Curriculum review – Ideas So Far

The Expert panel for curriculum review has been sitting for some while now (since the ‘Importance of Teaching’ white paper in 2010).  The aim (you’ll remember) was to ‘slim down’ the National Curriculum.

The thinking so far (as I understand it) is that there may be 3 broad categories of subject:

  • Core – Compulsory for all, formal assessment, league tables.
  • Foundation – Program of study and attainment targets – condensed. Not compulsory for all
  • Basic – no program of Study.  No attainment targets

Schools would be expected to offer all subjects and most pupils would follow a broad choice.

It’s important to stress that there is no decision so far but here is the picture that is emerging for KS3 and 4:

  • Core – Maths English and Science
  • Foundation – Art, Music,(both KS3 only), Geography, History MFL,  PE
  • Basic – Citizenship, ICT, D&T, ‘The Arts’.

Is a risk assessment needed?

With todays announcement from Dropbox that user data was actually stolen I was wondering if people thought that it was necessary to carry out a risk assessment before using the variety of services out there to hold pupil data – whether this be Dropbox, Google apps or any of the educational companies that are available (remember Sparkle Box?)

Dropbox Pro accounts get doubled for the same price

Engadget Article about dropbox

Its not like I’m doing anything wrong

Heard this one:?

“There is a really nice App that allows you to Rip YouTube videos which you can play back to your class, it lets you get round the problem when your IT department are being really difficult


When I say rip – it sounds very dodgy, what I mean is just copy them to my iPad.”


I think that the relevant quotes from the terms and conditions on YouTube are:

  • 4C. You agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Service itself, the Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate
  • 5C. You agree not to circumvent, disable or otherwise interfere with security-related features of the Service or features that prevent or restrict use or copying of any Content or enforce limitations on use of the Service or the Content therein.

I heard today of one school that has told it’s staff that it will not assist with the downloading of YouTube videos and that ALL materials used in lessons should be copyright valid. 

Where do you stand?

3 Bad Teachers

In an interesting Article (unrelated to ICT) Alex Wood suggests 3 types of teacher that might be classed as less than ‘Good’

  1. There are the under-confident, under-skilled but improvable teachers. For them to improve, schools must quickly identify such weaknesses and then to provide the necessary support and professional development which such teachers need. That happens.
  2. More significant, and intransigent, are the burned-out teachers who might once have been high quality but have lost their zest. Their lessons are dull rather than poor, their expectations are low, their classroom management is draconian rather than proportionate, their staffroom chat is negative and cynical.  They also must be spotted, supported and developed. That will not always be sufficient. In some cases a move to another school, another setting, can be an opportunity to revive commitment and enthusiasm. If these strategies don’t work, there is a bigger problem.
  3. There is a small cohort of very poor teachers. School managers know them. There are mechanisms, which can lead to dismissal, to deal with such teachers. Providing these procedures are properly implemented, my own experience is that the unions will co-operate with appropriate action, first to support, but second (where necessary), to discipline and dismiss a teacher who does not meet the professional standards.

Interesting food for though in the context of the so called plethora of ‘dull ICT lessons’.

ICT in The National Curriculum

Much has changed and much is the same.

Secretary of State Michael Gove made his announcement today, in short:

  • ICT remains a compulsory part of the curriculum until 2014, although, as expected, the current programmes of study and attainment targets are disapplied from September.

It seems that the new curriculum idea will "be much shorter to allow for the maximum level of innovation at school level in the development of content"

New draft Programmes of Study for primary English, Mathematics and Science have also been published today.

Details are here

More about coding

I remember helping a friend ‘de-coke’ the cylinder head of his car.  I’d done this several times on other cars and was very confident, the trouble was that this engine used ‘wet liners’ and we ended up with a pile a scrap metal and looking forward to a hefty bill at the garage.  Recently a warning light came on my dashboard and the mechanic at the garage had to plug the car into his diagnostic computer to determine what was wrong – the eventual repair was carried out MUCH quicker than I could have done and even at £60 an hour was money well spend.  I also used to write software but to do anything useful now is well beyond my ability and somebody who is all set up for this could do it quicker and better than I.

A nice article by Terry Friedman brings together some thoughts about the computer equivalent of this, he calls it ‘Nostalgia’ but there are many people without a long history in programming who seem to share the same view.

I’ve yet to see a valid argument to explain why people need to be able to program (or to be able to build computers for that matter).  To write a program to do almost anything worthwhile requires a lot of knowledge and understanding – it’s a bit like changing a car engine, there was a time when this was useful but now the specialist can do it better and cheaper than you.

Useful Posters

Google have produced a series of posters that might be helpful in the classroom. Examples include a useful one about different search terms and another about Google Scholar that might be good or Y11 – Y13.  There is en a useful on about Better searching.  Just the thing to brighten up that clasroom (or staffroom) display.


Thanks to Primary Nuggets for this link.


The Elephant

Michael Morpurgo was asked yesterday why pre school children could read words like ‘elephant’ but not ‘the’, his reply was that it was because an Elephant is interesting.

People sometimes ask about how to engage pupils in ‘spreadsheets’.  The answer is the same – make it interesting.  Who could fail to be fascinated when data is communicated with clarity.

In this TED talk Hans Roslings makes the point is that there is no link between religion and childbirth (the hypothesis suggested by the title) but the result is awesome and affects us all.

The ICT Conference 2012

This years conference takes place on the 4th July at the University of the West of England.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Richard Noble, OBE – Entrepreneur and record breaker
  • Tim Rylands – Inspirational teacher with a love of the creative potential of technology
  • David Brown – National Adviser for ICT for Ofsted
  • Russell Prue – ICT Evangelist and regular guest of the conference back by popular demand
  • Paul White & Oli Milroy– Education Through Expeditions connects explorers, scientists and researchers with schools through an online platform.

As always there is a full seminar list with plenty of choice for all levels and interests.




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