The National Curriculum Consultation – an ode to Auntie Maud.

Essential Context:

*Auntie Maud is real, terrifying and very definitely best avoided.  I have moved house when she discovered my address.  She has no teeth, a loose grip on reality, hygene issues and has been sectioned.  She fills me with terror.  I would run rather than have to talk to her.*

The post:

This week there has been a kerfuffle.  Quite remarkable to see. The new Draft Curriculum for Consultation is available here. I think that this will be a serious shift in culture for schools.  Much of the unnecessarily complex ways we have had to report upon progress have been removed.  No more two sub-levels of progress. We will, from September report on a binary outcome:  Met or not met at the end of  each year in KS1 and in each 2 year phase in KS2, in Maths and English.  That’s pretty transparent for families.  Your child is or isn’t at the age related expectations.

Each school will be required to:

  •  Set out their school curriculum for English on a year-by-year basis and make this information available online.
  • Set out their school curriculum for Mathematics on a year-by-year basis and make this information available online.

What strikes me is the dexterity of the consultation document, which is phrased to mean that anyone disagreeing with it, is arguing against rigour and high standards.  Be very careful what you say in writing about this curriculum, it just might provide further evidence of the failings of the profession.  the response form is buried here.

So to the Computing Curriculum.  It is, in my opinion a work of binary genius.  It pushes the profession into a corner, and leaves us with nowhere to hide.

We cannot now argue  at primary level, that using ICT as a tool to support the curriculum manner is an acceptable way of delivering the ICT curriculum.  We cannot, any longer leave the elephant in the room alone.  Control and Modelling was always the “Auntie Maud*” of the ICT family.  It was avoided, difficult to deal with, out of our comfort zone, the bit of the curriculum you would prefer didn’t know your address.  Now it is front and centre.  In a binary curriculum with pretty unavoidable expectations:

1) Computational Thinking & programming

2) Digital Reputation Management.

Nothing else.

Nothing pleasantly diverting to suggest we focus on because in our view, it is more valuable.  Every teacher in every primary school is going to have to engage with the Computational thinking agenda. [we’re in trouble]

I’m not sure this is an outrage.  It’s a very clever set of weasley words.

Think it through:

The new curriculum defines the minimum, it applies focus.   It does not define the maximum.  We can still do everything we have always done and valued.  What we can’t do is avoid Auntie Maud any more.  We might not like it, but as an act of management to ensure something gets done, it is very definitely genius.

This is a good thing. No?

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6 thoughts on “The National Curriculum Consultation – an ode to Auntie Maud.

  1. We can do more but how many will? I hope every teacher will use a range of ict tools but without being told to will they? It’s hard enough getting some teachers to do this now! It is a shame that there isn’t a bit more (some) about digital creativity.

    • Digital Creativity is very sweet, but application of existing tools isn’t going to restore the economic wealth of UKplc is it? We had muddy waters where people could do little and claim lots. Thats gone. You are left with my Auntie Maud

  2. Interesting piece as ever Pete, as you know I am by no means a curriculum or content expert, nor a defender of the status quo or an enemy of change. However, structurally the curriculum has changed so fundamentally, I fear transition has not been considered as it might. Whilst I agree with your comment on the ‘unnecessarily complicated’ progress measures, what follows it?

    2 sub levels is complicated, and impossible for a parent to fathom but it does provide a nationally comparable system. Incidentally Nationally comparable – not a stick to beat teachers with but to allow successful self evaluation for improvement – there seems to be little guidance on this now. Will we end up with a system (which we’re seeing at Classroom Monitor already in the new eyfs) where different authorities use different measures for ongoing tracking? Perhaps most worryingly, what happens to all the legacy data? Schools, teachers and even pupils know their progress, they have spent hours (in some cases days) agonising over this, looking at strengths and weaknesses and using long term, established progress trends to inform school development plans.

    League tables & national comparisons are by the by, a good school should be using their data to drive their school forward. Without transition, without guidance, without a plan for this, we risk a period where schools are ‘finding their feet’ without the correct measures in place, with an easy excuse to hand and simple don’t progress in the way they should.

    We’ve a fair few more months to go before it comes into force, I hope that we see some more concrete guidance as we come closer…

  3. I find it a bit tricky to dfend breaking levels down ito 3 sub-levels then a further 2 sub-sub-levels, each level needing to be refined to 6 steps, an interesting concept when I was studying physics a long long long time ago I remember looking at errors, something that my Old Prof at Uni loved too. It seems to me that to gain reliable data, at say 1 DP our measurement tools must be able to measure to that precision, or better. So whilst we may be able to talk about sub-levels statistically, when it comes to looking at individual students talking about them makeing sub level progress is pointless. In fact I’d say that with the range of things being measured on a single scale that even assigning a single level is not possible.

    That moan aside I can see a nice little earner for us old Computing Teachers. I asked my group of ICT staff who could do boolean operations, 1’s compliment, 2’s compliment, fixed and floating point conversions, explain the machine cycle, program in two languages, knew different sorting/searching algorithms……… well, 2/5 could convert denary/binary/hex. With no county support worth speaking about anymore due to the syphone of cash to the Acadamies, there must be hundrads of primary/secondary schools outside the new acadamy support network. Now If I take retirement now, charge each school in my area £300 a month for training/support I am quids in!!!

    Why MrGove, I love you!!!!

  4. Pingback: Coding, Computer Science and iPads – My Current View | Ant's ICT

  5. Pingback: Primary Computing: We need Architects and Bricklayers | The Grinch Manifesto

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