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Teachers welcome 'liberating' primary curriculum reforms

Teachers and heads warmly welcomed the first report of the government-sponsored review of the primary curriculum this week.

Sir Jim Rose, the former Ofsted director of inspection who is leading the review, has proposed that the national curriculum be redesigned into six areas of learning.

These cover understanding of: English, communication and languages; mathematics; science and technology; human society and the environment; physical health and well-being; the arts and design.

Subject associations are working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to draw up what would be taught within each area. Discrete subject teaching will remain, as will the increasingly popular cross-curricular studies.

Despite a cynical response to the report by the media, primary teachers have welcomed its findings.

Sarah Gallacher, a Year 1 and 2 primary school teacher in Doncaster, said: "I think that the change from the traditional subjects to the more thematic approach is definitely what is needed.

"There are currently so many subjects to try and cram in that you end up only touching on a certain subject just so you have covered it."

Mick Brookes, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "I feel the direction of travel is absolutely right. We really welcome the commendation of primary practice in the report.

"But of course, it doesn't matter what curriculum is designed unless you have got an assessment system that enhances that curriculum."

More support came from Michael Thorn, deputy head of Hawkes Farm Primary School in Hailsham, East Sussex. "I rejoice in the hope that maybe, just maybe this review will herald a return to a time when teachers were trusted to make their own informed and educated judgments about what different groups of students should encounter," he said.

Full reports, pages 22-25.

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