy, numeracy and ICT should be assessed and these aspects of children’s performance reported to parents.
Primary schools should make sure that children’s spoken communication is developed intensively within all subjects and for learning across the curriculum. In so doing, schools should capitalise on the powerful contributions of the performing and visual arts, especially role play and drama.
(i) Primary schools should continue to build on the commendable progress many have made in teaching decoding and encoding skills for reading and spelling through high quality, systematic phonic work as advocated by the 2006 reading review4 as the prime approach for teaching beginner readers.
(ii) Similar priorities and principles should apply to numeracy in keeping with the recommendations of theWilliams Review.
(i) The two early learning goals for writing should be retained as valid, aspirational goals for the end of the EYFS.
(ii) The DCSF should consider producing additional guidance for practitioners on supporting children’s early writing and should offer practical examples of how this can work.
The DCSF, working with the QCA and Becta,5 should consider what additional support teachers will need to meet the raised expectations of children’s ICT capabilities and use of technology to
enrich learning across the curriculum and set in train adequate support.
(i) The QCA, in consultation with representative groups, should exemplify and promote the range of learning envisioned in the new framework for personal development with the firm intention of helping schools to plan for balanced coverage and avoid piecemeal treatment of this central aspect of the curriculum.
(ii) Personal development together with literacy, numeracy and ICT constitute the essentials for learning and life. The DCSF should work with the QCA to find appropriate and innovative ways of assessing pupils’
(i) The preferred pattern of entry to reception classes should be the September immediately following a child’s fourth birthday. However, this should be subject to well informed discussion with parents, taking into account their views of a child’s maturity and readiness to enter reception class. Arrangements should be such as to make entry to reception class an exciting and
enjoyable experience for all children, with opportunities for flexible arrangements such as a period of part-time attendance if judgedappropriate.
(ii) The DCSF should provide information to parents and local authorities about the optimum
conditions, flexibilities and benefits to children of entering reception class in the September immediately after their fourth birthday progress in this area
The QCA should make sure that guidance on the revised primary curriculum includes clear advice on how best to support those children who need to continue to work towards the early
learning goals and build on the learning that has taken place in the EYFS.
What constitutes high-quality, playbased learning and how this benefits young children, especially those entering the early primary stage, should be made explicit in QCA guidance. Because parents, too, need to understand the importance of play, this guidance should be routed through schools to parents.
Key Stage 1 teachers should be involved in the moderation of Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) assessments within schools, to increase their understanding of the EYFSP and
their confidence in the judgements of reception class teachers.
Major central initiatives, such as Assessment for Learning and Assessing Pupils’ Progress, have huge potential for strengthening the transition of children from primary to secondary schools. The DCSF should develop these initiatives to keep pace with the fast-growing appetite
in primary schools to take them on board.
With their local authorities, primary and secondary schools should agree a joint policy for bridging children’s transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3. Five interdependent transition bridges are suggested for this purpose: administrative; social and personal; curriculum; pedagogy; and autonomy and managing learning. This should involve extended studies
across Year 6 and Year 7, and draw upon the support of personal tutors.
When the National Strategies next review their materials they should look to further strengthen curricular continuity between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
The knowledge, skills and understanding that children need to acquire in languages should be situated within the area of learning entitled ‘Understanding English, communication
and languages’. This will enable teachers and pupils to exploit the links between English and the chosen language(s).
Schools should focus on teaching only one or two languages. This should not preclude providing pupils with experiences in other languages as opportunities arise in cross-curricular studies, as long as sustained learning is secured in one or two languages to ensure that children are able to achieve progression over four years in line with the expectations of the Key Stage 2 framework for languages.
Primary schools should be free to choose the language(s) that they wish to teach; however, as far as possible the languages offered should be those which children will be taught in Key Stage 3.
The commendable work that is taking place to support the delivery of language teaching through workforce development programmes should continue at current levels of funding.
A survey by Ofsted of how well primary schools are managing the introduction of languages as a compulsory subject should take place no later than 2014.