Cambridge Primary Review: Towards a New Primary Curriculum

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On 20 February, the Cambridge Primary Review published a special report on the primary curriculum, Towards a New Primary Curriculum. This is in two parts; Part 1: Past and Present identifies issues, describes and contextualises current arrangements, analyses the Review's evidence about strengths and weaknesses of the existing curriculum, and recommends what should change. Part 2: The Future provides a summary of the main points, other matters to be resolved, and proposals for reform. Launched in 2006, and following last year's 29 interim reports, this was published in advance of the independent Review's final report.


Positive aspects identified within the report include the benefits of a national curriculum as well as the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development. However, the evidence pointed to a large number of what the report identifies as ‘weaknesses'; many of these relate to the pressure created by an overcrowded curriculum which ultimately privileges ‘basic' subjects, the testing regime, and the standards agenda. The "alternative vision" presented within this report incorporates twelve aims, headed by well-being and empowerment, which "interlock with eight ‘domains' of knowledge, skill, enquiry and disposition". A framework is provided through which schools could translate this vision into reality, although these changes would not be possible within the current system of SATs and league tables; suggestions on how these could be replaced are expected in the final report.  


Whilst the report "expresses the hope that the two reviews can be seen as complementary", it will be interesting to see how the findings and proposals compare with those of the Rose Review, the consultation deadline for which is 28 February.


A full review of Towards a New Primary Curriculum will be published on the TTRB in due course.


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