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National Curriculum - Mind the Gap

The new national curriculum has been implemented this term. Miranda shares how it is going for her teaching French and the advantages to supply teachers. 

Supply teachers you are in an excellent position. I always say this – look on the bright side, it’ll soon be October half-term.

Everyone is getting their tights in a twist about the new primary curriculum. History all the way from the year dot? Hmm. Well…maybe  they have a point. Most children believe the world begins with Henry VIII and ends with WW11. Why didn’t Ann Boleyn hide from Henry in a bunker Miss Yates? But Roman Numerals – what the VXXI do we need all that for? Really, how many of us are actually going to be required to list the footnotes in our Phd thesis?

Anyway, whatever the content, what us supply teachers have to offer will be a broad overview of how different schools are managing the rigours of the new material, and how they are all approaching the new expectations. This is something to bring to the table at every new school we work at and every interview we secure for a long-term position.

The other advantage is that if you know where your skills are (or have been) and understand where schools might have gaps in curriculum knowledge, then you can start to consider using your buried talents to support them where they need it. For instance, I was recently asked to teach French – the new curriculum puts modern languages back in the frame. I have A-level French (but I am forty-one, so it’s been quite a while since I conjugated an irregular). I also studied some French as part of my degree (I refer you to my previous point). But I took it on, as I wanted to give it a go. I considered that if I wasn’t right for the position, they would surely let me know asap.

But actually, keeping one step ahead of material I was once bashing myself over the head to memorise is simpler than I thought. Those dusty old files in the memory just creak back open, and it’s all in there. I’m careful to make sure that I’ve got all my genders correctly aligned and to check my lesson plans thoroughly in advance. But basically, I’m finding it rewarding. I’m enjoying the opportunities to work across the school, helping children decode the new language, using their understanding of phonics and the English language. Rewarding children who can make links and find differences between French and English; using songs, video and silly games to cement knowledge; and being mistaken for a French lady, is quite good fun.

My inkling is that there is a deep font of untapped knowledge and skills out there, which can be re-packaged and sent out to schools through our sturdy army of supply teachers. Algorithms, long division, six-figure grid references, anyone? Anyone?

Miranda is a primary teacher who has worked with Protocol Education and is a regular blogger for us. She recently came 2nd in a poetry competition. Find out more in her blog Poetry and Teaching

Tags: Miranda, Manchester, NQT, supply

Category: Australian Teachers

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