Neither National Nor a Curriculum? (FORUM 3)
Author: ROBIN ALEXANDER
This article examines the government’s view, as revealed in its June 2012 National Curriculum proposals, of the purposes and character of the primary curriculum as a whole. The proposals are found to be deficient in a number of respects: in their naive, selective and inflated use of international evidence; in their treatment of aims as no more than cosmetic; in their impoverished take on culture, knowledge and values; in their reduction of educational standards to test performance in the 3Rs; in their perpetuation of the damaging Victorian legacy of a two-tier curriculum; and in their characterisation of spoken language, despite what has long been known about its vital role in development, learning and teaching, as little more than ‘idle chatter’. In sum, the proposals are judged to betray contempt for other than politically-compliant evidence and to fall seriously short of what a national curriculum minimally entails.