Egg on the chief inspector's face;Music for the millennium;Letter

15th May 1998 at 01:00
I NOTE with interest The TES's Music for the Millennium campaign. So the chief inspector thinks that primary teachers are wasting time building Greek temples out of egg boxes (I prefer cereal boxes) and should concentrate on reading and writing (TES, May 1).

Such activities, if well taught, can provide children with opportunities to practise the skills that Chris Woodhead is so anxious to promote.

Children are encouraged to research the topic by using books and CD-Roms (reading) and then discuss designs with their fellow pupils (speaking and listening). They collaborate to make their products (more speaking and listening) and evaluate their work in verbal or written form. In addition to developing literacy they also learn design technology skills, possibly numerical skills (dimensions and scale) and hopefully something about Greek civilisation.

Many primary teachers I have spoken to recently have said that they feel the foundation subjects will become marginalised when more emphasis is placed on literacy and numeracy. While I am not against initiatives to improve the teaching of these key skills, I think it would be a great pity if a consequence of this was an impoverished curriculum.

Subjects such as design technology, art, music, history and geography can be excellent vehicles for developing children's skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, numeracy and information technology. They are applying these skills in the context of activities they enjoy. Children like making things; they also enjoy music, learning about the past and the world around them. If the curriculum is made too narrow and prescriptive much of this enjoyment of learning will disappear and with it the opportunities to develop the skills of literacy and numeracy in real contexts.

Jerry Seymour 10 Pembroke Drive Telford, Shropshire

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today