Home is not a substitute for strong schools

27th May 2011 at 01:00

Am I the only person to find the suggestion by the national curriculum review's Tim Oates that the new curriculum could reach into the home rather short sighted (page 3, 20 May)?

It is only common sense that learning doesn't only take place in schools. But to suggest that a review that has been remitted to slim down the national curriculum is to deliberately encourage a "volume of work" which is beyond schools' capacity to cope seems odd.

The national curriculum has to date been seen as a minimum entitlement for all learners - regardless of where they go to school or their personal circumstances.

But if such learning is so valuable, why are so many schools being encouraged to become academies, with the freedom to ignore it?

Equally odd is the failure to understand that many young people do not have the support structures necessary for even basic levels of learning beyond school.

Equally, in some cases parents may not always be the most appropriate members of the community to provide the support young people need.

So let's encourage parents to support their children's learning and continue to explore the potential of learning beyond the classroom.

But please do not distort the purpose of the national curriculum to achieve such aims. Don't make life impossible for schools or remove the national entitlement to an effective education for all young people.

Robin Widdowson, Chameleon Learning.

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