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Deputy: learn practical skills, not just facts

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A DEPUTY wants local schools to teach children to become more rounded individuals, with less focus on academic rote learning.

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 24969314)

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen put questions to Education, Sport & Culture about changes to the curriculum and whether pupils were being prepared for the world of work.

‘I spend a lot of my waking hours in businesses and with businesses.

‘They are saying that they want skills from these young people – useful skills: digital and alongside that “soft” skills of resilience, confidence, ability to learn etc.

‘I want forward-facing education for our kids ready to face one of the biggest periods of change in the last 200 years, not looking backwards to academic rote learning and regurgitating of facts.’

The Guernsey Curriculum for Excellence with a focus on skills-based learning was introduced in September 2017, and Deputy Dudley-Owen claimed that the current education committee had an ‘obvious dislike’ of this curriculum.

She asked questions about whether changes were being introduced, and what evidential support they had for the changes.

In response, ESC president Deputy Matt Fallaize said the curriculum was ‘continuing to evolve’ and there was a need to add key content and knowledge alongside skills.

‘Evidence shows that skills such as critical thinking are domain-specific and dependent on background knowledge: we cannot think critically about subjects about which we know next to nothing.

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‘International evidence suggests that when content is more loosely defined – as is the case when a curriculum is largely skills-based – there is a decline in overall standards and increase in inequality of outcomes between students from more and less privileged backgrounds.

‘This would be unacceptable educationally, socially, economically and morally.’

Deputy Fallaize gave Deputy Dudley-Owen a commitment that consultation with teachers was ongoing with workshops and other meetings.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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