The Independent is reporting that Nick Gibb has warned that schools are still relegating “timeless literature, scientific wonders and great historical events” to a “back seat” in the classroom in favour of teaching pupils “joyless” skills and processes”.
In a robust attack on the teaching profession, the schools minister Nick Gibb said he had witnessed “countless examples” of pupils being taught in ways that “systematically expunged” subject content in favour of fashionable “processes and concepts” that denied children the joy of learning…
However, his remarks have infuriated teaching unions which pointed out the Conservatives have already made extensive changes to the curriculum since 2010.
“Knowledge is a vital component of education,” said Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.
“You cannot be properly creative without it, nor can you solve challenging problems without mastering some basic skills first. The majority of teachers would actually agree with this, I think, so the minister should be wary of painting too bleak a picture.”
Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, added: “Nick Gibb’s views are profoundly wrong. He is wrong about teaching and he is wrong about learning in schools…”
In his speech, Mr Gibb said during his time in office he had visited around 400 schools and was often struck by the failure of teachers to instil robust knowledge and context into their teaching.
“As schools minister I watched thousands of classes, and have seen countless examples of this philosophy in action,” he said. “It always saddens me to see the thrilling content of education, be it timeless literature, scientific wonders, or great historical events, being relegated to a back seat, so that these joyless ‘skills’ and ‘processes’ can come to the fore…”
There’s a real entrenching of positions here between Nick Gibb and Christine Blower, with Russell Hobby finding a more conciliatory position.
What do you think? Does Nick Gibb have a point here – are facts useful things for children to learn and have they been inappropriately relegated to a back seat in schools?
Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…
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