Already, in 1976, people were worrying about the effects of the changes that were endorsed by the Plowden Report of 1966.
This "child centred" approach ... invariably involved a move away from rote learning. In addition, to a greater or lesser degree, formal subjects gave way to varied progress of individual or group work, sometimes on a project basis. Aesthetic subjects and "free expression" were given greater prominence.
12. In the right hands this approach is capable of producing admirable results ... Unfortunately these newer and freer methods could prove a trap to less able and experienced teachers who failed to recognise that they required a careful and systematic monitoring of the progress of individual children in specific skills, as well as a careful planning of the opportunities offered to them ...
13. As a result, while primary teachers in general still recognise the importance of formal skills, some have allowed performance in them to suffer as a result of the uncritical application of informal methods; and the time is almost certainly ripe for a corrective shift of emphasis. HM Inspectors have for some time stressed the need to make teachers conscious of the importance of a systematic approach.
There are signs that [it] is becoming more widely understood that the new approaches do demand rigour and some recognition of the widely-varying capabilities of individual teachers.