Playing with education: After the Rose Report does education have any meaning?
The Interim Report on primary education by Sir Jim Rose has stimulated discussion about the changing nature of the curriculum and the possible replacement of subjects such as history and geography by ‘areas of understanding’ – otherwise known as themes or topics. However, Rose himself has said he is not in favour of abandoning subjects, and is aware that much ‘project work’ in the 1960s and 1970s was too vague to be called proper education. Rose has also implied that the curriculum should focus on an expanded definition of literacies across all subjects and has called for more ‘play’ in primary schools. However, he does not appear to mean literacy in the traditional sense of reading and writing and his definition of play is unclear. With apparent widespread confusion about what the findings actually are and what Rose actually means, the discussion of his report becomes more urgent. More broadly, the ‘interim’ nature of the report in a context of Rose’s own call for ongoing curriculum ‘review’, raises further questions about the coherence of current education policy at a time when traditional academic subjects seem irrelevant to many people. What do his proposals mean and why have they had such a confusing impact on teachers, parents and the media?
The Interim Report can be accessed on Teachernet.
Mark Taylor, with a response by Jenny Payne