Debate: How do government policy makers view the curriculum?

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By John CoeGeneral Secretary of the National Association for Primary Education

Teachers see the curriculum as subjects, to children it is simply ‘what happens’. But do government policy makers see this?

John Coe

I could not believe my ears. A government spokesman at the UK Education Forum had just offered a view of teachers that likened us to operatives on a production line. ‘A teacher is a supplier of a product to the end user,’ he said, ‘the product is the literacy hour and the end user is the child.’ This was a few years ago and since then, by small incremental steps, there has been a retreat (partly concealed from the public and the media) from such crass and inappropriate attitudes held inevitably by those who themselves have never taught. And of course, the literacy hour – that weapon of mass instruction – has vanished like so many other short-lived initiatives with which we have had to deal with and that too often got in the way of our work.

Classroom realities

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