January 2011
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The future of primary history

Many of our primary colleagues will be wondering what is going to happend to the primary curriculum now that the Rose review’s proposals are dead in the water. Last week’s announcement from the DFE spells it out.

 Ministers announced last June their decision not to proceed with the new primary curriculum proposed by the previous government, which was based on Sir Jim Rose’s review. While ministers recognise that there was much of value in the work that Sir Jim did, they believe that his final proposals were too prescriptive in terms of how schools should teach, while diluting the focus on what they should teach. Ministers were particularly concerned that the proposed curriculum watered down some subject disciplines, such as history and geography, to an unacceptable degree and would have damaged standards in our primary schools.


So we know what Gove doesn’t want. If he is sensible he will revert back to the situation in 2009 in which primary schools taught those history-led topics they felt were successful, often adding units beyond the NC requirement. Keep the same skills, keep the same content, but allow for flexibility, and creativity in linking subjects. In other words the best of the old and the more exciting possibilities of the new. I was no great fan of Rose’s incoherent mis-mash history, so I’m not surprised to see it ditched. But we must be careful what we wish for.If Gove suddenly decides that he knows best and starts prescribing the facts that pupils must know at KS1 and 2 he is in for an almighty fight from primary teachers-and me!!

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