Having completed my first year in Primary teaching I recently read that schools now seem like a test factory.
My initial thoughts were ‘Test factories’, surely this cannot be true, but after spending 4 year working within all the different levels of primary education. I worked as a TA in a county school and I saw that lessons were tailored around the children. This was a school that believed planning was for the teachers and that they should reflect what you want to achieve with your class
Whereas when I did my teacher training I saw both, a school I did my placement has the same approach as the school above, planning should reflect the children, whereas another school taught solely from a scheme of work that was built around the APP/National curriculum statements. So, I have seen that both can work.
Then when I finally became a NQT I worked in school that had a much prescribed curriculum, all subjects had to link to statements from APP’s or from the National Curriculum. I feel that this curriculum came from the fact there was a time when teacher just taught what they wanted and there was huge parts of the curriculum that wouldn’t get covered.
I have been told that you would hear teachers saying they did teacher this because
‘I just don’t like it’ or
‘I don’t feel I could teach that well’
Or the best in my opinions ‘I just don’t want to!!’
I am sorry to say that I did feel like this at times, after all this time in school. The emphasis in schools at certain times in the year were driven by test results and by trying to measure just how much the children have learnt. I remember having conversations about how we shouldn’t use the APP statements a LO or WALT, but in reality all my planning has this on. I have to admit that planning from these have meant that I had 90% of my children made 2 sublevels in the academic year. Although all they did was Numeracy and literacy in my classes.
This upcoming year we are allowed to be more flexible, I cannot wait to see what happen and to see the effects having a more creative environment and curriculum. Overall I believe that teachers need to be guided to teach certain aspects of the curriculum although there needs to be areas where teachers can teach skills and teach the life skills that many of today’s children lack.
Primary education should educate children in all aspects of the curriculum, not just academic subjects.
One of the major contributors to this area and someone who believes a creative and diverse curriculum will allow all subjects to be covered and taught is Sir Ken Robinson. Below is a link to a series of talks he did around this subject.