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Primary Education News
News Gove curriculum will 'dumb down' education, say academics
Experts say 'endless lists of spellings, facts and rules' will not help develop children's ability to think or solve problems
A group of academics have warned that Michael Gove's national curriculum proposal will severely erode educational standards by "dumbing down" teaching and learning.
In a letter published in the Telegraph and Independent on Wednesday, 100 experts say the education secretary's new curriculum consists of "endless lists of spellings, facts and rules" that will not help to develop children's ability to think or solve problems.
Children, they say, will be forced to learn "mountains of detail" for English, maths and science without understanding it.
The group, which includes professors from Nottingham Trent University, Leeds Metropolitan University, Oxford University and Bristol University, say the plans also betray a serious distrust of teachers.
The letter says: "Much of [the proposed curriculum] demands too much too young. This will put pressure on teachers to rely on rote learning without understanding.
"Inappropriate demands will lead to failure and demoralisation.
"This curriculum betrays a serious distrust of teachers, in its amount of detailed instructions, and the education secretary has repeatedly ignored expert advice."
The academics urge teachers and parents to respond to the consultation, due to end in April, calling for a fresh start.
The new draft curriculum contains plans for pupils to memorise their times tables up to 12 by age nine, multiply and divide fractions by age 11 as well as learn topics such as geometry, long division and multiplication and decimals.
In comes in the same week that two teaching unions announced a series of strikes starting this summer in a continuing row over pay, pensions and workload.
Schools across the country are likely to be affected by the rolling programme of walkouts, along with a national strike before Christmas.
The move, announced by England's two biggest teaching unions, the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT, is an escalation of a continuing dispute with the government.