I had a chance to speak to some early years teachers today. They were discussing children’s writing and had a variety of samples out on their desks. As ever, the range of ability in a single class can be immense but I was particularly interested in the two jotters.
These jotters beloged to two boys could not write but who could dictate a story to a scribe who wrote their story down. The quality of the stories was very good and matched almost everybody else in the class. Yet when we discussed how these boys might progress over the next few years there was general concensus that they will struggle to reach Level A (equivalent of a P3 child) by the time they leave primary school.
It’s not that these children are not bright enough to learn to write it’s seemingly down to the fact that that they can’t (or don’t want to) master the technical elements of holding a pen and practising their writing skills. It’s in considering such a question that the true potential of A Curriculum for Exellence starts to become obvious.
As our Curriculum for Excellence strategy proposes – the answer lies in the hands of teachers and schools to consider how we use the flexibility now afforded to us to ensure that no child – aside from those with severe and complex needs leaves primary school without the skills necessary to be “learners”.
I’m not trying to play down the challenge facing us here – nor the complexity of the problem, but at the very least we now have a chance clear the ground to at least see a possible way forwards.