Curriculum Consultation … Some Clarity (Primary and Secondary)

Primary consultation

The Department’s National Curriculum Review Update has caused some confusion with respect to the consultation on the primary English, maths and science documents. See:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/nationalcurriculum/b0075667/national-curriculum-review-update

Scanning down to the end of the section headed ‘Draft National Curriculum documents for primary English, mathematics and science published’ one finds the alarming message that the consultation will run for one month until 11th July.

However, a more careful read through reveals that this refers to consultation on the draft regulations for ICT disapplication.

We are told that the English, maths and science draft documents are ‘a starting point for discussion with key stakeholders at this stage, but there will be a full public consultation on the revised drafts which will start towards the end of this year‘.

It remains to be seen who the key stakeholders are and when ‘towards the end of this year’ will turn out to be.

With the Secretary of State’s declared vision of the curriculum as simply a set of subjects, it seems probable that the consultation will have a subject rather than a ‘big picture’ focus. It is obviously vital to do all we can to ensure the outcome is a curriculum through which young people optimise their potential and learn the knowledge, skills, understanding and aptitudes they need both in terms of key subjects and their personal development.

Hence the Curriculum Foundation is encouraging all stakeholders in education (i.e. everyone) to post comments related to both draft subject documents and the whole curriculum overview. When the time comes we intend to have gathered a wealth of information and opinion for people to draw upon when responding to the full consultation.

Links to the draft subject documents:

English:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/d/draft%20national%20curriculum%20for%20english%20key%20stages%201%202.pdf

Maths:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/d/draft%20national%20curriculum%20for%20mathematics%20key%20stages%201%202.pdf

Science:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/d/draft%20national%20curriculum%20for%20science%20key%20stages%201%202.pdf

Please add your comments below re these drafts and all other aspects of the wider curriculum.

Colleagues are currently working on responses to the subject drafts and these will appear on the blog shortly.

Secondary consultation

The Department’s original message was that the primary consultation would take place simultaneously with that on the secondary National Curriculum. Now the announcement has been made that there will be no such thing in future, it remains to be seen what consultation there will be, if any, with respect to the future of secondary education.

Since the GCSE / O level / CSE leak, Mr Gove has made clear his opinion that he can make this change without legislation, and hence without the support of the Lib Dems.

The debate over the future of GCSEs has completely overshadowed the dramatic announcement concerning the abolition of the secondary curriculum. This major change may well require primary legislation and a public consultation on whether there should be a national curriculum for secondary would certainly seem appropriate.

Of course, no phase of education exists in isolation and comments on the primary proposals are encouraged from colleagues of all phases.

Watch this space for posts relating to a host of wider curriculum issues and to primary, secondary and early years.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Curriculum Consultation … Some Clarity (Primary and Secondary)

  1. So we assumed the draft Programmes of Study were Year on Year…
    I had the pleasure of asking Jacquie Spatcher (Head of National Curriculum Review Division)DfE a few questions last week.
    The year on year approaches and core knowledge moving on as a whole class were the lines of enquiry. So from the DfE the year on year is meant to be “guidance” and there is no change to the statutory expectations for end of a Key Stage. Schools would decide where children access the year on year objectives and POS.
    “Schools must do what is sensible for your children”
    Is there a place for personalization? “Yes definately… it’s not about holding classes back”
    We need to pay attention to the statement that all schools will be required to publish their curriculum on line by September 2012. What this looks like and the depth of the ‘publishing’ is still to be decided.Thin info on removal of levels and new assessment methods although it ‘may’ look like A-F or percentiles or met / exceeded / not met or the wording in the Programmes of Study…
    As for a Secondary response we were told that much of the features of the primary will be mirrored except for KS structure and statutory subjects in KS3 and KS4.
    Don’t expect anything before the summer was the line…

    • That was a fruitful conversation, Alex. Thanks for sharing it.
      Schools could easily be misled re the status of ‘year on year’ guidance and implications for personalised learning without this supplementary information.
      My guess is that schools will have a lot of leeway with respect to the manner in which they publish the curriculum. It is remarkable that guidance is awaited with the September deadline and only a few weeks to go before the end of term.
      The issue of what will replace levels and attainment targets is going to be very interesting. The wider implications re gauging learners’ progress, Raise online, Ofsted judgements will take a lot of sorting.
      If anyone else has useful intelligence to share after conversations with DfE colleagues, please add comments.

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