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The Biggest Curriculum Change for Over a Decade
September 05, 2014
In response to our international competitors abroad, most UK primary school children will return to school this week and be taught a new (and much harder) curriculum, it will prove to be the biggest curriculum overhaul for over a decade.
Broadly speaking, many concepts in the key subjects will be introduced earlier on, which could result in a steep jump when students return to the classroom over the next few weeks.
For example Year 1 maths students (age 5 - 6 years old) who were previously expected to learn how to count to 20 will now be taught to count to 100 and learn number bonds up to 20 (previously 10). These same 5 to 6 year olds will also be introduced to punctuation such as commas and apostrophes, taught to spell the days of the week and be expected to learn poetry. It will also become compulsory for children to learn a foreign language from the age of 7.
Biology, Chemistry and Physics will now be taught as separate subjects rather than collectively under the umbrella of “Science”.
There are growing fears that children will struggle with the introduction of these difficult concepts, as there are currently no additional resources dedicated to supporting the changes. It has also been reported that the majority of parents haven’t received much guidance from their child’s school, and remain unaware of the curriculum changes - this highlights the issue that parents may find it difficult to support their child.
All primary school children will now be taught long division, and grasp their 12 x 12 (currently they learn up to 10 x 10) before they reach secondary school. The new curriculum promotes mental arithmetic and problem solving as calculators will be introduced later on.
As technology plays a huge role in our daily lives, new lessons in computing have been added to the curriculum, where primary school children will learn to write code. By the age of 11 children should be able to “design, use and evaluate computational abstractions”.
Scrapping of national curriculum levels will be one of the biggest changes, previously it was clear to parents that Year 6 students (11 years) would be expected to reach level 4. By 2016 the average score for national tests will be 100 and students will score above or below that mark. From September schools will have to develop their own way of reporting yearly attainment and progress to parents.
The Department for Education are adamant that raising expectations will reap rewards. “We believe that children can achieve more” said the DfE “We will not stand by and allow pupils to lose ground with their peers in countries across the world”.