New secondary curriculum
creates time to focus on the basics and stretch high achievers
CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES News Release (2007/0127) issued by
The Government News Network on 12 July 2007
knowledge protected as duplication is reduced
The new Secondary Curriculum, unveiled today, will free up around
a quarter of the school day to enable teachers to give more help
to pupils struggling to master the basics in English and Maths and
raise standards higher across the board.
Ministers asked the QCA to review the curriculum to create
flexibility for schools to provide "catch up" support in
literacy and numeracy for teenagers who are struggling while
stretching those with particular talents and gifts in subjects.
Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls announced that
the new curriculum will cut clutter and reduce duplication and
enable schools to do much more with the traditional school day to
prepare pupils for the demands of today's world. As well as
an even sharper focus on literacy and numeracy and retaining
established subject knowledge, the new curriculum places greater
emphasis on equipping young people with the personal, learning and
thinking skills they need to succeed in employment and adult life.
Mr Balls said: "By cutting waste and duplication in the
curriculum, I am giving teachers the time to concentrate on what
is really vital.
"I have protected the classic elements of the curriculum
that have stood the test of time such as Shakespeare, algebra,
historic dates and the World Wars. And I want these to be taught
even better - in a lively, exciting way which enthuses and motivates.
"In a rapidly changing world, we also need a school
curriculum which evolves to provide teenagers with the up to date
knowledge they will need to succeed.
"Every child should have a good grasp of grammar, spelling
and arithmetic. They should also have wider skills that
increasingly employers and universities demand, such as the
ability to express themselves and think clearly and have a dynamic
'can do' attitude. They also need to learn skills to
help them excel in a fast-changing world - for example: financial
capability and learning economically useful languages like
Mandarin and Urdu.
"We must help our children flourish by developing their
personal skills as global citizens while maintaining a rigorous
focus on traditional subject knowledge, exam results and high
academic standards. So there's more emphasis on developing
in-depth understanding of the key ideas, skills and content of
each subject discipline."
The new curriculum follows the first major review of the
curriculum since 2000 which was launched for consultation by the
QCA in February. It will come into force from September 2008.
Some of the key changes and retained elements include:
- History: Pupils will continue to learn about important events
of the last century, such as the World Wars and the Holocaust and
also study key aspects of British History including Medieval
History and the Industrial Revolution while also learning about
the history of the slave trade. The importance of dates will be
taught and chronological understanding will underpin studies;
- English: Teenagers will continue to study Shakespeare as well
as the canon of pre-20th century literary classics including
Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and George Eliot;
- Languages: While continuing to study French, Spanish and
German, schools will also get greater freedom to offer
economically useful world languages such as Mandarin and Urdu;
* Citizenship: Following Keith Ajegbo's review, pupils will
learn shared British values and study national identity in the UK
through the prism of History, including covering issues such as
the legacy of the British Empire;
* Geography: Pupils will continue to use atlases and maps and
learn about human and physical geography. Sustainable development,
environmental change and world poverty will be given a much
stronger focus as a theme throughout the curriculum to prepare
youngsters to become more global citizens;
* Cooking: Pupils aged 11-14 will get an entitlement to cook and
will be taught how to make simple, healthy meals from basic fresh
ingredients, helping to combat obesity;
* Science: Will remain a core compulsory subject in the
curriculum and all pupils who reach the required level will have
entitlement to study triple separate sciences (Physics, Chemistry
and Biology) at GCSE by September 2008;
* Economic Wellbeing: Pupils will be taught essential financial
life skills through functional maths and in Personal Social Health
and Economic Education (PSHE). These will include: personal
finance, enterprise and financial capability; learning about risk
and reward; investment and trade; personal budgeting; mortgages;
interest rates; and balancing credit cards;
* PE: Lessons will combine physical activity with learning how
exercise affects fitness and health and schools will also have
even more flexibility to run the physical activities that best
meet their pupils' needs.
All 11-14 year old pupils will continue to study all 12 subjects
of the National Curriculum. These subjects will remain the
backbone of a broad and balanced curriculum for this age group.
The secondary curriculum will put more emphasis on personal
skills such as initiative and the capacity to learn independently,
better preparing pupils for GCSEs and the new Diplomas. There is
growing evidence of the importance of these skills in all walks of life.
The new curriculum will also help to ensure that young people are
well-prepared for the choices they make during the all important
14-19 phase, whether they choose to study GCSEs, A Levels,
Diplomas or Apprenticeships. It will also give them the grounding
they need to succeed in the new functional skills qualifications
which all young people will take in future.
NOTES TO EDITORS
This press notice relates to 'England'
1. Following the consultation on the revised curriculum launched
in February, the Qualifications Curriculum Authority (QCA)
provided formal advice to Ministers in early June before the
curriculum was finalised by Ministers. The new curriculum will be
available to schools for planning purposes from September 2007.
2. The new Key Stage 3 curriculum will be phased in over a three
year period. It becomes statutory for Year 7 pupils in September
2008; from September 2009, it will apply to all Year 7 and Year 8
pupils; and from September 2010 it will apply across Years 7, 8
and 9. Changes to the Key Stage 4 curriculum begin rolling out in
3. The first five Diplomas will be taught from September 2008 in
145 consortia of schools and colleges in 97 Local Authorities. 14
Diplomas will eventually be available to all young people aged
14-19 from 2013. All students will be studying new functional
skills qualifications either as part of their GCSEs or as stand
alone qualifications. The functional skills qualifications are
being piloted in schools and colleges from September 2007.
0870 000 2288
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