Subject Teaching in Primary Education

Subject Teaching in Primary Education

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Original Ed Prop Proposal text: This is a proposal for a primary curriculum overview core textbook that would be one of the first books onto the market to reference the new National Curriculum that is due to be announced in Spring 2013. It is lead by Patrick Smith, Associate Dean at the University of Wolverhampton and Lyn Dawes (University of Northampton), the contributors are drawn from the Primary ITE dept at Northampton, where until Feb 2012 Patrick was Head of Dept. Teaching Subjects in Primary Education would provide a brief overview of each subject area of the curriculum and is therefore suitable as pre-course/ start-of-course reading for primary initial teacher education courses. This is the biggest sales window for ITE textbook purchases. We have one current title that performs a similar role Driscoll et al: The Primary Curriculum: A Creative Approach which published August 2011, and is selling reasonably well (although the real litmus test will be its performance this coming autumn). The advent of the new National Curriculum next Spring will however cause most subject-teaching-focused books to look somewhat dated, and Smith/Dawes should allow us to bring a new core curriculum overview book aware of NC changes to market relatively quickly. The writing schedule, with a Summer 2013 submission date, should allow contributors to incorporate appropriate references to the new NC into the manuscript. Ideally I would then hope to maintain these two core books going forward on complementary revision cycles so that we will always have a recently updated curriculum overview textbook available that is aware of the latest policy developments. Smith/Dawes will be further differentiated from Driscoll due to its use of child-centred learning as a central theme. Driscoll focuses on creative and cross-curricular approaches to subject teaching; so while both titles have similar TOCs these distinct approaches will allow us, and our customers, to distinguish them from one another. The proposal has been reviewed exclusively by primary ITE course leaders, as these are the key decision-makers who need to be won over in order to get textbooks listed on vitally important pre-course reading lists. A 5,000-word sample chapter (on primary science) was reviewed alongside the proposal but has not been included in the agenda paperwork for the purposes of brevity. Reviews have been positive and indicate no structural changes are required, key recommendations revolve around developing and refining pedagogical features in the sample chapter which will then serve as the template for the contributors to work from. Curiously this is an area with very little in the way of competition. Continuum published a pair of curriculum overview books, (both by Boyes/Spinks, split into Core Subjects and Foundation Subjects) out of MMU in 2008, which summarily failed to make a dent, however this should be regarded as an indicator of Continuum's almost total inability to launch (non-Pollard) education textbooks in a satisfactory manner rather than a comment on the viability of this type of book. (As an aside, a recent analysis of the Top 100 ITE textbooks in 2011, showed only four Continuum titles, three of which sold fewer than 300 copies last year; an awful showing). The positive reception to Driscoll and the encouraging reviews of this proposal underline that this type of book can work providing the sales and marketing effort behind the book firmly push it as a pre-course / start-of-course general intro text.

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