Despite the Today programme's insistence on the term, "independent" is certainly not an apt description of today's report from the self-styled 'largest' review of primary education in 40 years. It is another deeply ideological strike against standards and effective teaching of the 3Rs in our primary schools.
Many of its contributors oppose the very idea of school 'standards' and have an ideological opposition to external testing. They have been permanent critics of the changes of recent decades. And it is only in that light that the review's conclusions can be understood.
Of course, there is no conflict between teaching literacy and numeracy, and the other subjects within the primary curriculum. And the best schools do indeed show how doing them all well provides a good and rounded education. Presenting this as the point of difference is a diversionary Aunt Sally.
However, there is a very real conflict between recognising the need to single literacy and numeracy out for extra time over the other subjects as with the dedicated literacy and numeracy lessons, and making them just another aspect of primary schooling that pupils may or may not pick up along the way.
For far too long, after the Plowden review and a move towards so-called 'progressive' teaching, children were not being taught to read and write properly. Schools too often expected children to pick up reading by looking at books rather than being taught phonetically. Grammar and tables were often not taught, as they were seen as elitist.
The literacy hour started to undo this damage, and Jim Rose's excellent report on phonics pointed the way forward for the future. Part of the 'prescription' of the literacy hour included an expectation that children learn to spell and express themselves correctly. Good teachers pointed the way to synthetic phonics, not government diktat. Equally, many primary teachers lacked confidence in teaching basic arithmetic before the daily numeracy lessons.
But some university schools of education remained wedded to the old ways and were reluctant to accept these changes. After all, they had often failed to teach teachers properly how to teach these subjects. A return to a situation where the teaching of these basics is subsumed again into a process of osmosis would destroy another generation of primary schoolchildren in the same way that the children of the seventies were failed.
Of course, we need to get the balance right, and I argued last week that we can do so with primary testing, but the Primary Review is not about getting the balance right; it is about reversing the changes of the last twenty years and returning our schools to a time when there was no public accountability and the basics were largely subsumed into other lessons.
Ministers and their Tory shadows need to start saying so, and doing so loudly.
This post has been picked up by the Reading Reform Foundation.