Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Edookashun news

From the Queen's speech we learn that children in England are to be given legal rights to a good education. Blair may be gone but the Project lives, its essence distilled in this proposal: why actually do something when you can pass a law that says something must be done, instead?

You'd think that after twelve years of government, they might ponder that perhaps the whole central control thing hasn't been an unalloyed success - but you could only think this if you haven't been paying much attention during the last decade or so. They have, it should go without saying, concluded that there is not nearly enough central control. For example:
"New curriculum guidance says the well-being of "mini-beasts", including bees, ants and worms, should be taught in classes as part of primary school's "animals and us" section of the citizenship curriculum.

By the age of seven, pupils will have learnt that "not stamping on insects" is appropriate behaviour "in areas where animals live"."
Fair enough - but my own view is that pupils should be taught to extend this courtesy to their fellow humans first, and then work their way down the food chain.

Anyway, the government is also including the right to more press-ups in their educational Magna Carta. No, really:
"[P]upils will have guaranteed access to five hours PE or sport a week in and out of school."
I'm not sure this is enough though. Today our youth have more PE and possess more tracksuits than at any time since the dawn of civilisation - yet they are also increasingly large. Discuss...

Our English friends are also going to be released from the tiresome burden of teaching discrete subjects:
"The bill will legislate for a new primary curriculum, starting in September 2012, to reorganise traditional subject areas such as history and science into thematic areas of learning, such as "historical, geographical and social" lessons, to try to ease the pressures of the cumbersome curriculum on schools and give them the freedom to do cross-subject thematic lessons."
You could take an Italian theme, for example - with a couple of lessons on the Risorgimento, followed by The Merchant of Venice, pop off to home economics to make a pizza - then during their copious PE time, pupils could learn to make a huge drama out of a barely perceptable foul on the football park. Inspiring isn't the word.

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