January 2009

Tide~ is a teachers’ network responding to questions about Global Learning: how we enable the learning needs of young people in a global context.

We have been consulting widely with teachers, headteachers and local authority advisors about this, and about the interface of these debates [and practice] with current curriculum change.

This has included a series of conferences and consultation meetings in 2008 and early 2009, responding the challenges and opportunities provided for Global Learning by the Primary Curriculum Review.  We will be reporting shortly on these on this website.

The following summarises the main thoughts and concerns from the network in response to the Interim Report of the Primary Curriculum Review.

While the standards agenda dominates primary schools, any other changes are effectively a subset of it, and therefore constrained by it.  That agenda, including SATS, is ‘the elephant in the room’ when we talk about curriculum change.

If that constraint is addressed, then the Primary Curriculum Review offers real scope for a more flexible curriculum, with potential for teacher creativity, a recognition of the specific context of individual schools and a focus on learners.  All of these are things which the Tide~ network would welcome – and has often argued for.

The Interim Report is at present inadequate in how it addresses leamers’ needs in a global context.  However, we realise that there is much work being done on fleshing out the detail, and are hopeful that Global Learning concerns will be:

  • made explicit within all Areas of Learning [eg through importance statements, core concepts and processes, statements on breadth of study and curriculum opportunities];
  • asserted as a key context as part of a statement of the core aims of the curriculum.

In the latter instance, the current aims of the Secondary Curriculum [as included as an appendix to the Interim Report] seem to offer real potential.  Indeed, there is a sense in which a curriculum fully addressing those aims would also be a curriculum fit for Global Learning purposes.  How well will the curriculum match its own aims?

Despite the long lead-in period, we are concerned about whether there will be sufficient time for teachers and schools to plan and prepare for curriculum change, to learn from each other, to develop resources and build professional confidence around working in new ways.

In offering this feedback, we are acting as teachers and educators who see the global context as an essential part of learning in a 21st Century context, and not in any way as a group wishing to impose extra burdens on the curriculum.