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Sunday, May 13, 2012

National Curriculum in England

As Newbridge Primary School is a publically funded school, it must follow the prescriptive demands of the National Curriculum for all subjects: mathematics, English, science, history, geography, citizenship, religious education, music, physical education, modern foreign language, ICT, design and technology, and art and design.  The list of the subjects themselves is quite long, and the standards under each of them give teachers all across the country a long checklist for their classrooms.  Some schools see this as incredibly daunting and restrictive, as they work within the confines of the government’s ideas of what is best, but Newbridge is not one of these schools.  John Crocker, the headteacher (principal equivalent), does not see the National Curriculum as weight on his school, but rather as a rough guide as to what teacher’s should interweave into their classroom communities.  The whole school works together to decide the best curricular path for its students and then sees how the National Curriculum will fit.  Unfortunately, I only really saw Miss Amies teach, although I visited two other classrooms briefly on spate occasions.  In addition, I did not observe Miss Amies teach nearly half of these subjects as each Wednesday followed the same routine.  These together limit my experience, and thus understanding, of Newbridge’s delivery of the National Curriculum.  I witnessed a literacy lesson on writing every day I spent with Miss Amies and even had the opportunity to teach one myself.  I can confidently say that although Miss Amies, and the rest of the educators, do not make the National Curriculum a priority, lessons all tie back to some aspect of it in the end.

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