Focus on the quality of subjects being taught

From Tristram C Llewellyn Jones, Ramsey, Isle of Man

Listen to this article


Sir, Simon Crosby argues (Letters, September 24) that the real problem in British schools lies in their curricula. I agree. From the 1960s the tried and tested practice of teaching a few subjects in great detail was gradually replaced by child-centred education. Traditional subjects are now taught in a broad, often artificial context while the challenging academic quality of the subjects has reduced.

Consider that, prior to the 1960s, the hallmark of a good British education was competence in Latin and Greek, which were understood to be excellent mind-trainers providing the foundation for the study of all other subjects. These subjects have declined to the extent that in 2015 there were only 1,226 entries for Latin A Level and just 224 for Greek!

The education establishment is a triumvirate of government, teaching unions and educational publishers. The publishers, in particular, exert huge influence on teaching practices. This establishment is adept at constraining the debate about education to the political arguments for and against academies, grammar schools, free schools and local authority control.

We really do need to move on from this and start debating what, and how, our children are actually taught. We need to focus on the actual academic quality of the subject matter as opposed to the measurable performance of the curricula.

Tristram C Llewellyn Jones

Ramsey, Isle of Man

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.