Nothing new about emphasis on literacy

27th June 1997 at 01:00
Following the latest pronouncement from the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the new Government, the National Primary Heads' Association, which represents 8,000 schools, felt it necessary to remind the powers-that-be that literacy and numeracy have never stopped being a priority for educationists.

Was it not a political move to introduce 10 subjects formally into our primary schools? Even dear Sir Ron Dearing allowed time at both key stages for the development of such skills, so why now the heralding of a new dawn?

Key stage 2 teachers in particular are expected to be Renaissance Man, while also trying to address literacy and numeracy programmes in the same way as key stage 1 colleagues.

Of course schools and dedicated staff will be prepared to enter into the debates on how to raise standards.

We are not afraid to be self-critical and develop our curriculum, but we may well be remembering Matthew Arnold who said: "Those schools who only teach reading are behind, even in reading."

Do please bear in mind that revision of the national curriculum is essential and is promised, but filling gaps left by dropped subjects with three hours a day of preparation for tests is not the way forward.

It is preparation for life that we need to concentrate on.

JACQUI GREEN

Secretary

National Primary Heads' Association

Southend on Sea

Essex

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