Conservatives in the United Kingdom have supported a new set of policies which embody part of a new drive to reduce illiteracy and innumeracy.
The new set of rules is backed by education secretary Nicky Morgan and aim in promoting the development of mathematical skills, punctuation, spelling and grammar through a writing test taken by the pupils.
“We will expect every pupil by the age of 11 to know their times tables off by heart, to perform long division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel. They should be able to write a short story with accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar. Some will say this is an old-fashioned view, but I say that giving every child the chance to master the basics and succeed in life is a fundamental duty of any government. It’s the very minimum that a government should do and the very least the public should expect.”
The requirements also ask 11-year-olds to be able to read a novel, write a short story and be fluent in their times table up to 12 by the end of the primary schooling, writes Matt Chorley of Mail Online.
Primary schools in England that are unable to pass out a sufficient proportion of year six pupils with the required test scores would be pushed to become academies, or could have their scholarships substituted if they are already an academy.
Morgan’s comments follow a major educational speech by Prime Minister David Cameron, who is still in the process of making further announcements regarding the structural modifications of state schools.
A majority of state schools continue to remain as academies, while most primary schools remain obliged to co operate with local authorities.
Education Secretary Morgan asserted that primary school students would be receiving an appropriate period of time to prepare them for the written tests.
“We want every child to have the best start in life, and obviously that means getting it right from primary right the way through to secondary. This is not about saying heads will automatically be replaced. This is about saying where a school doesn’t have the capacity to improve itself – and many do – or where they don’t have a plan to lead that school to being rated good or outstanding, which I think is what we want for all of our children, then yes … one of the answers is to get new leadership in.”
The criteria for the written evaluation tests would take into account mainstream schools along with their individualistic intake limits and capability differences among cohorts. An expansion of the national leaders of teaching scheme would also be encouraged in order to aid struggling schools under the policy, writes Richard Adams of The Guardian.
Liberal Democrat education spokesman David Laws spoke out against the new policy, claiming that the Tories were aiming to repeat tactics in 2010 by trying to slash spend on schools by 10% after the general election.
“Their silence on the protection of the funding for early years, schools and colleges is deafening. You simply cannot raise standards in schools while also pursuing a scorched earth policy that would decimate the education budget. The Tories are living in fantasy land if they think great schools and teachers come for free. No one will take them seriously until they commit to protecting the education budget from cradle to college.”