By Claire West
A curriculum which is poorly differentiated for children with different strengths will not hold children’s attention and will lead to misbehaviour, warns the Education Committee in a report published this week.
The Committee heard in evidence that pupils who are positively engaged in learning are less likely to have behaviour problems and recommends that the future curriculum should contain a mix of academic and vocational subjects in order to meet the needs of all pupils. Children who have basic skills in literacy and comprehension are less likely to misbehave, and the Government should assess six-year-olds’ speaking and listening ability as well as reading ability.
Committee Chairman, Graham Stuart MP, said,
"If the curriculum doesn’t stimulate children, they will switch off, and the chances are that they will disrupt other children’s learning. The onus is now on the Government to draw up a National Curriculum which engages all children and meets their aspirations: then let teachers decide how to apply it."
The Committee found that data currently collected does not give a full picture of the nature and impact of behaviour in schools, nor does it provide evidence to determine changes over time. It recommends that sample data on all serious incidents in schools should be collected, complemented by survey data from teachers, pupils, parents and carers.
Mental health services
The Committee heard evidence of very serious shortcomings in access to children’s mental health services and says the Department for Education and the Department of Health must cooperate to allow schools better access to support services.
Assessment of need
The introduction of a ‘trigger’ for an assessment of need, based on exclusion, should be considered, says the Committee, to ensure that children with undiagnosed special educational needs do not ‘fall through the net’.
Notice of detention
New powers allowing schools not to have to give parents 24 hours’ notice of out-of-hours detention should be used sensibly and appropriately, with particular sensitivity to the needs of young carers and pupils with travel difficulties.