What you won’t be reading about the Primary Review

The final report from the Cambridge Primary Review has been published.

It claims to be the most comprehensive review of primary education in England for 40 years and with 14 authors, 24 chapters, 78 formal conclusions, 75 recommendations and over 600 pages, there’s a lot to take in.

The final report press release and briefing documents pick out some of the key findings and present them within three themes.

  • The condition of childhood today
  • The state of the society and world in which children are growing up
  • The focus and impact of government policy

Some of the specific areas outlined in the report include:

Standards – the overall “picture is neither as rosy nor as bleak as opposing camps tend to claim” – but the term has become overused, poorly defined and abused within political discourse.

Inequality – there is a “persistent ‘long tail’ of underachievement, in which Britain compares unfavourably with many other countries” – Government interventions such as Every Child Matters, the Children’s Plan and Narrowing the Gap are welcome but more is needed.

Curriculum – the report disputes some of the findings of the recent Rose review of the primary curriculum and proposes “a curriculum which is driven by … clearly-specified domains of knowledge, skill and enquiry, central to which are language, oracy and literacy”.

Assessment – the report is critical of assessment practices in primary education and recommends that “assessment for accountability should be uncoupled from assessment for learning” – specifically SATs should be replaced.

Pedagogy – it questions whether the emergence of a “state theory of learning” is useful and recommends that “the principle that it is not for government or government agencies to tell teachers how to teach, abandoned in 1997, should be reinstated”.

… there is much more to the report and the website includes interim reports on specific issues that have emerged over the last 2 years, details of the evidence gathering process and background on the report process – to enable you to get beyond the headlines that kids shouldn’t start school until they are six.

Intute features more Internet resources on the topic of Primary Education.