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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Barrow head calls for curriculum to help give children skills for life

A FORWARD-THINKING Barrow infant school welcomes the greater focus on computing in the new tougher national curriculum for primary schools – but it wants to see a strong emphasis on skills for life and employment.

Children across the Furness, Millom and South Lakes area return to school today for a new term which brings the an overhaul of the national curriculum for both primary and secondary pupils.

The shake-up will see computing replacing information and communication technology. Children as young as five will undertake computing tasks, such as learning how to write and develop their own computer programs as well as learn how to store and retrieve data. Five-year-olds will also learn more challenging fractions.

Secondary students between the ages of 11 and 14 will be taught coding and how to solve computer problems.

Caroline Hoggarth, headteacher of Greengate Infant and Nursery School said pupils already do fractions, learning about halves and quarters by their teachers splitting a piece of fruit.

Mrs Hoggarth said the fraction tasks will just be ‘slightly more challenging’, but still ‘age relevant’.

The Barrow head is supportive of the computing changes saying: “Computing does need to come to the forefront for pupils because computing and technology is all around them, it’s the life-long skills they need for the world they are living in.”

But she said: “The new curriculum goes nowhere near enough what it should do for teaching life skills and preparing children for jobs,with teamwork and personal and social skills.”

Greengate is proud to be the first infant school to be involved in Esh Border’s Building My Skills Programme. Businesses from Furness Education and Skills Partnership are working in collaboration with Esh Border to bring the firm’s award-winning employability skills programme to six Furness schools. Mrs Hoggarth said: “We have a creative curriculum and we fit the national curriculum around what works for our children.”

The head is disappointed by the introduction of formalised literacy testing from next year for Year Two pupils. She said: “It’s too much pressure and it’s all about performance on one day.”

Greengate Infants is one of the first schools in the area to extend its age range to take two-year-olds.

The school has invested £50,000 on revamping and setting the school up to take the younger children. Some 42 two-year-olds start at the school on Monday and there are new staff in place.

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