CPRT’s weekly blog is approaching its first anniversary. During the past year teachers, heads, students, journalists and CPRT leaders have written about a wide range of educational issues. Some have done so with joy, some with anger, some with gravity and some with wit. All have shared their belief in a primary education grounded in evidence and vision, that secures children’s skills, enriches their understanding and enlarges their imaginations and lives.
To celebrate this coming anniversary, and because we believe that the blogs are by no means as ephemeral in substance as they are in format, we have brought many of them together in a specially edited volume entitled Primary Colours: Westminster postcards from the Cambridge Primary Review Trust. The collection may be viewed online, printed out, or purchased as a bound book at modest cost.
We are sure that the puns in the title ‘Primary Colours’ will be instantly deciphered, but why ‘Westminster postcards’? Well, education policy has become so pervasive and intrusive, and so deeply controversial as to substance and process, that it would have been irresponsible as well as impossible to ignore it, especially in an election year. So with a new government in place we thought it would be salutary, and perhaps even entertaining, to reverse the flow and present this collection to ministers as both a policy commentary and a reminder of what really matters.
But even assuming that ministers read it, the collection is of at least equal interest to everyone else involved in primary education. Many of the contributions speak directly to the condition of children and teachers, and the empowerment of both groups is a recurrent theme for the Trust itself. Thus alongside the policy critiques are pieces about children’s voice, curriculum, assessment and school leadership, about life in primary schools as it really is, and about some of the moral, social and global challenges which confront, or should confront, our assumptions about what education is for.
That’s just for starters. CPRT has recently commissioned seven new research reviews to supplement the three already published and the two in the pipeline. Kate Pickett’s report on equality, equity and social disadvantage will appear later this month, and between September and next March we’ll be producing expert reports on the educational dimensions and implications of other big and burning issues: vulnerable children, sustainability and global understanding, migration and demographic change, digital futures, teacher education and training, alternative models of accountability and quality assurance, and the trajectory and impact of recent education reforms.
The CPRT reports and briefings published so far are being discussed within our regional networks, in schools and in some teacher education courses. We hope that Primary Colours and the anticipation of further CPRT publications will quicken this trend and that the wealth of new material CPRT is generating will take its place on the must-read list of every intending and practising primary teacher, school leader, teacher educator, researcher and consultant, alongside what remains our key publication: Children, their World, their Education: final report and recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review.