Critical review of the Edexcel Curriculum for Functional Skills English? Introduction
In this report I will be critiquing the Edexcel functional skills English Curriculum specifications in an attempt to understand its structure and purpose. With all aspects of learning it is important to understand what we are actually looking at. Therefore the initial question to ask is. What is a Curriculum? The Infed website Curriculum theory and practice the encyclopaedia of informal education, offers Vic Kelly’s theory on what a Curriculum is. Kerr defines Curriculum as, 'All the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school. (Also quoted in Kelly 1983: 10; see also, Kelly 1999). (P1). It is interesting to see that in 1983 Kelly suggests that learning is guided by the school; this could suggest that a Curriculum is produced by the school without any other influence. However, this is not the case. Since the 1970’s there had been increasing concern regarding the education system and its apparent failure to educate the students of the time, this influenced the Prime Minister, James Callaghan (Labour) claiming the right of Government to influence education. Within six years the National Curriculum had been born and successive Governments claimed a firm interest in what was being taught within the education system. It is important to note that ‘an interest’ is not necessarily and educated view, as highlighted by Rhys Griffith when he quotes the views of Professor Brian Cox, the chair of the Working Group tasked with proposing the nature of English in the National Curriculum to Mr Kenneth Baker MP. ‘When my Report was submitted [to Mr Baker] he so much disliked it that he insisted it should be printed back to front. … neither Mr Baker nor Mrs Rumbold [a Minister in the DES] knew very much about the complex debate that has been going on at least since Rousseau about progressive education … they did not realise that my Group would be strongly opposed to Mrs Thatcher’s views about grammar and rote learning. The politicians were amateurs, instinctively confident that common sense was sufficient to guide them’ . (Griffith P212). While it is easy to be dismissive of those in power wishing ‘with good intention’ to address the issues of education within the country it would be extremely difficult to produce a blanket approach and produce a fully functioning formal National Curriculum when they come in so many different models. (See Attachment A).
The term Curriculum is mostly used when referring to an agreed course within the education process agreed between the state, those who administer the prescribed course of learning, and those who are in receipt of it, either through enforced attendance pre sixteen years of age, and those who choose to undertake further education. This is the Prescribed Curriculum, which promotes key skills and contains a Syllabus measured through standards and assessments. These Curriculum adhere to College rules and legal requirements regarding sexuality, race, religion, and disability. There can also be a hidden Curriculum, these can be made up of influences from Governments, the Media or the social culture of the time, and each of these will affect the Curriculum in subtle ways that are passed on through attitudes, and underlying subtexts. Kelly recognises this as an issue to be aware of. ‘Educationalist speak of the ‘hidden curriculum’, by which they mean those things which pupils learn at school because of they way in which the work of the school is planned and organized and through materials provided, but which are not in themselves overtly included in the planning or sometimes even in the consciousness of those responsible for the school arrangements.’ (Kelly p10). What I did to research this?
To review the Curriculum I work with, it was necessary for me to understand Curriculum design, and by...
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