Can Jim fix it?

11th January 2008 at 00:00
Older readers may recall a TV series in which an aged disc jockey tried to fulfil viewers' wishes. New Labour has also had its share of wish fulfilment. It wished to ensure its alleged success in boosting standards in primaries was not compromised by claims that it had unduly influenced the interpretation of test results. Years later, it wished to be seen to be doing something to revive flagging reading results by pandering to a lobby of synthetic phonics zealots.

In both cases it called on Jim Rose, its primary fixer, to provide reassurance. It is now repeating the process in commissioning him to review the primary curriculum to allow yet more time to be spent on literacy and numeracy, thus reassuring a sceptical public and profession that the Government is still committed to raising primary standards. No doubt "Jim'll fix it", but for how long and with what effect on a curriculum which needs to be designed for the 21st, not late 19th century?

Colin Richards, Professor of education and former HMI, Spark Bridge, Cumbria.

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