Antidote News: March 2009

PEN Comment There are a number of interesting items from Antidote in this months E-News including: subscribe at  

Devolving power, increasing diversity

If you like the Cambridge Primary Review, you will also like the latest education policy paper from the Liberal Democrats. They propose:

· reducing the national curriculum to a slim 20 page ‘minimum curriculum entitlement’

· transferring significant powers and budgets from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to local authorities

· extending the freedom to innovate currently given to academies to all schools, and enabling schools to select sponsors on the basis of their educational expertise rather than their wealth

· enabling schools to offer different approaches to education and a greater choice of curriculum

This would lead, the Liberal Democrat document says, to the end of the era of ‘standardisation and centralization in English education’.

Equity and Excellence: Policies for 5-19 education in England’s schools and colleges can be downloaded from:

Business as usual

These arguments, though, don’t yet carry much weight with the main political parties. Shadow schools minister Nick Gibb criticised the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum for appearing to propose ‘a contraction in the amount of time spent on teaching literacy and communication’.

And while the government’s proposals for 21st Century Schools do talk about schools developing ‘highly responsive’ teaching and learning as well as ‘innovative ways to engage pupils’, the language is still about ‘driving’ improvement from the centre rather than fostering school’s capacity to use their understanding of what is happening for staff and students to shape creative new approaches.

House of Commons debate on the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum can be found at:

21st Century Schools: A World-Class Education for Every Child can be downloaded from:

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