Government curriculum changes will do nothing to help teachers teach, says ATL
11 June 2012
The government must put teachers back at the heart of creating the curriculum, with the autonomy and freedom that the Secretary of State has promised, says the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: "Ministers have no shame over the risk they are taking with children's education. Despite their promises of more autonomy and freedom for the teaching profession, politicians who have been in the job for two years are presenting a heavily-prescribed curriculum as a fait accompli to thousands of teachers - many of whom have decades of experience in the classroom.
"The detailed programmes of study will lead to a uniform education, with next to no opportunity for teachers to excite children and adapt learning to suit their pupils in their local area, developing the skills they need for life, future education and work. ATL believes that the curriculum must help all children learn and develop. A curriculum focussed on identifying and developing skills is essential then. Young people themselves want this too, and pretty much all today's CBI / Pearson report talks about is skills. Self-management, problem-solving, initiative, communication and many more are just as important as reciting kings, queens and times tables.
"We want to hear more about the CPD that will support a new curriculum. And crucially, where government is going to find the teachers to teach advanced maths and modern foreign languages in primary schools - the profession is under-resourced and low in confidence on this front.
"The secretary of state has to realise that actions speak louder than words. The talk of empowering teachers to get on and do what's best for the pupils is no good if government is to dictate to the letter what must happen in the classroom. Teachers should not be treated as 'stakeholders' in a token consultation, but be at the heart of creating the curriculum - and at the heart of helping all young people succeed."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice.
ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.