Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Primaries Need Proper Teaching

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Primaries Need Proper Teaching

Article excerpt

LONDON primary schools' poor SATs results are inexcusable. Yet plenty of excuses are given: child poverty; special needs; English not a first language; parents who don't read to their children at home.

It is the prime duty of the primary teacher to ensure children master reading, writing, comprehension and composition, and how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, in their heads and on paper, not on calculators. It is in their power to insist on this, whatever teacher trainers and head teachers think. Teachers should take the initiative and rearrange the furniture for whole-class teaching of the three Rs: with children seated in rows of front-facing separate desks, interacting with the teacher.

We forget how keen and bright young Londoners are. Seven-year-olds should normally be independent readers, liberated at an early age for an exciting subject-based education.

Let teachers teach; and let education commence.

K Ivens, education director, Real Action SINCE I took over as head of Chingford Hall School in September 2007, we have improved from one of the worst primaries in the country to one of the best. Part of this has come from careful assessment of youngsters as they arrive, then carefully monitoring the intervention they receive. Partly it is through not just focusing on SAT results but on developing children holistically, which is what delivers the best results in the end, even for children with complex needs.

Also crucial is a team of excellent teachers supporting each other's work. …

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