Friday, 25 April 2008

Dunn Deal and Curriculum

Can you guarantee all humanities and arts subjects and modern foreign languages currently provided as part of the timetabled curriculum would remain so within the proposed Academy?

It is impossible for any school to guarantee the continuation of any specific subject into the medium term and beyond. None of our existing county council schools would do so; we mustn't expect the Academy to do so either. Curriculum decisions at ULT-sponsored Academies are made by the principal and senior staff subject to central ULT frameworks and guidance. True, but this is much more the case for the academy- as it is all up to them. The academy, as is stated, is subject to central ULT frameworks. Let’s hope what is decided in Northamptonshire is exactly what we need in the Rother Valley.
It is ULT policy to offer a broad and balanced curriculum. Although the Academy would have specialisms of science with mathematics, a full curriculum (my italics) including humanities, arts subjects and modern foreign languages would of course be offered.
?!? How on earth can Cllr Dunn say this with any degree of authority? No one knows what the time-tabled curriculum will be like and the sponsors are under no obligation to tell us! Please, look at the consultation document, page 8. “The core provision will consist of English, mathematics, science, ICT, religious education, physical education, citizenship, PSHE, careers and work-related learning and enterprise”. The only mention of any other subjects are in a preceding paragraph: “A programme of enrichment activities and extracurricular opportunities will be developed to complement the formal curriculum.” In other academies, this has meant after-school clubs and the occasional themed taster (eg “Arts Week”). We have been told by well-informed authorities that academy curricula (from current) are unlikely to change drastically in the first couple of years. What about after that? Curricula in academies have narrowed dramatically compared to their predecessor schools. Is Cllr Dunn legally liable for promising this to parents if the academy doesn’t deliver? (after all, they’ve set out their proposals on page 8 of their consultation document- no full curriculum with humanities, arts and languages promised).
It is also guaranteed that all students at the Academy who have already begun the syllabus for external examinations in any subject would be able and encouraged to complete this qualification.
This is maybe the first re-assurance I have read thus far. Good, but :How is it guaranteed? Where?

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