Has The Word Priority Lost Its Meaning?

26 Sep

Priority: A thing that is regarded as more important than others

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I’ve started to think that the word priority is fast losing any relevance within the world of Welsh education.

We have all heard the Welsh Government state that literacy and numeracy must be a priority. Yesterday a report said that we should prioritize the arts given not enough attention is placed on its benefits. A few days before that there was a call to make history a priority in schools and establish it as a core subject. Go back just a few weeks and you would have heard the demands that PE was given greater prominence as a priority, again with calls to make it a core subject.

Now I’m not suggesting that any of the above is unreasonable. I have previously blogged on the need to ensure a creative culture in schools. I’m also a firm believer in the merits and importance of PE in schools and believe History is an incredibly important subject. I would go along with the view that while the focus on literacy and numeracy is essential it can have the perhaps unintended consequences of narrowing the curriculum.

With all that said we simply can’t continue with an approach where any report or review into a subject returns a verdict suggesting it should be made a ‘priority’ in schools. Of course in focusing on improving literacy and numeracy standards we shouldn’t lose focus on the benefits of other areas of education. In fairness to the report on the arts it makes the case for using those subjects as a driver for literacy and numeracy. However, the simple fact is teachers cannot carry on being pulled in every direction due to the competing agenda’s of various organisations. If everything is to be a priority then by default absolutely nothing can be.

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