New National Curriculum Is Already Outdated

Opinion / September 11, 2017

The bane of most teachers; the national curriculum instigates what and how the education of 8.5 million children of school age is processed and assessed.

Developed and controlled  by the Department for Education changes to the format of the curriculum are generally loathed by teachers. Course plans need to be reformatted and lesson plans updated. Allowing a nominal two years to identify and implement the changes, the outcome of any modifications can take a further five years to measure. Thus the total gestation period of  a curriculum change can be seven years.

During this period the commercial world in which children would enter at the end of their learning journey would have changed dramatically. The Internet alone has proclaimed that our lives will now be dominated by what are now known as ‘digital disruptors’. The ascent of the likes of Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Uber and AirBnb have radically changed our lives. In the past five years established conventions such as what we think, how we  express ourselves, how we shop and where we sleep have been shattered.  Some to our benefit, others to our detriment, these changes in our lives are instigated by third parties and to a degree open to their manipulation.

Monumental political changes such as Brexit has revealed a massive gap in our trading ability. The skills the UK once had have fallen by the wayside whilst the EU managed the process.  A mute point is how the next generation can be schooled to fill the huge skill gaps that have emerged. The nominal seven years of the curriculum time lag results in our skill base being obsolete before children enter the market.

To ensure we develop a relevant national curriculum the content needs to match speed of change. Much of the content would not be affected in say maths and English but there needs to be a dynamic input that reflects the specific potential that is emerging for the UK employment market. A course in entrepreneurship would not go amiss if we want home grown industry to emerge rather than rely on the big boys in the USA. Crucially the forecast needs of industry, commerce and trade must be identified.



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