Inevitable knock-on effect

30th January 1998 at 00:00
The TES (January 16) welcomes the Government's report on the relaxation of the primary curriculum, as do union leaders quoted and a few primary teachers (well, they would, wouldn't they?)

There appears to be, however, no mention of the inevitable knock-on effect on the secondary schools: they have every right to rely on the primary sector to bring pupils up to certain levels of knowledge and expertise in those subjects that can now be pruned. The national curriculum, after all, is more than a national curriculum for primaries. Just as road improvements often merely move the traffic jams along to the next main intersection, so the overload problem will only be shifted to the secondaries.

In any case, what do we mean by literacy and numeracy? These concepts cannot exist in a vacuum. Literacy has its part to play in history teaching; geography lends itself to instruction and practice in numeracy. These concepts are not just essential as theory: they are practical skills with everyday applications and can be taught effectively through such disciplines as those destined for the chop.

MICHAEL J SMITH

10 Hillview North Pickenham Swaffham, Norfolk

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