The future of primary education

Jess Jess's picture
Those of you in the primary sector may well be aware that there is now a growing crisis in primary education. There is a need for 500,000 extra primary places to be created by 2015 (90,000 of which will be needed in London by 2014). Gove's solution is free schools and academies instead of democratically accountable Local Authorities that can strategically plan school places in order to meet need.

There is also the "consultation" that the government is currently carrying out around the primary curriculum. The new curriculum will be didactic in the extreme, based on rote learning of spelling and facts and squeezing out all creativity or enjoyment. It is a curriculum that will teach working class children to 'know their place'. It removes from them the right to a broad and balanced curriculum, setting them up only for failure. And Gove has the cheek to say that we are 'soft bigots' with 'low expectations' for the children that we teach!

On 1st December, Lambeth NUT is hosting a conference on primary education to discuss how we can shape the future. Speakers include Steve Reed (leader of Lambeth Council), Sue Palmer (author of toxic childhood and 21st Century Boys) and Katie Mitchell (theatre director).

Please visit for more details and to book a free place.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Be notified by email of each new post.


Sally Davenport's picture
Mon, 19/11/2012 - 12:21


Gove and the Tories (who were born to lead us plebs (know you station)), are leading education provision into an abyss with the flipfloppoodlelingnonsense-creation of Free School 'bold experiment's by celebs and 'republics i.e. not of the LEA' bonkers academies . Talk of bonkers, its turning me bonkers with outrage! TIme for a cuppa I think?

I must calm down but please Jess. We need to be screaming this. Keep up the great work


Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 19/11/2012 - 12:53

One of the recommendations in the recent CBI report is for the: "Removal of the currently over-specified and repetitive national curriculum from primary schools in favour of clearly defined goals on literacy, numeracy, science and computer science. These targets should be more stretching than the current national curriculum sets out, and would be judged by Ofsted."

Although I don't think Ofsted as it's currently set up is capable of judging primary school achievement (eg many inspectors are not trained teachers or have no experience of the stage they're supposed to be inspecting; suspicions about Ofsted being leant on or dancing to someone's tune, changing the goalposts and so on) there's much merit in what the CBI says about the primary National Curriculum. I would assume the CBI is talking about the current NC and not the far worse Programmes of Study.

And I'm not sure about the clearly-defined goals in just four core subjects. Would that downgrade humanities, arts and PE? Surely pupils need a broad, balanced curriculum - at secondary as well as primary?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Mon, 19/11/2012 - 13:27


.... instead of democratically accountable Local Authorities that can strategically plan school places in order to meet need.

Is that a joke?

If the democratically elected LAs are so good at planning, we wouldn't be in the crisis we see today. This shortage hasn't suddenly appeared in the two years since Gove took over.

Perhaps you could ask Councillor Reed why Lambeth sold off 9+ primary school sites for development into luxury flats if primary places were so short?

You might also ask him what he's done with the money from selling off the secondary school site that had been earmarked for Katherine Birbalsingh's free school? (At the time his council was saying they needed the money to solve their primary places shortage. Well, they've had it. And more from DfE in basic needs money. So why is there still a crisis?).

The new curriculum will be didactic in the extreme, based on rote learning of spelling and facts....

Where's your evidence for this? It isn't in the DfE consultation.

How would you teach spelling without recourse to some repetition, anyway?

Or don't you think it's necessary for working class kids to be able to spell?

... and squeezing out all creativity or enjoyment. It is a curriculum that will teach working class children to ‘know their place’.

....aha, the giveaway reversal. Actually, it's the soft bigots who are trying to tell working class people their place by presuming that they wouldn't benefit from the same academic education that the middle class want (and, one way or another, generally get).

Adrian Elliott's picture
Mon, 19/11/2012 - 15:23

Jess, I have a submitted a piece for this site on the 'Picking up the Pieces' conference on Saturday . You are quite right. This was an issue which came up at the conference and it is clearly an area where the present government's polices are getting us into a horrible mess. Keep up the good work

Terry Bowen's picture
Wed, 21/11/2012 - 22:12

This is a sad time in our educational history with power shifting from LAs to the near privatisation of our childrens education as legally (for now) as possible.

This new system has bought our educational system full circle I dare say it.... THE ANCIENT GREEKS!!!!! We have had a system built on these Platonic values before with the tripartite system.

The apparent squeeze on our childrens creativity and forced rote learning (yes Ricky Tarr rote learning as Gove has said himself!!!) will only make our childrens school expericence a horrid one. Rote learning isn't learning; Its memorising. What good is it for our children to know something that has be inflicted on them through this victorian method if they are unable to understand it in contexts... "7 x 7 is 49" yes but how is 49? "....eeerrrrmmm..."

Everything I read about Gove leads me to believe that he is nothing more than a Marxist bigot!!!! Who is forcing the education that he received on the rest of our country.

Ricky Tarr's comment has really annoyed me... he must be getting his infomation from the Torygraph (Telegraph) or had their style of education as he is able to give us facts and figures but context he uses it shows no understanding. Niave to think you will get any infomation contradicting the govenment on the DfE. There is (regarding the success of academies against LA schools) but it takes a lot of searching and there are no direct links.

Someone in govenment needs to grow a pair and relieve Gove from his duties. Even though I have slated this current change in education it doesnt mean i'm not in favour of the old system. Something needs to be done but not this!!!

Alan Bowles's picture
Sat, 08/12/2012 - 13:41

The Autumn statement has provided more money for education so it says. No!. It has provided more money for the building of Academies and Free schools. One version I read added 'and well run' schools which lets in local authority maintained schools but I haven't seen that bit repeated!. Which version is correct?
If the first, then we can have academies and free schools built where they are not needed and no local authority primary schools built where the school population has grown where there is a desperate need. Who can hold Mr Gove accountable for such inappropriate decision making?

Add new comment

Already a member? Click here to log in before you comment. Or register with us.