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THE CAMBRIDGE PRIMARY REVIEW: WHAT NOW? Robin Alexander University of Cambridge.

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1 THE CAMBRIDGE PRIMARY REVIEW: WHAT NOW? Robin Alexander University of Cambridge


3 THE FINAL REPORT Editor Robin Alexander Authors Robin Alexander Michael Armstrong Julia Flutter Linda Hargreaves Wynne Harlen David Harrison Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer Ruth Kershner John MacBeath Berry Mayall Stephanie Northen Gillian Pugh Colin Richards David Utting The formal conclusions and recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review have been agreed by the 14 authors of this report. They are fully supported by members of the Reviews Advisory Committee other than those whose observer status requires them to remain neutral. Report, p xvi

4 PLOWDEN: A CAUTIONARY TALE Plowden as written Plowden as sanctified Plowden as demonised

5 Theres a simple test of the changes announced in the June 2009 white paper, and of the wider democratic reforms promised in the wake of the May 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal: will this final report from the Cambridge Review be dismissed in the same summary fashion as its 31 interim predecessors - and indeed those many other contributions to the educational debate which were constructive and authoritative but off message or not invented here? Children, their World, their Education, p 514

6 THE GOVERNMENTS RESPONSE (DCSF press release, 16.10.09) It's disappointing that a review which purports to be so comprehensive is simply not up to speed on many major changes in primaries. The world has moved on since this review was started. If every child making progress and reaching their potential is what matters then Professor Alexanders proposals are a backward step. We're already putting in place the most fundamental reforms for decades following Sir Jim Rose's primary review – to make the curriculum less prescriptive and free it up for teachers. He suggests a school starting age of six but this would be a completely counterproductive – we want to make sure children are playing and learning from an early age and to give parents the choice for their child to start in the September following their fourth birthday. Our expert group on testing said it would be a backward step to scrap English and maths tests at 11 and we are piloting a School Report Card, which will give parents a far broader picture of how schools are doing. The report is at best woolly and unclear on how schools should be accountable to the public – we're clear that it would be a retrograde step to return to days when the real achievements of schools were hidden. And he completely fails to mention [the Williams report, the expert group on assessment and] our own major review to transform SEN education and support for parents. We completely refute the claim that primary standards have not risen across the board. Independent Ofsted inspections shows there have never been so many outstanding and good primary schools, and Key Stage 2 results show huge progress over the last decade – a tribute to the outstanding quality of teaching, training and heads.

7 … The Cambridge Primary Review is for the longer term, not the next election; and as an exercise in democratic engagement as well as empirical enquiry and visionary effort its final report is not just for transient architects and agents of policy. It is for all who invest daily, deeply and for life in this vital phase of education, especially children, parents and teachers. Children, their World, their Education, p 514

8 WHAT NOW? RECLAIM THE TEXT The report - Routledge The companion research volume - Routledge The briefing - download The booklet - widely circulated in hard copy; download RECLAIM THE DEBATE The media, the politicians and the public National events The regional conferences Other conferences and meetings The February 2010 conference A NEW WAY OF THINKING AND TALKING ABOUT PRIMARY EDUCATION The role of teacher education, UCET and the UDEs?

9 THE REGIONAL CONFERENCES For professional leaders in schools, local authorities, teacher education and research, and others who are interested Organised by Teachers First: / 0844 800 5317 November 5: Cambridge November 18: Birmingham November 26: SouthamptonNovember 27: London December 2: YorkDecember 3: Newcastle January 13: ManchesterJanuary 14: Preston January 19: BristolJanuary 20: Exeter January 28: NorwichJanuary 29: London February 4: Cambridge Format: presentations, commentaries, discussion groups, panel/plenary Speakers …….

10 THEMES AND EVIDENCE: THE REVIEW MATRIX EVIDENTIAL STRANDS Submissions Soundings Surveys Searches PERSPECTIVES: Children Society Education THEMES: Purposes & values Learning & teaching Curriculum & assessment Quality & standards Diversity & inclusion Settings & professionals Parenting, caring & educating Beyond the school Structures & phases Funding & governance

11 THE FINAL REPORT: SCOPE OF THE CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The overall picture Childrens lives Understanding childhood Childhood, difference and diversity Foundations and stages Aims and values The curriculum Pedagogy Assessment and testing Quality, standards and accountability Primary schools Schools and other agencies Teachers: expertise, training and deployment Teachers: status, leadership and workforce reform Governance, funding and policy

12 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: EXPERTISE AND STAFFING The long-standing failure to resolve the mismatch between the curriculum to be taught, the focus of teacher training and the staffing of primary schools must be resolved without further delay. The principle to be applied is the one of entitlement adopted throughout this report: children have a right to a curriculum which is consistently well-taught regardless of the perceived significance of its various elements or the amount of time devoted to them … Primary schools should be staffed with sufficient flexibility to allow this principle to be applied … The urgency of this task, and its potential cost, require a full national primary staffing review, Review primary school staffing (recommendations 118-19, 124-28, 132-33) Undertake a full review of current and projected primary school staffing. Ensure that schools have the teacher numbers, expertise and flexibility to deliver high standards across the full curriculum. Develop and deploy alternative primary teaching roles to the generalist class teacher without losing its benefits. Clarify and properly support the role of teaching assistant.

13 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: TEACHER EDUCATION,TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT Initial teacher training and continuing professional development should move from models premised on compliance with received official wisdom to critical engagement, on the basis that this not only makes for better teaching, but is a minimal position from which to advance the learning, empowerment, autonomy and citizenship of the pupil … Reform teacher education (recommendations 119-23, 128-31) Align teacher education with new aims, curriculum, and approaches to pedagogy. Refocus initial training on childhood, learning, teaching, curriculum and domain knowledge, together with open exploration of fundamental questions of value and purpose. Examine alternative ITT routes for different primary teaching roles and re-open debate about a 2-year primary PGCE. Replace current TDA professional standards by a framework validated by professional development research and pupil learning outcomes. Balance CPD support for inexperienced and less able teachers with freedom and respect for the experienced and talented.

14 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: CHILDHOOD The Review is convinced by the evidence that a sense of agency is vital for both learning and wellbeing, and this features prominently both in our proposed aims for primary education and in our account of pedagogy … There is much more to childrens lives than school … The worth and impact of childrens lives outside school should be respected, as should the rights of parents and carers to bring up children in their own ways, and home-school relations should be seen as respectful and reciprocal rather than unilateral. Childhood should be understood in terms of childrens present as well as future needs and capabilities, and their right to a rich array of experiences which will lay the foundations for lifelong learning … Children should be actively engaged in decisions which affect their education … Children are now viewed as competent and capable learners, given the right linguistic and social environment and teaching which engages, stimulates, challenges and scaffolds their understanding. Respect and support childhood (recommendations 4-21) Respect childrens experience, voices and rights Build on new research on childrens development, learning, needs and capabilities Ensure that teacher education is fully informed by these perspectives.

15 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: FOUNDATIONS AND STRUCTURES The central issue is the character and quality of what our youngest children encounter, whether in pre- school or school settings, What matters is that the provision is right. At the moment … in reception classes it often is not …If the provision is right, then starting age ceases to be an issue. New structures for early years and primary education (recommendations 22-31) Strengthen and extend early learning provision: secure proper learning entitlement for children aged 3-6 and extend to age 2 in areas of social disadvantage and for children with special educational needs. Extend the EYFS to age 6. Replace KS1/2 by a single primary phase from 6-11. Initiate full and open debate about the starting age for compulsory schooling. Raise the qualifications of those working in the EY sector within the framework of a unified EY workforce strategy.

16 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: AIMS, VALUES AND PRINCIPLES Policies on the curriculum, assessment, standards, inspection, teacher training and much else relating to primary education lack direction unless or until we ask what primary education is for … Although it is desirable to have a single set of aims for the whole of schooling, the needs of children and the imperatives of their education at different stages are also quite distinct … We reject the claim in the final Rose report that there is a considerable match between our aims for primary education and the QCA secondary aims which Rose proposes should now apply to primary education as well. Start with aims (recommendations 32-37) Establish a new and coherent set of aims, values and principles for 21 st century primary education, in addition to any wider aims for the schooling system as a whole Make the aims drive rather than follow curriculum, teaching, assessment, schools and educational policy.

17 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: AIMS LEARNING, KNOWING AND DOING Exploring, knowing, understanding, making sense Fostering skill Exciting the imagination Enacting dialogue THE INDIVIDUAL Well-being Engagement Empowerment Autonomy SELF, OTHERS AND THE WIDER WORLD Encouraging respect & reciprocity Promoting interdependence & sustainability Empowering local, national & global citizenship Celebrating culture & community

18 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: THE CURRICULUM PROBLEM As seen by the Rose Review How can we best help primary class teachers solve the quarts into pint pots problem of teaching 13 subjects, plus religious education, to sufficient depth, in the time available? The QCA, with the help of subject experts, is on the case and we will do our best to solve it by the time we get to the final report. As seen by the Cambridge Primary Review As children move through the primary phase, their statutory entitlement to a broad and balanced education is increasingly but needlessly compromised by a standards agenda which combines high stakes testing and the national strategies exclusive focus on literacy and numeracy. The most conspicuous casualties are the arts, the humanities and those kinds of learning which require time for talking, problem-solving and the extended exploration of ideas. Memorisation and recall have come to be valued more than understanding and enquiry, and transmission of information more than the pursuit of knowledge in its fuller sense. Plus - The detachment of curriculum from aims … Prescription and micro-management … A divided curriculum: the basics and the rest … The pernicious dichotomy: standards vs breadth … A muddled discourse: subjects, knowledge and skills …A nettle ungrasped: expertise, staffing and training. Rose is a tidying-up operation rather than the promised root and branch reform … The debate about the purposes, content and quality of the primary curriculum remains wide open.

19 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: CURRICULUM IMPERATIVES A new curriculum (recommendations 38-53) Introduce a new primary curriculum which: is firmly aligned with the proposed aims, values and principles Is grounded in the Reviews evidence about childhood, society, the wider world and primary education guarantees childrens entitlement to breadth, depth and balance, and to high standards in all the proposed domains, not just some of them ensures that language, literacy and oracy are paramount combines a national framework with protected local elements encourages greater professional flexibility and creativity Wind up the primary national strategy and re-integrate literacy and numeracy with the rest of the curriculum.

20 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: CURRICULUM ALTERNATIVES The Community Curriculum 30% of teaching time Overall framework and Programmes of study Locally proposed NON-STATUTORY Domains Arts and creativity Citizenship and ethics Faith and belief Language, oracy and literacy Mathematics Physical and emotional health Place and time Science and technology Aims Wellbeing Engagement Empowerment Autonomy Encouraging respect and reciprocity Promoting interdependence and sustainability Empowering local, national and global citizenship Celebrating culture and community Exploring, knowing, understanding and making sense Fostering skill Exciting the imagination Enacting dialogue A New Primary Curriculum The National Curriculum 70% of teaching time Overall framework Nationally determined STATUTORY Programmes of study Nationally proposed NON-STATUTORY

21 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: PEDAGOGY It is of course teaching, not testing, which drives up standards … We must now work to strengthen what, according to international research, separates the best teachers from the rest: their depth of knowledge and engagement with what is to be taught, the quality and cognitive power of the classroom interaction they orchestrate, and their skill in assessing and providing feedback on pupils learning – all day, every day, not just in Year 6 and not just in literacy and numeracy. Central prescription of teaching methods and lesson content should now cease … Teaching should be taken out of the political arena and given back to teachers. There is a necessary relationship between how teachers think about their practice and how children learn. Pupils will not learn to think for themselves if their teachers are merely expected to do as they are told. A pedagogy of evidence and principle (recommendations 54-61) Work towards a pedagogy of repertoire rather than recipe, and of principle rather than prescription. Ensure that teaching and learning are properly informed by research. Re-instate the principle that it is not for government or government agencies to tell teachers how to teach. Avoid pedagogical fads and fashions and act instead on those aspects of learning and teaching, notably spoken language, where research evidence strongly converges.

22 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: ASSESSMENT SATs are emphatically not the only available form of summative assessment … There is an urgent need for a thorough reform of the assessment system, going well beyond the May 2009 report of the DCSF expert group … Childrens learning across all aspects of the curriculum, including their developing capacity to learn, should be assessed formatively throughout the primary phase and summatively before transfer to secondary school … No single assessment procedure should be expected to perform both formative and summative functions … Moving to valid, reliable and properly moderated procedures for a broader approach to assessment will require careful research and deliberation. Reform assessment (recommendations 62-74) Retain summative pupil assessment at the end of the primary phase, but uncouple assessment for accountability from assessment for learning. Replace current KS2 literacy/numeracy SATs by a system which assesses and reports on childrens achievement in all areas of their learning, with minimum of disruption and without distorting what it seeks to assess. Monitor school and system performance through sample testing. Make greater use of teacher assessment.

23 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: ACCOUNTABILITY AND STANDARDS The official evidence on whether standards in primary education have improved is unsafe. At its heart are two areas of difficulty: the validity and reliability of the chosen procedures, especially before 2000; and the historical tendency to treat test scores in limited aspects of literacy and numeracy as proxies for educational standards as a whole. We take it as axiomatic that in a public system of education teachers and schools should be fully accountable to parents, children, government and the electorate for what they do. We reject any suggestion that our proposals for the reform of assessment and inspection imply otherwise. For us, the issue is not whether schools should be accountable, but for what and by what means. Strengthen accountability, redefine standards (recommendations 40, 47, 53, 75-85, 150) Move forward from debating whether schools and teachers should be accountable (they should) and concentrate instead on how. Redefine primary education standards as the quality of learning in all curriculum domains, knowledge and skills to which children are entitled, not just some of them. Develop a model of school inspection which is in line with the proposed aims and principles.

24 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: SCHOOLS FOR THE FUTURE Initiatives like ECM and the Childrens Plan are changing the remit of primary schools, while this Review has argued for schools enhanced role both in and as communities. At the same time there are pressures to extend schools specialist space and resources … To avoid piecemeal development, there should be a full discussion of the concept of a primary school for the first part of the 21 st century. Schools for the community and the future (recommendations 86-117) Build on recent initiatives encouraging multi-agency working, and increase support for schools to help them ensure that the growing range of childrens services professionals work in partnership with each other and with parents. Strengthen mutual professional support through clustering, federation, all-through schools and the pooling of expertise. Protect small schools, especially in rural areas; heed the educational arguments for retaining the remaining middle schools. Take an innovative approach to school design and timetabling which marries design and function and properly reflects the proposed aims for primary education.

25 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: THE FUNDING OF PRIMARY EDUCATION The primary/secondary funding differential is based on long-outdated assumptions about curriculum, teaching and learning at the primary stage and the professional expertise these require, and should be eliminated … Funding should be at a level to enable schools to meet the obligations of an entitlement curriculum … There should be a new funding formula preceded … by a full staffing review. Reform school funding (recommendations 149-51) Eliminate the primary/secondary funding differential. Ensure that primary school funding is determined by educational and curricular needs. Devise and cost alternative models of curriculum/needs led primary school staffing. Set increased costs against savings from terminating the primary national strategy (PNS), transferring its budget to schools, and otherwise reducing government control and infrastructure.

26 MATTERS FOR DEBATE: THE POLICY PROCESS The experiment in centralised reform has produced important and necessary changes in relation to children and childrens services, but in relation to curriculum and pedagogy there is widespread agreement that it has gone too far … It has also been extremely expensive … The politicisation of primary education has also gone too far. Discussion has been blocked by derision, truth has been supplanted by myth and spin, and alternatives to current arrangements have been reduced to crude dichotomy. The apparent demise of the national strategies, and the governments promise to replace centrally-directed reform by school self-determination, might seem to make redundant some of this reports recommendations … But a process which has concentrated so much power at the centre, and over the course of two decades has so decisively re-configured the relationship between government and teachers, cannot be instantly unpicked. Centrally-determined versions of teaching … are all that many younger teachers know. Reform the policy process (recommendations 50-53 and 143-53) Re-balance the responsibilities of the DCSF, local authorities and schools. Replace top-down control and prescription by professional empowerment, mutual accountability and respect for research evidence and professional experience. Make good the wider democratic deficit. Abandon the discourses of derision, false dichotomy and myth, and strive to ensure that the education debate at last exemplifies rather than negates what education should be about.


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