What changes to the new national primary curriculum mean for our children
I am sure many of you are aware that nationally a new national primary curriculum started this September and it is to introduce a stronger emphasis on debating and the spoken word.
This means that children will spend more time practising speaking and presenting and will be encouraged to form arguments which will lead them into structured debates. Handwriting, which is not currently assessed, will be judged on fluency, speed and legibility. It could be argued that this approach is old fashioned. How many in the workplace write much by hand? However, for the time being most examinations are hand written and it is not always possible to word process in all situations. We should teach children how to form letters well by hand and produce hand written work which does not have to be neat but has to be legible.
Quite importantly, part of the new curriculum includes Internet safety at primary level and considering how many children own their own computer this is vital if we are to protect them from the dangers of the online world. In addition to this, pupils from five years old will be taught simple programming so that they understand not just what a computer can do but also how it works.
At Dovercourt our curriculum is the “national curriculum plus” with specialist teaching in many subjects including languages which prepares the girls very well for the next stage of their education.
At the senior school we are waiting for the new specifications to be released for A levels starting in 2015 and only when that happens can we really make a decision on the future of AS levels. In this year’s results we did not experience a downturn in the grades awarded and our girls achieved very well indeed. The new A levels are not supposed to be more difficult but by making them linear courses – that is examined after two years – it will make it harder for pupils who prefer to be tested at regular intervals. GCSEs are also undergoing changes and the standard is going to be raised. However, our results this year were outstanding and we achieved the highest percentage of A*s locally of any other school – our girls have every reason to be proud of their success.
As the year progresses I shall keep parents updated of academic changes in the various key stages.