10. National Curriculum for these subjects. Primary trainees are also required to identify a specialist subject. This could be one of the existing core subjects. For the reasons we have given throughout, it is essential that English, mathematics and science should contribute to creative and cultural education and that teachers should be trained accordingly. As it is the standards make only passing references to promoting childrenÕs creative and cultural development. 285.
There is a further problem. In the existing standards there are no detailed requirements relating to the arts and humanities at all. Unless students choose an arts or humanities subject as their specialist study, they need not study the arts and humanities in any detail at all during initial teacher training. The prospect is that future generations of primary school teachers can qualify to work in schools with only a minimal understanding of the arts and humanities in education. These disciplines are at risk in schools from all the pressures we have identified. The new danger is that the National Curriculum for teacher education threatens even the supply of teachers in these disciplines. Extending Teacher Training Some childrenÕs potential is only limited by our own expertise. As a musician I can encourage/develop childrenÕs potential, resulting in our school orchestra of over fifty children Ñ of whom most reach grade 3, 4 or 5 on their instruments. Unfortunately I had no training in dance Ñ I donÕt know where to start Ñ my staff is similarly untrained! Primary schools need the resources to employ experts. What bliss it would be to have sufficient funding to employ an expert for half a day a week for the arts Ñ a mere £4,500 would do. All of our extra resources support special needs children which has to take priority. Too much funding goes on special projects. The experts are often drawn in for a short-term project and yes, they create a splash. But after theyÕve gone the staff is really none the wiser, the children certainly cannot cope without guidance, and the standard of work reverts to type. We need in-depth staff training not the occasional day here and there. Let my school teach to its strengths. Until the day comes when I have a staff equally qualified in all ten areas of the curriculum let us teach to our strengths, do it well and enable children to reach their potential. We object to the power of inspectors telling us that our expertise in certain areas of the curriculum is deficient. Was it my fault that in my own education I was deprived of dance? I hope the committee remembers that teachers are a very willing group of people. We really want to do our best by the children in our charge but we cannot lead children where we have never been ourselves. Judith Graydon, Parish C of E Primary School
Published on Mar 30, 2012
All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education Report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment the Secretary of State for...