The underlying basis for the inclusion of foundation subjects within early years and primary education might not be immediately apparent, particularly for first year students studying towards qualified teacher status. This essay will, therefore, unfold the reasons for this inclusion whilst including specific reference to the enclosure of history teaching. The National Curriculum (NC), introduced in 1988 and currently undergoing revision, consists of the core subjects: English, mathematics and science; compulsory at all key stages, and the foundation subjects: art, design technology (DT), geography, history, information and communication technology (ICT), modern foreign languages (MFL), music, personal, social and health education (PSHE) and physical education (PE); most of which are compulsory at one or more of the key stages (DfE, 2013). It is also important to remember that Religious Education is included within the basic curriculum and is legally bound to be taught, however children can forego the subject at their parents request. Since 2008 the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) has become integrated within all childcare providers, except mother and toddler groups, nannies and short-term crèches, and covers the welfare and development of children (BBC). This essay will not only demonstrate a rationale for the inclusion of foundation subjects in both the EYFS and NC, but also examine how history is developed into children’s learning through both stages.
Boys and Spink (2008) believe the foundation subjects and RE ‘have the potential to be the most powerful, most meaningful and most relevant areas of learning for all learners’ (p.xii). Hoodless (2008) develops this further with history, stating “the most significant reason for teaching history in primary schools is that it motivates children and captures their imaginations” (p.2). Both statements reflect on the importance of teaching history and other foundation subjects, yet focuses on extra-curricular benefits. History can lead to many cross-curricular links and it has been suggested by Davies and Redmond (1998) that teaching history in isolation ‘would be a horrible waste of universal discipline’ (p.39). Looking at time-lines in history can help to develop mathematical skills, whereas art can be pulled in by the associations with drawing or painting ancient artefacts. Fines (2013) also believes in the importance of history due to its cross-curricular abilities, he says “history can contribute to learning across the whole spectrum of the curriculum and does so effectively” (p.6). As a core subject, mathematics is something that, when applicable, should always be integrated into a child’s learning. However, as a foundation subject itself, art is a skill which helps to develop children’s creativity and imagination, thus making art a valuable attribute that should be included when possible. Furthermore, children’s art work is often used as displays within schools; this way of celebrating work is a great way of boasting children’s confidence as well as giving them a sense of reward. This is vital for motivation, enthusiasm and inspiration which will encourage children to get involved in further learning and therefore learn more effectively (NASP, 2003).
The NC is currently undergoing revision, due for implementation into schools in September 2014. Government says the review comes from the need to catch up with the world’s best education systems. Prime Minister, David Cameron says this "revolution in education" is vital for the country's economic affluence and that it should be written by experts and not restricted to ministers' "personal prejudices" (BBC, 2013). According to The Guardian (2013) changes will be welcome across the Key Stages (KS). However, it claims that for KS1, history will not differ too much from the previous NC and that ‘the more noticeable changes are in KS2’. Both Key Stages will see a new stress in the importance of chronological...
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