No spelling, no creativity, no discussion. The new English curriculum

No spelling, no creativity, no discussion. The new English curriculum

According to an article in the Guardian the Education Secretary Mr Gove is introducing a new national curriculum for English that will contain nothing on the topic of spelling for 11- to 14-year-olds.  Apparently it also has a lot less on reading, writing and speaking.

In a couple of senses this is very much in keeping with Gov-ism (I just made that up).  Mr Gove has been very much under the influence of the on-line games industry, changing the whole IT curriculum so that it fits into the needs of the firms that create computer games.

Obviously the need to write coherent English in the conventional form hardly exists in most games since the games themselves are usually conducted in a language of their own.

Mr Gove has also announced that he wants to slim down the national curriculum and produce a curriculum less focussed on central government control.

The new curriculum should come into force in September 2014, and suggests (if the leaks are true) that teachers are to be left to their own devices to decide what to teach.

Mr Gove has already published ideas for a slimmed-down curriculum for primary schools, and has said that academies and free schools will be free to ignore the national curriculum.  Teachers will then be “held to account” through inspections.

Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, said of the Gov-ist planning that it is “preparing to introduce a narrow and out of date curriculum that will take us backwards. Incredibly there is no mention of the importance of spelling in the English curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds. The writing, speaking and listening skills have all been watered down. There is no mention of creativity and being able to think critically or understand opposing points of view in any of these courses.”

The draft curriculum suggests pupils must read books  from both the 20th century and earlier; at least one Shakespeare play; contemporary British prose, poetry and drama; and seminal world literature written in English.  But there is no list of “must-read” novelists.

Most notably there is no mention of creativity in the English language curriculum at all and no mention of structured discussion.   Talk to anyone in business and industry about English and they will tell you of the need to

a) be able to write a coherent email to a supplier or customer

b) the need to be able to think creatively very quickly, to solve the problems that beset business every day

c) the need to be able to discuss problems with colleagues and reach rapid, viable, conclusions.

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