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Should the 'Three Rs' be replaced?

10:32 UK time, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The government's flagship "Three Rs" strategy for improving literacy and numeracy in primary school children has been criticised. Should the Three Rs be replaced?

The £4.5bn strategy was the backbone of Labour's school reforms in England. But teachers' unions have complained of too much government meddling during implementation - a claim which is backed up by a new Ofsted report.

Ofsted says schools have suffered because of the "frequent introduction of initiatives, materials and guidance" which led to "overload" and diminished the effectiveness of each initiative. The government said it was not sorry for focusing on the Three Rs.

What do you think of the Three Rs? What three words do you think sum up the key to a good education? Do you have a child at primary school? Has the education system improved recently?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    They already have been replaced with lots of other meaningless subjects haven't they? I thought that was the point of the whole news story.

    By the way - not liking the new-look HYS.

  • Comment number 2.

    Are they insane? I rsgularly meet graduates who can barely write a coherent sentence, cannot do the most basic arithmetic without a calculator and who cannot spell.
    Education needs to go back to basics and stop wasting time and money on whichever trend is currently in fashion.

  • Comment number 3.

    How about Tony Blair's moto for the 1997 Labour election campaign - "Education Education Education".

  • Comment number 4.

    So trying to replace the 3 R's by the government is going to give credence to the current claim that the government is meddling too much. Typical!

    The 3 R's will work and have worked over many generations. The recent decline in standards can only be down to poor pupil discipline which i am sure is now the source of many ills in this country and will no doubt be a future problem, however there is still time to change this trend by addressing the parents mentality that their kids behaviour is THEIR problem and noone elses to fix.

    Sort this out and you'll get better 3 R's results.

  • Comment number 5.

    Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are all well and good, but where is the Reason that comes from studying the sciences? The Natural and Earth Sciences need to be more prominent in primary curricula than they presently are. I don't even recall starting geography or science classes until secondary school, which is pretty poor given the relevance that both Natural and Earth science subjects have in modern society.

  • Comment number 6.

    Children are being failed by the education system. They quickly develop an aversion to subjects like mathematics because the teaching of it is so bad in many primary schools. Once children have fallen behind, it is very difficult for them to catch up and this only makes them fear mathematics even more.

    The reason teaching is poor is because many teachers and parents were put off maths during their childhood and this feeds on to the current generation - it's a vicious cycle. 25% of adults have the maths ability of an 11 year old. If this statistic worsens, the long term economic damage will be huge and I can easily foresee the UK falling out of the top 20 economies within a generation.

  • Comment number 7.

    The Three Rs have been good enough for generations of children why change.

  • Comment number 8.

    i for one would like to see the "three R's" replaced with the other "Three R's"
    ~ Respect
    ~ Responsibility
    ~ Reliability

  • Comment number 9.

    If they stuck to teaching the Three Rs and did it properly then we wouldn't be in half the mess we are now.,
    Stop all these "initiatives" and just for a change leave the teachers alone and let them teach

  • Comment number 10.

    The educational system in the UK is absolutely appalling, and has been since I was a kid. I'm now 64.
    UK establishment sees education running in 2 streams; the leaders of the future get taught how to lead us, and we peasants are given the most basic functional education.
    Sounds Dickensian, doesn't it? I believe it to be true. We have been a member of the EU for years, but do we have compulsory foreign language lessons? why not? Because it further isolates us from the rest of the EU, and keeps us nicely in our place.

  • Comment number 11.

    Too many educationalists make a name for themselves by making unneccesary chages.
    It is highly unfashionable, indeed it is career suicide, to praise the status quo.
    Change for change's sake is the rule.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think they should keep the 3Rs it has long been the format for our educational system for years, why mend something that isn't broken.

    Sorry, BBC I do not like the new HYS format it will be interesting to see how many HYSers will pass a comment.

  • Comment number 13.

    £4.5 BILLION to do a 3Rs strategy, what on earth?

    for that amount of money we should be able to give every school child a full time secretary

  • Comment number 14.

    If i was a teacher, i think that i would have already gone nuts, there is precious little discipline along with change upon change upon change. The three R's are the baseline of all else in education, for goodness sake leave it alone.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have to wonder why the government doesn't actually validate its policies with Ofsted BEFORE it implements them, or do they deliberately not do that in case its not agreed with?

    Unbelievable, but not surprising, Ed Balls gives the impression he is not to be crossed if you disagree with him.

  • Comment number 16.

    Which 3 words? History, literacy, numeracy.

  • Comment number 17.

    One reason that the subjects fail to inspire is that they have become divorced from the rest of the teaching day. They need to be part of something more fun / interesting and be shown to be relevant to the whole of learning.
    Long lessons on just one topic are really off putting for any child who struggles in these areas.

  • Comment number 18.

    I have a 7yr old grand-daughter who can read quite well but is having difficulty doing her homework!! which ranges from last night researching
    Boudicca (on the internet supposedly) who was she - what did she do etc!

    The trouble is this government has meddled in the education system too much and our methods of training teachers and assessing teachers has failed! 7 year olds should be learning basic skils as I did and my 35 yr old daughter did - they must oncentrate on reading writing and arithmetic.

    Another homework last week was metaphors and similes and she had to find a poem and give examples - my daughter was completely perplexed and my feeling is that they are not teaching in the classroom but are setting parents home work - why? We know some primary school teachers are horrified by this so who is responsible for setting the homework - the teacher - the head or the education dept - can someone answer this please!

  • Comment number 19.

    "frequent introduction of initiatives, materials and guidance"

    This could be summed up as "constantly moving the goalposts", something the government has been doing in respect to education for generations.

    The main problem we have with our education system is that it has become so over-politicised, every new education minister wants to leave their mark on the education system and every government thinks they have the answer to our education problems. The reality is that every new government/minister only ends up making things worse because they're constantly trying to change everything and never give schools enough time to adapt to the new system before it gets changed again, this leaves teachers with no solid foundations from which to build up their lesson plans and educational programs and leaves the children lost in a system that never stays the same for long enough.

    My solution to this would be to make all state owned schools independent trusts and then to give them to a non-profit organisation made up of the teachers, parents and governors at the school.
    This trust would own the buildings and land that the school occupies and would be funded directly from the treasury, they would also be able to set their own curriculum that was tailored to the needs of the children attending their school. The trust would also have the power to appoint the head teacher and a general manager for the school.

    The government’s role would be in setting minimum legal requirements, inspecting schools, setting exams and providing funding from general taxation. We would do away with the department of education and the local education authorities as they are irrelevant to our education system and add nothing to the education we provide to our children.
    The government/opposition would then be able to say that they would provide £x per child if they got elected but they wouldn't be able to say how that money got spent, that decision would be left to the head teacher, general manager and the trustee's of the school, just as it is with our private schools.

    This system would vastly reduce costs as all of the money being spent on education would be spent on front line services instead of funding hundreds (maybe even thousands) of non-jobs for civil servants and consultants as well as giving parents and teachers the power to decide how they run their school and how best to spend the money they have.

    Parents and teachers know more about educating our children than politicians do so lets take the power away from the politicians and give it back to the parents and teachers !

  • Comment number 20.

    1. At 12:48pm on 24 Feb 2010, Rufus McDufus wrote:

    They already have been replaced with lots of other meaningless subjects haven't they? I thought that was the point of the whole news story.

    By the way - not liking the new-look HYS.

    I wish I could recommend your comment, but in their wisdom HYS have removed that facility so I will quote you and say, I totally agree. Yet another debate which misses the point of the news story.

    The "3 R's" need REINTRODUCING, as it is clear from the terrible English I see on HYS it is not being learnt, whether it is being taught or not.

    And I also agree, I'm not liking the changes to HYS either.

  • Comment number 21.

    You would think after all the years of teaching that the Government would actually have a good idea what methods work. Stop making it complicated and teach the children.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why can't the government stop using education as a political tool, quit the interference and let schools get on with their jobs?

    My parents (1930s) and I (1960s) received a decent mixture of the 3 Rs and other subjects in our primary schools without any of this nonsense.

  • Comment number 24.

    Discipline seems to me to be one major problem in British schools at the moments, although possibly not such a major issue in primary schools (feel free to correct me).

    I'd like to see more support and diagnosis of learning disabilities, mine wasn't diagnosed until adulthood.

    So long as the essential skills are not left out I’m happy for a reform of the education system if it's really needed.

  • Comment number 25.

    You dont need much more in life than a good grasp of the 3r's.


    Cant stand the new look HYS. Bring back recommendations.

  • Comment number 26.

    Half the problem is that things keep changing and by the time teachers and pupils have adjusted, they change them again! Stick with the three Rs, mix in some science and history and you'll have the core education people need to get along in life. They can study other subjects at A-level or higher, they don't need them in the compulsary age.

    "What three words do you think sum up the key to a good education?"

    How about "Leaving it alone"?

  • Comment number 27.

    When I was at school in the 60s, teachers taught with the children listening properly, sitting at desks in rows, facing a blackboard. Old- fashioned, but it worked. Teachers didn't chase targets and follow top-down directives, because they didn't need to; they were good at their job and they knew what they were doing.

    So, train the teachers properly and let them get back to actually teaching. Allow them to discipline children, stop the endless paperwork, the initiatives, the targets and directives and give them a break!

  • Comment number 28.

    Given that I very rarely use a pen at work nowadays it is all keyboard and printing out... writing is a dying art. The ability to spell is becoming redundant as well in that the English language is being reduced to text speak. The ability to undertake mental arithmetic has been replaced by calculators and computers which are not only widely available but are small portable and cheap

    The only skill needed in today's society is reading...that is until the power goes off

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm just so pleased that my two kids are coming up to the end of their education. Education is like a scab that both parties will keep picking and picking at. Leave it alone or it will never get better

  • Comment number 30.

    I live in Northern Ireland and think primary schools there are focused too exclusively on the 3 Rs. It's not that they're not important but there's much else which is very important as well. My son looks like he's going to be a brilliant engineer but he's given no chance at school to either develop or be recognised for those skills.

    The early school starting age in the UK, combined with the general focus in UK primary schools on the 3 Rs, can also lead kids who develop literacy and numeracy skills a bit later to feel failures.

  • Comment number 31.

    2+2 still equals 4 no matter how you try to change it.

    Trying to change a proven system why, if it aint broke dont fix it.

    Similar to HYS is this new system going to be read, I doubt it, I already feel that this comment will be ignored along with the others.

  • Comment number 32.

    Well, since only one of them actually is an 'R', I reckon they should probably rename it...

  • Comment number 33.

    The three r's cannot be replaced for the simple reason that they are the building blocks for all education. If you don't have them, you are not, and never will be, educated. With them, you can acquire whatever level of education you like, when you like - I know, I've done it.

    BTW the new HYS format is a disaster. It looks awful and is tedious to use. The beauty of the old system was that it was very simple for everyone who had anything to say. Why insist on registration? Some bloody Jobsworth I'll bet! I'll have to register several times to use multiple IDs. Can't be bothered, I won't be back.

  • Comment number 34.

    The 3 R's must stay. They are the core to everything else. These skills lead to an ability to reason and understand.

    I missed out a lot on the 3 R's at primary school and, consequently, 'slipped through the net' at secondary school. I left school thinking I was stupid. Later, I educated myself somewhat and eventually got a good Degree. The first year of the Degree course was extremely difficult because I had missed on basic education.

    There may well be an overload of material. This is unnecessary and a waste of time and money. To teach the 3 R's all that's needed is a good teacher. One who actually cares about all the pupils and not just the high-flyers.

  • Comment number 35.

    The 3 Rs worked for children for years, apparently. What's changed?

  • Comment number 36.

    Oh dear! And to compound the stupid makeover, it now lists all the messages awaiting moderation. How pointless is that? The Beeb has really lost the plot, and me!

  • Comment number 37.

    My last comment due to the changes on this site. (That's why they have changed it of course)
    The only thing to be learnt in schools, according to this govt, is mind control, brain-washing & do as you are told. Don't forget your homework, 'I LOVE SOCIALISTS, I LOVE TREES, I LOVE CHARITY' Now you are a proper EU member of the EU club. Love everything & everyone, oh you're paying for it!

  • Comment number 38.

    The education system is fine as has improved immensely in the last 13 years, mainly due to increased investment by the Labour government.

    One thing I would change is the term "the Three Rs". It is not reading riting and rithmatic, it is reading, writing and arithmatic. It is strange that we should be using this when we are talking about education.

  • Comment number 39.

    Another dreadful decision by this unelected, discredited bunch of liars.

    And by the way - dreadful new HYS.

  • Comment number 40.

    There is nothing wrong with teaching the basics. All children should be taught basic maths and English. The trouble is that everything taught in schools in directed towards SATS targets to the exclusion of common sense. SATS have sucked the creativity and fun out of teaching and learning. The English papers are dull and anything challenging on the maths paper can be done on a calculator.

  • Comment number 41.

    While the "three Rs" in school matter, there are "three more Rs" which matter and pave the way for one's overall quality of life.
    They are Reward, Recognition and Respect.
    These "3 Rs" as just as important as Reading, Riting and Rithmetic.
    Sorry if I appear to be a pain in the "Rs".

  • Comment number 42.

    The 3 R's is misleading in itself. Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic!?! Confused me as a child in the 1950's. Having said that I don't think anyone left the village primary witout being able to read or do maths with a variable degree of competency. It has amazed me that the teaching profession & government do not seem to see that unless a child can read, write & do maths then almost everything else (except maybe art) is going to be difficult if not impossible for them to make any progress. What good is humanities if you can't read the books? How can they do physics or chemistry if they can't read well, express well and do maths? We need to remove the liberal leftie thinking and go back to getting basics right so the children are standing on firm ground to build their confidence and future.

  • Comment number 43.

    Based on the shocking spelling and grammar on some of these posts perhaps the initiative has not gone far enough?

  • Comment number 44.

    Surely basic reading, writing and arithmetic are the basis of all education and not just a government bandwagon.

    If schools are unable to teach these then we really do have problems.

  • Comment number 45.

    This new HYS is really boring!

  • Comment number 46.

    For Hugh Morley, How can the reasoning of sciences be applied if they have not been taught to read what's there? Without understanding the written word and to be able to compose a coherent argument (a sentence would be good these days) or the maths to be able to calculate the area for a crop or how much rain-forest is being lost, it can't work. The basics have to be there first the rest will follow.

  • Comment number 47.

    I read a question from a GCSE maths exam in the paper a couple of days ago and almost cried. A five year old could have answered it. A generation of young people have had their futures all but erased by the system in this country.

    Being able to read, write and perform good arithmetic forms the backbone of all good education systems. Why does this country struggle so much? Let's look at countries like Singapore, Norway and Germany who are producing armies of highly skilled and capable young people. Look at their methods and exam standards and copy them, or large parts of them. And remove the political meddling!!

  • Comment number 48.

    If we take all the hype away and use our personal experiences then we can certainly see a downward trend in ability. Basic mental arithmetic is going down hill. I used to be a barman. I could add 20 to 30 £ rounds in my head (and i am no maths wiz)but now they struggle with two drinks. No seriously. Spelling has also gone down and if you talk to the kids you realise it is the way they have been taught. If you need modern technology to do basic maths or to correct spelling, then you DO NOT KNOW THE SUBJECT. The basics are important because basics are the foundations that everything else is built on. Labour need to stop being so target driven. It is harming all public services.

  • Comment number 49.

    I dont think the government should push for teaching of the 3R's, primarily because they fail in spelling it right in the first place: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic - RWA.


  • Comment number 50.

    The three 'R's are of course essential- but I'm sure the Teachers have a point about education being used as a political football, vulnerable to Labours 'slogan of the month' approach to everything. If 'R's are old hat, how about 'weeding ,righting and withmatic'?.

    Its a sad day--no more readers recommendations, just a long list of comments. Can't be bothered to read them, presented in this form. The Beeb expect everyone to accept this after a few days of moaning, but I for one will not be back.

  • Comment number 51.

    '.. The reason teaching is poor is because many teachers and parents were put off maths during their childhood and this feeds on to the current generation... '

    What utter rubbish. Its not the teaching that's poor the difficulty with maths is that you have to THINK, something most young people are incapable of.

  • Comment number 52.

    As a parent of 2 shilden under 11 I feel that I can offer a contribution to this valuable HYS.

    Schooling has been completely hijacked by Politicians and their ever growing band of statistics gathers.

    My son has difficulty with literacy (as do a large number of other boys in his year) and their difficulty can't all be down to their intelligence. I think it says more about the way the lessons are run and the enormous variety of topics and subjects they are supposed to learn.

    Bottom line : spend more time on the basics, this will set up children more effectively than making sure that they understand so much about "diversity" as they do.

    PS - I do not like the new HYS. Can we have a subject on "the new have your say"?

    Also, I won't be reviewing it like I used to as its impossible to gain a "short list" of the popular posts!

  • Comment number 53.

    The key to a good school?

    Independence from a meddling central government and its resource wasting intitiatives.

    So exactly the same answer as 'what is the key to a good hospital', a good police force, etc etc.

    p.s. I am not anti-change, when it is for the better, but DO NOT LIKE THE NEW HYS - Bring back Recommedations, or some form of reader feedback.

  • Comment number 54.

    Part of the declining 3R's standards problem seems to have been created by government.

    Talking to numerous teachers over the last couple of years we find that most think the demands made by government (stats, set curiculum timetable, tick boxes etc) prevent them from nurturing children in the best way.

    Put another way, the demands of the current system decensitise teachers or make it difficult to teach with sensitivity for actual pupil need.

    The Sunday Times tells us 20% of current maths teachers can't do combined addition and multiplication which indicates a much larger percentage can not do more complex maths required by the curiculum.

    How is it a vast number of teachers are qualifying for things they can not do? again it's down to governments management of the system.

    1 in 3 children leaving school can not read properly and have a limited vocabluary (texting), this problem is clearly structural, eg: demise of reading, too much TV (soaps).

  • Comment number 55.

    Literecy and Numeracy are what school is for but unfortunately they have fallen by the wayside for a number of decades.

  • Comment number 56.

    Replace them with what exactly?

    Media Studies???????

    Get a grip. The three R's underpin everything that goes afterwards ... and they need to be taught in a traditional way.

    Sort this out HM Gov...let teachers teach and stop meddling.

  • Comment number 57.

    But surely, with the exam pass rates for GCSEs at a record high - so high that we need an A* grade that we never had before - our children are already super-intelligent? Record numbers are at university. Why fix a system that is producing such well-read, thoughtful and eminently employable young people who are the envy of the world?

    My three words? 'I'm a tangerine'

  • Comment number 58.

    The three Rs are central to a good education. Too many kids are leaving school innumerate and barely literate. Not only that but the CVs of many university students are appalling; they can hardly string two sentences together.

    By the way, I hate the format of this new HYS and the absence of a 'Recommendation' button. Why did the Beeb change something that was working perfectly well?

  • Comment number 59.

    My daughter came home from school one day, many years ago, and saif that they were doing "mapping" in maths, I asked her to explain.

    She said that 2 plus 2 no longer equaled 4

    no, new maths now said that

    2 plus 2 maps to 4.


  • Comment number 60.

    chrisk50 wrote:
    '2+2 still equals 4 no matter how you try to change it.'

    Not necessarily. In some instances 2+2 = 1.

  • Comment number 61.

    I am afraid this all goes back to parents complaining that their children are stressed out by schoolwork and forcing successive governments to dumb down education so the children don't feel stress.

    Parents need to take a lot of the blame for this. The average child would not understand the meaning of stress if their parents didn't pander to them too much and taught them that education is the most important thing in their young lives.

  • Comment number 62.

    My friend has just returned to Cape Town from London and her two young sons are struggling as the standard in South African schools is much higher. This is despite having started school two years earlier than the SA children.

  • Comment number 63.

    Er -Excuse me!
    Please could we have the Three “R’s” brought back?

  • Comment number 64.

    The three Rs reading , writing and arithmetic have long thought to be the most important parts of a child's education. They are the basic building blocks, strong foundations upon which children are taught to extend their knowledge on a broad range of fascinating subjects like science, mathematics, computing, accounting, geography, history, astronomy, space etc. Fascinating tools like computers, videos, camrecorders, video-cameras, telescopes, laser printers, television empower children in their quest for the truth. A optimal combination of methods should be used to enhance the level of teaching and education. The education authorities should encourage teachers to use practical and pragmatic models to inculcate children with the thirst for knowledge. Children should be encouraged to put questions to experts who would be willing to give on the spot practical demonstrations. For example children should be allowed to visit proto-types of space-crafts, aeroplanes. Curiosity is the essence of life and once tapped opens fantastic new visions.

  • Comment number 65.

    The three R's worked perfectly well for my generation (50's / 60's) - as the government increased it's interference in Education, standards have declined. And are getting worse.

  • Comment number 66.

    Just a Simple question,,'Why'.

  • Comment number 67.

    I listened to the "Prime Ministers" lengthy speech about education. Being as he was such a vocal proponent of the Scottish Parliament he must know that Education is a devolved matter - and that due to devolution he can't influence education in his own constituency.

    Why then did Mr Brown say "Britain" nine times and England not at all? He was talking exclusively about education in England. Why won't Mr Brown call England - England?

  • Comment number 68.

    Of course the "Three Rs" should be replaced.

    Everything that fails should be changed.

    Targets which are not met should be made less exacting.

    Exams which are too difficult should be made easier.

    Get my drift?

  • Comment number 69.

    Going by what I have seen in recent years, they need to reintroduce the '3R's'. Today's school leavers often cannot spell properly, don't know the meaning of grammar, and are incapable of any form of arithmetic, either written or mental. What are the schools teaching them ? By the way, I am another who does not like the new HYS.

  • Comment number 70.

    Of course the 3Rs must be kept - unless anyone thinks the next generation ought to be illiterate. But not the 3Rs to the exclusion of everything else! Perhaps government interference causes teachers to concentrate on the mechanics of reading to get pupils through the tests. If standards of literacy are falling after a certain age, it could be because there is no time left in a crowded curriculum for teachers to inspire children and instil in them a love of literature. If children love stories, they will read.
    Please, please, can we have the old HYS format back???

  • Comment number 71.

    Anyone who is above 40 knows the standard of people coming out of the the education system has fallen rapidly over the last twenty years (even though the state tries to misinform us). A basic lacking in reading and maths is endemic. This is what the neo Marxist want, all equal, all poor, easy to control. Stalinism in the UK.

    PS why no recommendation button on the new HYS? Getting too close to an election and running scared?

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm feeling slightly unwell - sensible comments from OFSTED!

    They are quite correct in identifying the core problem: continuous micro-management from government, continuous 'initiatives' and interference in professionals doing their job.

    Yes, all children ought to have a good grasp of the basics by the time they ENTER high school, never mind when they leave - and I think one of the problems is the manic insistence that all students move in age-based lockstep rather than progressing (or being held back to repeat a year) based on individual ability and achievement.

    And I am a teacher... :)

  • Comment number 73.

    Absolutely ridiculous. Half the nation cannot spell correctly and perform simple arithmetic as it is and it gets worse by the year. We need to adhere to the three 'R's more not less. It is so painful watching the country crumble.

    Please note that I do not like the new site either. I can see what the BBC are trying to achieve in depleting the power of the established HYS moaners but 'Readers Recommended' was a useful sounding of the nation having discounted the loony left and radical right.

  • Comment number 74.

    I don't know how the 3 Rs are being taught - but they should not be replaced. When people complete CVs for jobs and are turned down because they contain poor grammar (guess what, employers look for things like this) what favours have we done them in failing to teach properly? I am still looking for the item that belongs to "potato's". Why are apostrophes so difficult? I remember the amazement of a shop assistant when I purchased five identical items, was charged for six and challenged her - how could I tell? Knowing a "times table" helped me out. Personally I would add onto the 3 Rs a basic first aid course.

  • Comment number 75.

    And does anybody wonder why education standards have fallen in the last 10 years or so?

  • Comment number 76.

    Socialist Governments can't stop themselves from continously meddling in every aspect of peoples lives. They change established policies on a whim and education is a sound example. Since 1997 there have been regular policy changes, sometimes enacted before the last one has filtered through.

    No wonder teachers in this case and the public at large get so frustrated with this constant & destabilising interference by ministers.

  • Comment number 77.

    You want 3 words that sum up a good state education system?

    Fund Not Control.

    After 40 years we have managed to gradually erode the eduation system to the point where grades are practically worthless and the all-must-have-prizes mentality of political meddling has led to children going to university when they were much better suited to a trade or work outright.

    Fund Not Control.

    BTW HYS where is the recommend function? Dont want people to exhort a consensus view and shoot right to the to eh?

  • Comment number 78.

    I think the three Rs should replaced with RWA(Reading Writing Arithmatice and obviously more emphasis needed on S for spelling. As well maintaining a broad range of subjects. so the RRR should be replaced with RWAS+.

    I like this new format by the way. The recommend button was rubbish wasn't it.I suspect it was fiddled and Totally misrepresented public opinion and its so much easier to spot the party spammers.

  • Comment number 79.

    It could be good to concentrate on the 3 Rs but it depends on how it's done. In my childrens' state primary school, it does not seem to be done in an effective way. My daughter, who I believe has normal or above average intelligence, has struggled with literacy, but the school's answer to this is for her to go over the same things (easy words) over and over again, and this doesn't help her to progress atall, it makes her go round in circles. She's actually good at Maths, but the school doesn't seem to notice and keeps giving her easy Maths work, again not helping her to progress. I'm sure there are better ways of teaching with higher expectations but our school doesn't seem to have found the better ways

  • Comment number 80.

    Replace with what?
    Up until the 1960's Reading, Righting (writing) and Rithmatic (arithmetic) were the very basics of education and everyone benefited from being able to use these skills to improve themselves.
    Even more effort should be made to to teach these three R's, other 'initiatives' should be reduced considerably.

  • Comment number 81.

    No, I don't believe the three r's should be replaced, but I do believe that we need to stop introducing new initiatives all the time, I can imagine this does create extra work for teachers the distracts them from the most important task...'teaching' funnily enough. These initiatives are often well-meant, but never given enough time to make any difference before the next one comes in.

    By the way BBC - I DO like the new look HYS, especially doing away with knee-jerk 'most recommended' comments that often skew the debate all out proportion.

  • Comment number 82.

    My primary education focused on the 3 Rs, using other subjects (such as the sciences) to promote these key basics. The standard of work I see my nephews doing 15 years on from my time at school is appalling. Unless a child understands the basics of English grammar, how can they be expected to understand French grammar? Without understanding basic mathematic principles, how can then interpret historical data or learn to read music correctly? These basics are the key to understanding every subject put in front of us and are tools for life. Too much focus is now given to the 'IT world'. More often than not, my nephews' homework is simply replicating what has been done during class on the computer and not actually developing their learning any further. IT has a place in the curriculum, but it shouldn't dominate it. As a result, we are turning out poorly educated children with illegible hand-writing and a poor grasp on most subjects because they haven't had a good grounding in the basics.

    My education in the 1980/90s seems much better than today's education - but when I talk to my sisters and my boyfriend (educated in the 1960s/70s, it appears that my education fell short of theirs. Something to do with the introduction of the national curriculum in c.1986/7 that immediately dumbed down the level of education (my teachers refused to move me over to the approved texts and maths books for my age as I, along with a number of my class mates, was far more advanced than expected for my age).

    So, reading, writing and arithmetic are the basic tools of life and all primary school children should be given a good grounding in these. Without these, what hope do they have?

  • Comment number 83.

    No. 71 you need to get your facts straight. I was in school in the 80's and education was already in a decline, mainly because the right wing government of the time decided to dumb down from O Level to GCSE so that everybody, no matter how non-intellectual managed to get a qualification, looked good on the figures.

  • Comment number 84.

    P.S. Please bring back 'Recommendation' If you do not you will quickly lose HYS posters.

  • Comment number 85.

    Another example of a poor quality HYS.
    The report does not criticise the three "R"s, it criticises the large number of initiatives which are continuously being introduced before there has been time to be properly assess the existing strategy.

    If anyone watched the last two Dispatches programmes on Channel 4, they'd know that the current quality of maths teaching in some schools is woefully inadequate, and improving teacher's capability in teaching basic maths is 15 years overdue.

  • Comment number 86.

    I recently sat down one evening with my 18 year old daughter & 19 year old boyfriend to watch the film 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'
    They asked me what it was about, I explained that it was action/fantasy film based on several famous fictional literary characters.
    Alan Quatermaine....blank look from both & slight shake of head.
    um...Mina Harker...same response.
    er...Dorian Gray...same response.
    er...Captain Nemo...same..
    Tom Sawyer...same.
    Dr. Jekyll Mr Hyde...blank.
    I know....lets watch 'Wallace & Grommit'

  • Comment number 87.

    Maths and English are the most important tools in life. Any child who is not equiped is destined to fail both in there search for a career and in their finances.
    Yet our children are being taught by teachers who do not know the subjects they are teaching. To be a teacher you will need GCSE (or standard equivalents) at Grade C or above in English language and mathmatics, it used to be O Levels in Literacy and Numeracy, when did this change?
    You must be Politically Correct to teach, thus part of the ignorant minority who will teach our kids anything but what they really need to know. No child should leave primary school untill they know Maths and English and parents should sue if their children are failed.
    Dislexia has been used to often to cover bad teaching and teachers and it's time for teachers to teach, not to babysit a conveyor belt of children into ignorance.
    Children are not failing society, society is failing children!

  • Comment number 88.

    I think the three Rs should be replaced with lessons in 'How to organise message boards'. Then perhaps we'd have a search facility, a simple way of quoting another message and a reply facility so that it's clear which message we are commenting on.

  • Comment number 89.

    Thank you BBC HYS for doing away with 'most recommended' comments. Many comments often get recommended not because they're true or factual, but because they happen to be popular with a certain group of extreme HYSers...take this debate for example:

    "I regularly meet graduates who can barely write a coherent sentence, cannot do the most basic arithmetic without a calculator and who cannot spell."

    The above is purely anecdotal evidence with no attempt to back up the claims with facts. I work in training for the construction industry, and I have also met a large number of graduates over the years, and most have had a good level of numeracy and literacy. Occasionally the odd one is quite poor, but only occasionally.

  • Comment number 90.

    When I was at kindergarten/primary school our teachers used to do three things to promote the three 'Rs' which seem to have gone completely out of fashion - but which were nevertheless really worthwhile.
    1. Start all Maths lessons with some quick fire mental arithmetic.
    2. Encourage pupils to practise copper plate writing on special lined paper with the script to be copied printed above. Excellent for all pupils to develop a steady and legible handwriting style.
    3. Encourage all pupils to read out loud either individually or as a group during English lessons. Worked wonders for the slow readers and the dyslexic who benefitted tremendously in the process.

  • Comment number 91.

    The three Rs are the corner stone of education. If students can't read, can't write, and are innumerate, it would
    be a waste of time and money trying to teach them anything since they lacked the basic skills needed for study
    and learning. Their ability to exist in today's society would be almost impossible; all branches of Science and Art would be closed books to them. Unless you want to create an underclass of moronic workers doomed to
    a lifetime of joyless heavy labour, ignore the importance of the three Rs at your peril.

  • Comment number 92.

    No, we need more 'R's....waity a minutey.
    What are the three 'R's??
    and -rithmetic.

    Typical.Not really the three 'R's at all. No wonder the kids are revolting.

    Might as well as been the 5 'I's,or 2 'A's + 1 'W', 'RAW' e.t.c.
    ...the Foolocracy Remains(always someone,somewhere who can make an 'R's of it).

  • Comment number 93.

    <RICHPOST>marychambers@88<BR /><BR /><i>"I think the three Rs should be replaced with lessons in 'How to organise message boards'. Then perhaps we'd have a search facility, a simple way of quoting another message and a reply facility so that it's clear which message we are commenting on."</i><BR /><BR />I know this looks complicated but it isn't really.<BR /><i>italics</i><br><BR /><BR />&lt;i&gt;<i>paste quote here</i>&lt;/i&gt;<BR /><BR />This is what most people do on the blogs.<BR /><BR /></RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 94.

    When will this government stop poking its nose into places it has no expertise to comment in? Bring on the election!

  • Comment number 95.

    They still teach the 3 R's?? Wow!


    Note to HYS - If it's not broke, don't fix it!

  • Comment number 96.

    Judging by the standards of job applicants I have dealt with over the last 5 years its pretty clear the three Rs have long since been abolished or ignored. They know their rights but not responsibilities, they know what they can demand from employers, but dont think smart appearance, good time keeping and good manners are neccessary.

  • Comment number 97.

    It would be nice to think that schools taught Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. On the evidence of the graduates I have met recently I have some doubts!

    Incidentally the new HYS is not very good.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    Changing something just because they can ?

    Sounds somewhat similar to the BBC with HYS.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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