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Dear David . . .

The TES is publishing readers' open letters to David Blunkett in a regular series:

Dear David...

As I seem to detect a mood of change in the air might I suggest a key change for education, namely the simplification of the national curriculum. If this Government seriously wishes to improve the standards of literacy and numeracy in our schools it will have to allow teachers to concentrate on these aspects of the curriculum.

The national curriculum, even in its revised form, is over-ambitious for pupils at the primary stage. It covers too many non-essential subjects when the focus should be on the skills of literacy and numeracy, not science, art, geography, history, music and technology. If a child is literate and numerate at the end of the primary stage he can readily tackle these subjects at the secondary stage; if he is not, he will almost certainly fail across the board.

If we continue to overburden primary teachers with non-essential subjects and over-elaborate assessment procedures ought we to be surprised if they fail to deliver the desired improvement in standards and if the most essential tasks are often side-lined? Teachers have valiantly tried to deliver the impossible. If we give them realistic goals they will achieve them.

Anne Crook, (Special educational needs support teacher), 59 Monkhams Avenue, Woodford Green, Essex

Do you have a strong opinion? Have your say by writing to: Dear David, Newsdesk, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E12 9XY.

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