England’s new school curriculum is said to include fractions for five year olds and even learning computer programming in their first year of school.
The Telegraph reported that “David Cameron will unveil sweeping reforms to primary and secondary education today in an attempt to put England on par with the world’s top-performing countries and develop the ‘engineers, scientists, writers and thinkers of our future.’”
The new curriculum may seem a little strange considering how much they are going to be expecting from young children.
Michal Gove, the Education Secretary, said “This curriculum is a foundation for learning the vital advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need.”
Cameron hailed the new curriculum as “rigorous, engaging and tough.” “As a parent this is exactly the kind of thing I want my children to be learning. And as prime minister I know this revolution in education is critical for Britain’s prosperity in the decades to come,” according to The Guardian.
So what are some of these changes? Below are just a few of the curriculum changes that are going to be made and applied come the Fall of September 2014. A more detailed list can be found here.
In English, pupils will be expected to spell a list of almost 240 advanced words by the end of primary school, master grammar and punctuation and read more novels, poems and plays in full, including Shakespeare;
Science lessons will introduce pupils to evolution at primary school for the first time, increase the amount of practical and math-based work and scrap “vague”, non-scientific topics such as caring for animals and societal context;
In computing, pupils will be taught how to code and solve practical computer problems at 11 rather than using work processing packages.
They will also be taught internet safety at a much younger age, including how to keep personal details private. Pupils from the age of five will be taught how to create digital information and content, as well as learning how to write and test simple programs and to organize and store data.
At five, pupils will memorize and reason with “number bonds” up to 20 – allowing them to recognize and use sums such as 9+7=16 and 16-7=9 – tell the time and recognize and name 2-D and 3-D shapes.
From seven, pupils will recall and use the 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 times tables, add and subtract amounts of money to give change using pounds and pence and add and subtract simple fractions with the same denominators.
At secondary school, pupils will be taught to reason with algebra, geometry and rates of change.
Looking at this list, the next question would seem to be what kind of praise or disagreements this new curriculum will receive.
According to The Telegraph, Stephen Twigg, the Shadow Education Secretary, said: “This is now Michael Gove’s third attempt to rewrite the curriculum.
“He should listen to the experts and not try to write it himself based on his personal prejudices. We need a broad and balanced curriculum that prepares young people for the modern world and gives teachers in all schools the freedom to innovate.”
Recent news also brought up the Brooklyn Free School which promotes fun over testing. In theory, students at the Brooklyn Free School never have to touch a Number Two pencil or a standardized test. Students are not graded or ranked in any way. Their parents are most likely to give them homework for their own peace of mind.
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said Gove was expecting “an unprecedented amount of change” in schools, with the new curriculum on top of reforms to GCSEs, A-levels and vocational qualifications. “The timescale for implementation is far too compressed, with no indication that will be properly resourced,” Courtney said according to The Guardian.
What do you think of England’s new curriculum, which will include fractions and computers for those as young as five years old?
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