30 years ago

28th January 2005 at 00:00
How far we have travelled. Thirty years ago George Riddell, the vice-principal of Jordanhill College, called for "the establishment of a national curriculum development centre for primary schools," as reported in The TESS on January 31, 1975.

It was ridiculous, he said, that while subjects in secondary education had national curriculum development centres, there was not yet one for the primary school, where most children were taught.

Such a centre would bring together the tremendously valuable work done by advisers and inspectors. It would be a clearing house. There were vast resources in the primary school but they were not coordinated.

Mr Riddell spoke of uncertainties among primary teachers about the distinction between teaching and creating conditions in which children learn, basing his remarks on evidence from the Craigie College language project.

He did not suggest there should be uniformity in the classroom in content, method, or organisation. The project had, however, shown variations, indicating a degree of uncertainty about what teachers should be doing.

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