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ASE & the General Election - curl up with a good book until it’s over

1 April 2010

Following the passage of the truncated Children Schools and Families Act, in the wash-up phase before the dissolution of Parliament, ASE members in England, particularly in Primary Education could be feeling a little dismayed.  Having expected the reforms proposed by the Rose review to become law, and having received glossy documents outlining the changes, what happens next - and how can we plan for the future?

This feeling of being left high and dry is in part a function of the high level of constraint that has surrounded teachers since the introduction of the National Curriculum.  There are still three weeks to go until the election, however, and some suggestions for passing the time would be helpful.

One activity will be deciding how to vote on May 6.  As an apolitical organisation, ASE won’t help you with this, although we are looking with interest at the party manifestos and have had useful and informative discussions with politicians in recent weeks.

Much more useful, I suggest, would be to do what I think is termed "sticking to the knitting".  Practising teachers will have plenty to keep them busy, the job in hand being all too mind and body-consuming.  But this might be a good time to reflect on what science education should be like, what it should comprise, what learning styles should be employed and so on.  And how primary science can be as stimulating and full of wonder and excitement as the best teaching can make it. During the consultation phase on the Rose proposals for the primary Curriculum in England, I met a number of competent, enthusiastic, assured head teachers with a clear view of what primary education should be like, and with the commitment to take that view through.  They took their clarity of vision through to practice in their schools regardless (almost) of the prevailing requirements, and because it was rooted in sound practice, supported by research and there were high quality classroom teachers and assistants, it was successful by all measures.

I can commend, of course, ASE’s excellent "Guide to Primary Science Education" among many other sources to help with this reflection and also the other works of the various contributors, including our immediate past President, Wynne Harlen.  I also attended a discussion of the Cambridge Review of Primary Education recently led by Robin Alexander - the review is well worth reading.

Finally, I’d be very interested to hear any views on this.

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