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Back to Basics

"Ministers are committed to giving schools more freedom from unnecessary prescription and bureaucracy. They have always made clear their intentions to make changes to the National Curriculum that will ensure a relentless focus on the basics and give teachers more flexibility than the proposed new primary curriculum offered." DfE website.

A relentless focus on the basics: simultaneously commendable and incendiary because 'basics' to one educator is not 'basics' to another. It's sort of implied that 'basics' in this context means reading, writing and numeracy. Is that right, DfE?

But what 'basics' should be on the national educational agenda? Basic self-esteem? Basic confidence to hold a conversation? Basic phone answering skills? Basic e-mail etiquette? Basic leadership? Basic innovative business thinking?

I've got my list. You'll have yours. Employers will have theirs. And given the voice they deserve children will have a list of their own too.

Let's hope that the 5 DfE ministers (4 of whom are Oxbridge educated) choose a list of basics worthy of the young minds who'll be required to develop them. A list that includes the basic knowledge, basic skills and basic values that these children will need in 2030. Not the basics that would have served them well in 1930.

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29 July 2010 22:52

I always worry when I hear the word "Basic". "Basic" is good if it is "Fit for your Purpose" but not good if it doesn't "Fit for your Purpose" Life isn't black and white! Do all children needs the same Basics?

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