Is the Rose concoction a good mix or a volatile experiment?

8th May 2009 at 01:00

How ironic that the front-page headline of The TES stated "Science to be dropped as core primary subject" (May 1) while the same edition also featured an article with the headline "Pupils' views of science prove cloudy". The researchers cited in the latter article found that South African children's understanding of science was often contradictory and lacked coherence. Removing science as a core subject from the primary curriculum means that there is a real danger that UK children's views may be similarly clouded.

Primary teachers have made significant progress introducing scientific thinking to young pupils. Now is not the time to reverse that progress. With the need for increasing scientific literacy to help future generations cope with a wide range of scientific and technological issues, we should be broadening the primary science curriculum to enhance scientific thinking skills.

I suspect that what will determine how the new primary curriculum will be taught will not be related to the educational importance of the new learning areas, but what the tests will be testing. With a primary curriculum driven by testing rather than teaching, and a government obsessed with test results as the means to determining educational effectiveness, teaching to the test will continue.

James D Williams, Lecturer in science education, Sussex University, Brighton.

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