Sir Michael Wilshaw says letter writing academics are out of step and need to get out of their ivory towers

Ofsted Chief Sir Michael Wilshaw believes the hundred academics who yesterday signed a letter complaining about proposed curriculum reforms are ‘out of step with concern among parents and business leaders’. This is from the Times…

England’s chief schools inspector has attacked academics who criticised the new national curriculum, ordering them “out of their ivory towers”.

Sir Michael Wilshaw accused them of failing to grasp the urgent need for a greater focus on core writing and maths skills. He attacked teaching standards in university schools of education, saying none had been rated outstanding since he introduced tougher inspection rules for teacher-training courses…

Sir Michael said children needed an element of rote learning, a grasp of basic facts and to master reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar before they could learn at a higher level, and many prep and private schools used a similar approach.

As a head teacher he had long seen a need to replace the national curriculum with one that emphasised such a more traditionalist approach, especially in maths and English, he said.

“I am extremely upset and concerned that there should be this level of criticism for what I think is absolutely essential – more rigour in the national curriculum and a greater focus on basic skills,” Sir Michael said.

“It’s really important that the public at large understand what the issues are and how urgent reform is to standards and that this sort of stuff can actually undermine the trajectory of improvement that has taken place over the last few years.”

The academics were out of step with concern among parents and business leaders, he said.

More at:  Get out of the ivory towers, academics told (subscription required) 

Are the academics out of step? If so, are they necessarily wrong? Or does Sir Michael make some good points? Share your thoughts with Schools Improvement Net using this form. 

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