SCHOOL STANDARDS: Week of Education Setbacks Ends with Damning Report on English Teaching

By Cassidy, Sarah | The Independent (London, England), February 5, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

SCHOOL STANDARDS: Week of Education Setbacks Ends with Damning Report on English Teaching


Cassidy, Sarah, The Independent (London, England)


DAMNING REPORTS by a government watchdog identified serious failings in teaching at primary and secondary schools yesterday, rounding off an embarrassing week for Ruth Kelly, the new Secretary of State for Education.

In the fourth blow to Tony Blair's record on a key election issue in four days, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said English lessons had deterred pupils from reading whole books while history teachers ignored Britain and concentrated on Adolf Hitler.

The watchdog also said, in reports on individual subjects, that there were too few maths teachers, that there was a squeeze on science for young children and that music teaching was too often a "lottery".

But the main source of the QCA's concern was its assessment of what had gone wrong in teaching English, and, particularly, in the nurturing of reading. Children now lacked the "stamina" to read whole books because of a drive to use only short extracts in English lessons, the watchdog said.

And an increasing "culture of dependence" had damaged pupils' ability to write creatively because highly structured classroom exercises had left them reliant on "pre-set structures and formats". When children did read books together as a class, they were often forced to study the same texts in consecutive years because of the very limited choice of books offered in schools.

Book such as The Iron Man, the children's classic by the late poet laureate Ted Hughes could be studied by children for three school years between the ages of nine and 11. Children in their final year of primary school tended to read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Anne Frank's Diary. But they were often expected to study them again during their first three years of secondary school.

The report warned: "A number of books were read across several years. This raises concerns about progression in reading both within and between key stages. At GCSE and A-level, the set texts have changed little in the last few years and there is a limited range of texts studied for examinations."

Maths lessons were being hampered by the shortage of well- qualified maths teachers in secondary schools. One in five secondary school maths teachers now lacked a good maths qualification, the QCA found.

There was also "widespread disquiet" over the narrowing of history teaching and the "Hitlerisation" of GCSE and A-level courses.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

SCHOOL STANDARDS: Week of Education Setbacks Ends with Damning Report on English Teaching
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?