3Rs setback

The Times reports that the government is to overhaul the primary school curriculum after progress in English, Maths and Science stalled.  Earlier this week the PISA reported that we are falling down international rankings and poor performance is starting to show up even in the Government's own tests; debased by teaching to the test and relaxed standards.

"The review, the first big overhaul of primary teaching and learning since 2000, comes as this year’s Key Stage 2 test results show that nearly three in ten 11-year-olds failed to meet expected standards for their age in English, maths and science by the time they left for secondary school this summer."

That means three in ten students are going to secondary school already behind.  Without the basic literacy and numeracy skills they should already be equipped with when they leave primary school they'll struggle to keep up with the secondary school curriculum.  The secondary schools themselves are rarely good enough to enable pupils who have fallen behind to catch-up.


This failure will translate into low-skilled adults, Britain has (PDF) the second highest proportion of low-skilled workers in the OECD - roughly twice that in Germany or the US, who will be left behind in an increasingly skills dependent economy.  As well as letting down the individuals concerned we also undermine the future competitiveness of our economy.  Real reform of education cannot wait.

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