The key points the Union is making are:
- The over-prescriptive nature of the proposals in the programmes of study will constrict teaching and learning and produce conformity rather than innovation in our schools
- Too much emphasis is placed on synthetic phonics as the only method for children to learn to read.
- Rote learning of key facts will leave children feeling bored at school and lacking in opportunities for exploration and the development of higher order thinking skills.
- The increased emphasis on "talk" within the programmes of study is welcomed. However, the failure to acknowledge alternative ways of communicating and the issue of including those children for whom "talk" is not easy, for whatever reason, remains a concern for teachers.
- There is insufficient information for teachers on inclusion and differentiation within the programmes of study. It is impractical to expect all children in a class to acquire knowledge and move on at the same pace.
- The importance of reading for pleasure is strongly advocated in the programmes of study. This is welcomed but with reservations about the lack of time and flexibility within the curriculum for this approach to be successful. Reading for pleasure must be integral to schools, not an add on !