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Friday, 23 March, 2001, 17:56 GMT
Heads' concern over 3Rs drive
teacher pointing to whiteboard screen
Teachers will be able to download lesson plans
By Katherine Sellgren at the SHA conference in Newport

Plans to extend the literacy and numeracy drive from primary schools into secondaries have been described as "prescriptive" by the Secondary Heads Association (SHA).

The government wants to see a minimum of three hours spent on English and maths each week by 11 to 14 year olds.


This will destroy a lot of the creativity that brings teachers into the profession

John Dunford, SHA
New teaching materials and a new framework will be introduced, as well as catch-up classes and summer schools in literacy and numeracy.

Speaking to delegates at SHA's annual conference in Newport, Gwent, the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, said the scheme would enable pupils to make better progress in their first years at secondary school.

"Teaching in those early secondary years will be subject to greater rigour with a focus next year on English and maths," Mr Blunkett said.

"The new frameworks for teaching build on the successful primary literacy and numeracy strategies."

Pilot schemes carried out in 200 schools had proved successful and paved the way for the scheme to be introduced from September, Mr Blunkett said.

And teachers would be given an extra day's training to find out more about the strategy, he added.

'Legal?'

But general secretary of SHA, John Dunford, said: "To translate a prescriptive literacy and numeracy strategy from primary schools is a disastrous way of introducing that Key Stage strategy."

Mr Dunford even questioned the government's right to introduce such a strict stipulation.

"I don't think the government is allowed, under the Education Act 1996, to tell schools how much time to spend on this or that subject.

"This will destroy a lot of the creativity that brings teachers into the profession," he warned.

A government source stressed that schools were not being told what to do - the idea of three hours a week of whole-class teaching was a "recommendation" and was what a lot of schools were doing already.

See also:

07 Dec 00 | Education
16 Oct 00 | Education
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