Teachers should be trusted to have more say in what they teach, Sir Jim Rose, the man asked to conduct a second review of the primary curriculum, has told The TES.
Sir Jim, a former primary chief inspector whose previous review in March 2006 led to the introduction of compulsory phonics last September. "One thing that is extremely important," he said, "is the professionalism of primary teachers and making sure they feel in control. I think some decisions should be left to teachers.
"That isn't to say that we just dump the problem on them, but what has happened is that more and more things keep being added to the curriculum, but no one has said how space is to be found for them."
The formal consultation on the primary curriculum has started with five main aspects identified: curriculum design and content; reading, writing and numeracy; modern foreign languages; personal development and transition and progression.
It is 16 years since Sir Jim was one of the "Three Wise Men" - the other two were Robin Alexander and Chris Woodhead. Their report, Curriculum Organisation and Classroom Practice in Primary Schools, said that the resistance to subjects was untenable and much topic work was fragmentary.
However, Sir Jim said that he is not against themed teaching: "It is not an either-or situation. The problem with primary education is that it has got beset by polarities that should not be polarities. There is a proper time and place for subject teaching and certainly there is more than enough space in primaries for thematic work."
Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, has said that the latest primary review is expected to reduce prescription wherever possible and enable schools to strengthen their focus on raising standards in reading, writing and numeracy.