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Recruits need teaching themselves

The concern about the position of science and maths in initial teacher education ("Funding deal puts teacher training at risk", June 19) is shared by those who prepare students to teach the so-called non-core foundation subjects in primary schools.

Current trainee teachers have often experienced a narrow primary curriculum themselves - a curriculum that Robin Alexander and others have shown is dominated by de-contextualised literacy and numeracy. Some of these young people often have little of the subject knowledge to teach the broad and balanced curriculum associated by Ofsted with high-achieving schools. This was directly reflected in a question a student asked me: "Ere Andy - was Henry VIII a Roman?"

Unfortunately, the narrowing of the primary curriculum in history has led to insufficiencies in young people's knowledge of the past events and figures, as well as the necessary concepts and skills to help them think like historians.

Andy Bowles, Teacher educator, Leeds Metropolitan University.

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