From Abacus To Circle Time - A Short History Of The Primary School

Education journalist Mike Baker traces the controversial changes to the ways we have educated our youngest children over the past 150 years, from the rigidity of the Victorian age to the occasionally anarchic, experiential learning of the progressive 1970s.

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0120090915

Mike explores the strict, no-nonsense Victorian schoolroom and hears from former pupils about their experience of primary schools from the 1930s to the 1960s, including Baroness Shirley Williams, who recalls the poverty of her fellow pupils in her London elementary shool in the 1930s.

0120090915Education journalist Mike Baker traces the controversial changes to the ways we have educated our youngest children over the past 150 years, from the rigidity of the Victorian age to the occasionally anarchic, experiential learning of the progressive 1970s.

Mike explores the strict, no-nonsense Victorian schoolroom and hears from former pupils about their experience of primary schools from the 1930s to the 1960s, including Baroness Shirley Williams, who recalls the poverty of her fellow pupils in her London elementary shool in the 1930s.

. The Victorian schoolroom and the recollections of former pupils about school in the 1930s.

0220090922Education journalist Mike Baker traces the controversial changes to the ways we have educated our youngest children over the past 150 years, from the rigidity of the Victorian age to the occasionally anarchic, experiential learning of the progressive 1970s.

Mike explores the birth of progressive and informal teaching methods in the 1960s. The landmark Plowden Report banished the Victorian concept of children as 'vessels to be filled', bringing in instead the idea of the 'developmental age' - the notion that children are individuals who develop at different and uneven rates.

Calling on archive recordings and the personal reminiscences of pupils, parents and teachers, plus an interview with the only surviving member of the Plowden Committee, Mike hears how progressive teaching was loved by some and reviled by others. He also traces the fierce political backlash in the 1980s, as public concerns grew over school standards and fears that anarchy was taking over in primary school classrooms.

Key contemporary policy-makers, including Baroness Shirley Williams, Lord Ken Baker and David Blunkett, help to explain why arguments over curriculum, teaching methods and testing are deeply rooted in our ideas about the nature, development and role of the youngest members of society.

. Mike Baker explores the progressive, informal teaching methods of the 1960s.

0220090922Education journalist Mike Baker traces the controversial changes to the ways we have educated our youngest children over the past 150 years, from the rigidity of the Victorian age to the occasionally anarchic, experiential learning of the progressive 1970s.

Mike explores the birth of progressive and informal teaching methods in the 1960s.

The landmark Plowden Report banished the Victorian concept of children as 'vessels to be filled', bringing in instead the idea of the 'developmental age' - the notion that children are individuals who develop at different and uneven rates.

Calling on archive recordings and the personal reminiscences of pupils, parents and teachers, plus an interview with the only surviving member of the Plowden Committee, Mike hears how progressive teaching was loved by some and reviled by others.

He also traces the fierce political backlash in the 1980s, as public concerns grew over school standards and fears that anarchy was taking over in primary school classrooms.

Key contemporary policy-makers, including Baroness Shirley Williams, Lord Ken Baker and David Blunkett, help to explain why arguments over curriculum, teaching methods and testing are deeply rooted in our ideas about the nature, development and role of the youngest members of society.

Mike Baker explores the progressive, informal teaching methods of the 1960s.

03 LAST20090929
03 LAST20090929Education journalist Mike Baker traces the controversial changes to the ways we have educated our youngest children over the past 150 years, from the rigidity of the Victorian age to the occasionally anarchic, experiential learning of the progressive 1970s.

Mike explores the parallels between the Victorian 'payment-by-results' approach and the pressures of league tables and the national test targets set by Tony Blair's New Labour government. It reveals how teachers lost the trust of government and how politicians 'nationalised' teaching. Calling on vivid views and reminiscences of parents and teachers, the programme hears how some welcomed the new focus on a centralised curriculum and test targets while others hated it.

Through interviews with key policy makers and experts, including David Blunkett, Sir Tim Brighouse and Prof Robin Alexander, the programme explains why arguments over curriculum, teaching methods and testing are deeply rooted in our ideas about the nature, development and role of young people in society.

The former Chief Inspector of Schools in England, Chris Woodhead, who helped devise the national curriculum, reveals that he now thinks that a centrally-set timetable is the wrong approach. Instead, he advocates a market system based on parental vouchers. After several swings of the pendulum between the extremes of formality versus informality, facts versus skills and basics versus creativity, the programme asks where the balance should lie now and in the future.

. The era of the literacy hour, league tables and SATs controversy.