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Current curriculum appears to be failing

PUBLISHED: 13:07 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:31 06 July 2010

I RECENTLY encountered two local high school pupils who were having problems with their school work.

Neither of them knew their tables beyond the five times and they struggled with spellings intended for eight-year-olds.

I RECENTLY encountered two local high school pupils who were having problems with their school work.

Neither of them knew their tables beyond the five times and they struggled with spellings intended for eight-year-olds.

Despite this they were being compelled to learn such words as onomatopoeia and oxymoron and understand them enough to use them in context. Both were having to spend considerable amounts of time studying and preparing to write lengthy essays on Shakespeare's comedies including Much Ado About Nothing - a very apt title.

They informed me that their classmates were bored, lacked concentration and frequently disrupted lessons. Truancy was also a problem. One was left to wonder if those responsible for the national curriculum had gone completely mad. The pupils, from different schools, informed me that they had not received any instructions, tests or lessons on spelling for over two years. When one complained he was told that he had to learn spelling in his own time.

When comprehensive schools were introduced those of us who supported them thought that the best practices in the old grammar and secondary schools were going to be brought together under one roof. We thought that gardening, cooking, wood and metalwork, nature study, etc, as well as high quality academic subjects, which would include the study of Shakespeare for interested and able pupils, would be combined in a richly diverse curriculum.

This would give children and parents choice. It was to be a great opportunity to enable young people to fulfil their potential in the appropriate areas. Instead, the politicians became obsessed with academia. In came the destructive paraphernalia of league tables and inspections that required endless paperwork to distract the teachers from the essential personal contact with pupils.

Good education should involve imparting knowledge, developing skills, preparing young people for adulthood and creating interest and understanding of the world and the immediate environment. Given the amount of disruptive behaviour and truancy as well as the complaints of employers and universities regarding basic numeracy and literacy, the current curriculum appears to be failing.

DAVID BATLEY

Jubilee Road

Pakefield

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