The current UK curriculum is not fit for over 50% of our students.
When you educate a child, you educate a village and an entire nation. That is why you should never give up on any child, anywhere in the world — Unicef
As political parties change so does the priority for education. Generally speaking, a Labour government favours a vocational curriculum. A Conservative government, a more academic curriculum.
My Teaching Environment
I have in previous posts mentioned the school I am Deputy Head for. I work in a school, that specialises in teaching young people who struggle in mainstream. Some of my students have ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism. Some simply can not work with the structure and routine of a busy secondary school.
The school we have is smaller than a traditional school. In contrast to the classroom of 30 students, we have a maximum of 6 per class. Despite teaching in this environment, we are expected to teach the national curriculum.
Our success relies on the achievement of our students. Students that haven’t picked up a pen before. Who have exhibited behaviour that sees them out of the class, more than in. These students are expected to pass 7+ GCSE’s, for the school to be seen as a success. This is the current assessment criteria for Ofsted.
Changing The School Environment
Currently, we are expected to do the same as secondary schools, but with different results.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. — Albert Einstein
Students that have never engaged in education, are expected to engage with the curriculum. Why would they change? We have changed nothing for them.
Some of our students succeed and do make the most of the academic curriculum. Many don’t though, this is why I favour a vocational curriculum.
My type of students are more engaged with practical hands-on lessons. The essence of a vocational curriculum. The vocational curriculum can lead to professions our students will succeed in. Bricklaying, Mechanics and Hair and Beauty, being more popular. Students learn practical skills and sit assessments without having to pick up a pen.
Within vocational education, subjects such as Math and English should also be studied. These are essential lessons for all professions. The academic subjects I would lose are RE, Geography and even to a certain extent Science.
Math and English can be taught vocationally. Ratio can be taught to prospective builders with regards to cement mixing. Area can be taught in relation to carpeting a room. The practical/vocational application of academic subjects. English can be taught in the concept of keeping a diary of work or writing adverts for your company. When you think out of the box, children will succeed.
Academic education has its relevance to many students. Vocational education will be relevant to different students.
Isn’t it time we stopped adopting this one systems suits all approach. Shouldn’t we be treating students as the individuals they are?
A mixed curriculum, would play to the strength of many, not just the elite.