NC23: Memorandum submitted by Association for the Study of Primary Education



Some detailed papers will be sent to you by post-we received notification of this enquiry only three days ago. Our response therefore is briefer than we would want for such an important investigation and we have had to gather together several topics and give here only an outline response.


Aspe looks to research based work-and links this to a valued school membership;its positioning is therefore very distinct.***


Outline response:

-a National Curriculum for England

There have been many gains and losses and many national curricula since 1988.The current administration does look to social inclusion and equality which is most welcome to Aspe but there are real problems and limitations.The rhetoric is worthy of your investigation.

The central Government exerts quite enormous control of the primary curriculum looking to performance / accountability and a performance management regime.We would think that these need to be investigated.


-A National Curriculum will require a Government agency to implement its curriculum;thus QCA.

The writer has had good and very productive relationships with at least one of the QCA teams.


-There are many adverse consequences resulting from national testing.

National testing has many real problems at many levels-we can examine these further with you.


-Aspe looking for any positive impact from testing would draw your attention to the teacher assessment element and its linkage to assessment for learning and personalised learning.We need to further link this to reflection on children as learners.We are not certain of your approach to this.It needs to be a central issue in your enquiry.


-You need then to consider children as learners and how children learn as a priority.


-Related to this is the review of the primary curriculum by Sir Jim Rose.If it is to be "root and branch" children's learning will need to be considered with care.

We can elaborate further.


-We presume that you are accessing the curricular review being undertaken by the team based at Cambridge?("Robin Alexander review")


-Aspe is particularly concerned with the role of teachers in any future development of the National Curriculum.Primary teacher professionalism is central to Aspe.The impact of Labour's policies on this area is worthy of considered analysis.Aspe members have investigated this area.


-You should grasp the importance of teaching assistants in the primary classroom, a change of great magnitude(see print documentation to follow)



We will then write further(and more substantially) to you by GPO mail.This postal package will include a research summary based on visits to 50 schools across England,interviews with 188 teachers and 50 lesson observations-so quite a large scale.(It will also be mailed to Sir Jim Rose's review team.)It was prepared under the direction of Professor Rosemary Webb( Universities of Manchester/York) a recent past Aspe Chair/President and founding Aspe member.


14 March 2008