Monday, 2 May 2016

Education going backwards

"Modal verbs, transitive verbs, intransitive verbs" are, sadly, just the tip of the Key Stage two assessment iceberg (Primary grammar test would stump Jane Austen, says head,30/04/16). Primary head, Amanda Hulme, highlighted some of the unnecessary details needed to be learned by 10 and 11 year-olds, but a brief scan of the Sample Booklet published in 2015 reveals how such tests are taking education back to the middle of the last century, when the needs of society were rather different. Apparently, the DfE thinks this "new, more rigorous curriculum", which requires knowledge, by year six pupils, of present perfect and past progressive tenses, not to mention the subjunctive form, subordinating conjunctions, noun phrases and determiners, will help "every child fulfil their potential regardless of their circumstances". This begs some very obvious questions, or should I say, sentences beginning with interrogative pro-adverbs?
      I don`t actually recall the CBI calling for increased knowledge of the various parts of speech to help improve productivity, or any of our esteemed poets, dramatists and novelists attributing their success to their awareness that the "correct antonym"  for "unbelievable" is "plausible". No doubt the next head of Ofsted will be criticising previously graded "outstanding" schools for not devoting sufficient time to providing a broader curriculum, and having too many lessons aimed at learning antiquated grammar!


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