Mr. Benn’s Fancy Dress Curriculum

@TeacherToolkitIn 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the ‘most followed teacher on social media in the UK’. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the ‘500 Most Influential People in Britain’ by The Sunday… Read more about @TeacherToolkitWhat government policies are to blame for the recent decline in teachers?The numbers of teachers of creative subjects are declining, while design and technology is in its death throes.The Department for Education (DfE) forces teachers to work like Mr Benn, the cartoon character from the 70s – the alternative to Nick Gibb MP.Every day, he leaves his house and arrives at a fancy-dress shop where he is invited to try on a particular outfit. He then leaves through a magic door at the back of the changing room and enters a world appropriate to his costume, where he has a magical adventure before returning to his normal life.This is very much like education.We go on a whistle-stop adventure of character education, “outstanding” hoop-jumping, rapid progress, acting on feedback and use of textbooks. Only to be told a few years later that Ofsted preferences and DfE claims lacked any substantial evidence that any of it actually improved standards.An EBacc curriculum, specifically a 90 per cent compulsory measure, will choke creativity out of every school across the country.Image: Joey BagstockThe Latest Costume?I wonder how many schools and teachers feel like Mr. Benn wearing the latest DfE costume? Are we jumping hoops and following fads?The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) policy is a significant and serious distraction from other far more important issues in education and will impact on the life chances of students in every school.If you think the EBacc curriculum is a good thing, there’s a high chance you’ve never been involved in the teaching or direct management of a creative subject in a school.This comment from a parent sums up the mood:“I’ve had this exact argument with my daughters school. She wants to do health and social care, yet [the school] insist she takes French because of the EBacc … we’ve taken it to governors and their response was, “she is too intelligent to not do the Ebacc pathway. This has been to the detriment of her mental health and well-being. (Rebecca)How many more of our schools are making these sorts of decisions for students, because the DfE imposes a specific curriculum and measure upon schools? When will this nonsense stop? And at what point will the DfE stop promoting academisation and its free school moment – autonomous from a national curriculum – if a further measure on our schools will do the very opposite to this (apparent) freedom?Continue …Is the EBacc to blame for the decline in Design Technology?To read my full article, click the image below..Feature:This is my 6th published article for @SchoolsWeek, a weekly newspaper covering all schools. Schools Week is a printed and online weekly newspaper covering the schools sector in England; aimed at those with a broad interest in education policy and finance, typically aspiring, middle/senior managers, leaders and governors across all schools.My Schools Week profile and past articles are here; you can subscribe to read their articles first!TT.Related

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