Rose and primary English : are the shackles really off?
This article offers a critical appraisal of some of the Rose Report's recommendations for the primary English curriculum. It is divided into two parts. The first discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the recommendations whilst raising questions about their potential to bring about urgently needed curriculum renewal. The second is a reflective study of a short, intensive teaching programme recently conducted with a Year 6 class which used a children's story to improve writing performance. Dramatic activities and a progressive model for questioning texts made use of pedagogical strategies which were designed to engage children's enjoyment and motivation whilst also ensuring that developmental gains were made in spoken language, thinking and writing. The head teacher who initiated the project had already embarked on a series of new approaches to the curriculum which happened to coincide with Rose's recommendations to make greater use of spoken language and drama in reading and writing development. It is suggested that such approaches can make a strong impact upon children's learning across several areas. However, what is left unresolved is the question of whether high stakes testing and literacy prescriptions will continue to inhibit the real potential which exists for curriculum change.