Rose report: key features remain intact

24th April 2009 at 01:00
Final primary curriculum findings predicted to back starting age of four for all and six themed areas of learning - but no mention of tests

The final Rose report is understood to include few substantial changes to the interim document published in December.

This means the review by government advisor Sir Jim Rose - due out next week - will include the recommendation that all children begin reception class in the September after they turn four and the six themed areas of learning. But it is understood not to include any mention of tests.

The interim report set out the broad proposals for a new national curriculum for children aged five to 11, due to come into force in 2011.

Other expected recommendations include all primaries focusing on just one or two languages, preferably those which pupils will learn in secondary school.

The final report is expected to retain the thrust of these recommendations but with some new built-in flexibility for schools.

Research on teachers' views shows there is broad consensus in favour of the review. The most contentious point is the September start, which was criticised by the government's early education advisory group.

The National Foundation for Educational Research questioned 891 primary teachers and heads about the review's recommendations.

On the September start date, half agreed with the proposal and 31 per cent disagreed - with teachers less enthusiastic than senior staff.

The survey also asked about the balance between discrete subject teaching and cross-curricular teaching, the proposed areas of learning, approaches to language teaching and future reviews of the curriculum.

It found wide support for a mix of subjects and cross-curricular teaching. The most popular balance was 60:40 in favour of cross-curricular teaching. No one supported all discrete subject teaching and only five per cent wanted 80 per cent of lesson time spent on discrete subjects.

But while more than two-thirds of respondents and 82 per cent of managers supported the principle of six areas of learning (understanding), there was less support for the actual areas, which are currently drafted as: English, communication and languages; mathematical; scientific and technological; arts and design; physical health and wellbeing; and historical, geographical and social.

There is also pressure to merge reception and Year 1 practice, which would be helped by putting the two writing targets for five-year-olds back a year.

Peter Rudd, who ran the survey, said: "What this curriculum review has achieved is a remarkable degree of consensus. It is something I noticed as a researcher who has worked on these surveys quite regularly. I think there is a need for fine tuning about which subjects have curriculum time."

A formal consultation on the content of the curriculum will be run by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority this term. The new curriculum will be sent to schools by the end of the year and teaching is due to begin in 2011.

In the interim

There are 20 recommendations in the interim report, including:

- Organisation of the primary curriculum into six areas of learning (understanding): human, social and environmental (now historical, geographical and social); physical health and wellbeing; arts and design; English, communications and languages; mathematical; scientific and technological.

- Discrete subject teaching and cross-curricular studies.

- Entry to reception at age four to become the norm.

- ICT to be taught both discretely and through its application across the whole curriculum.

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