READING standards have declined as a result of the introduction of the national curriculum four years ago, according to the first major study into its impact.
The four-year study by researchers at Warwick University says that the pounds 500m spent on the reform has had little or no effect on the infant school curriculum. Only in science has there been a noticeable improvement.
Professor Jim Campbell and Dr Sean O'Neill say that both the Government, which claims the curriculum has raised standards, and its critics, who say schools and children have been damaged, are wrong. In fact, little has changed.
Professor Campbell said yesterday: "Few experiments in education can have cost teachers so much time and effort and delivered so little." His findings are based on interviews with more than 400 infant school teachers from more than half the local authorities in England and Wales. Nine out of ten said the curriculum had either had no effect on reading standards or had lowered them. The study says this may be because teachers are so busy with the nine-subject curriculum that they have less time for reading.
Teachers also believed standards declined in art, music, physical and religious education, and in lessons about health, safety and social skills. In science, technology, history and geography, however, teachers thought standards had been raised. …