I look forward to reading the interim report on the primary school curriculum in England by Sir Jim Rose. The BBC, needing as broadcasters always do, to turn the story into an argument, is presenting Sir Jim’s recommendations as a return to progressive education. The Today programme managed to get the head of the Campaign for Real Education to express grave misgivings, even though it was clear he hadn’t actually read the report.
Having seen what has happened to previous independent reports that the media have managed to caricature as dangerously progressive (remember Tomlinson), Sir Jim himself was at pains to rebut the ideas that he wanted to do away with subject teaching in favour of more play and emphasis on well-being.
Indeed Sir Jim reminded me of RSA colleagues defending Opening Minds. As he pointed out, there is no contradiction between teaching cross-cutting competencies and subject content. And, as he also pointed out, many schools are already achieving good results through an approach to developing skills and broad understanding as the foundation for knowledge. As for his emphasis on play, health and well-being - surely only the most dyed-in-the-wool Gradgrindian will object.
Despite the pandemic, school pupils are demonstrating creative confidence and a commitment to making their communities a better place.
Anyone in education knows we so often have to make the case for the value of arts and creative activities. The lockdown gives us a chance to recognise their value – now and moving forward.