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ICT in the primary curriculum, and the 21st century school
By Terry Freedman
Created on Mon, 8 Dec 2008, 18:00

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rosereview21cschool

Two important new reports, and associated consultations, are now available.

These are the eagerly-anticipated interim report from the Rose review of the primary curriculum in England and Wales, and the government's ideas on what a world-class education comprises and the associated school report card.

The good thing about the interim report is that it emphasises the importance of ICT in the primary curriculum. I'm not so sure about the 21st century school document.

The interim primary report

Here are some welcome suggestions from the Rose report:

"It will also be increasingly important that children have the ICT skills which will enable them to apply the technology of the future and meet the challenges of an uncertain world, with confidence and flexibility. A sound grasp of ICT is fundamental to engagement in society, and the foundations for this engagement must be laid in primary schools. Along with literacy and numeracy, the use of technology to develop skills for learning and life should be at the core of the primary curriculum."(My emphasis)

It's a real shame that the report didn't go that extra mile -- or extra inch, really -- and extend the definition of "literacy". It states that:

"the three curriculum aims (successful learners, responsible citizens and confident individuals], together with literacy, numeracy, ICT and personal development, will be at the heart of the new curriculum...".

Then, in the very same paragraph, the report defines literacy as:

"... speaking, listening, reading and writing."

However, the report does acknowledge that:

"The central importance of literacy, generally understood as the ability to read and write, is undeniable. However, the concept of literacy has broadened so that the values, for example, of scientific, technological, mathematical and economic ‘literacy’ are recognised by society and schools to a far greater extent than ever before. The effects of being ‘illiterate’ in this broader sense are all too obvious and likely to deepen as the world our children inherit depends increasingly upon understanding in these domains."

It also says that:

"The Review’s remit insists that literacy, numeracy and ICT must be prioritised."

The report also recommends that the QCA and Becta work together to consider whether some aspects of the Key Stage 3 (secondary) curriculum would be better taught in primary education. This, to me, is an acknowledgement of what is already well-known: that in many areas the pupils are doing brilliant stuff in primary education and then have a dumbed-down experience when they enter secondary school.

You can download the report, which is pdf format, from here.  You may comment on the report (by the end of February) by using the contact details shown here.

The 21st Century School

This sets out the government's vision of a 21st century school, and introduces the idea of a school report card. This would enable parents to see what a school is like at a glance.

It's good that technology and ICT is emphasised, as in this, for example:

"Better use of the opportunities provided by modern technology will enhance all of the dimensions of a world-class education system."

But there's not much more detail than that, and there's nothing about ICT on the draft report card. No doubt the argument will be that if the school has got the ICT right the other stuff will follow, or that if the vision has been realised it would imply that the ICT implementation is sound. Even so, I think I would have liked to see a bit more meat on the bones, as it were.

To download the report, go here.

To download the draft report card, go here.

To take part in the consultation, go here -- although it doesn't seem to be there yet.

 



What do you think? Please leave a comment.