Page 1 of 10
1. The Government set out in the Coalition Agreement its commitment to give schools greater freedom over the curriculum. As part of that commitment, the Government has announced proposals for a systematic and comprehensive review of the National Curriculum in England for 5- to 16-year olds.
2. It is important to distinguish between the National Curriculum and the wider school curriculum. The National Curriculum was originally envisaged as a guide to study in key subjects which would give parents and teachers confidence that students were acquiring the knowledge necessary at every level of study to make appropriate progress. As it has developed, the National Curriculum has come to cover more subjects, prescribe more outcomes and take up more school time than originally intended. It is the Government's intention that the National Curriculum be slimmed down so that it properly reflects the body of essential knowledge which all children should learn and does not absorb the overwhelming majority of teaching time in schools. Individual schools should have greater freedom to construct their own programmes of study in subjects outside the National Curriculum and develop approaches to learning and study which complement it.
3. The new National Curriculum will be developed in line with the Coalition Government’s stated principles of freedom, responsibility and fairness – to raise standards for all children. The National Curriculum should have the following aims at its heart:
4. The National Curriculum will continue to be a statutory requirement for maintained schools but will also retain its importance as a national benchmark of excellence for all schools, providing parents with an understanding of what their child should be expected to know at every stage in their school career.
5. The work of the review will be managed by the Department for Education and will report to the Secretary of State for Education, who has statutory responsibility for the National Curriculum. The Secretary of State has appointed an Advisory Committee to guide the review and help to frame recommendations, which will be chaired by the Director-General for Education Standards in the Department. The Secretary of State has also asked Mr Tim Oates1 to lead an Expert Panel that will provide an evidence base for the review and will ensure that the construction and content of the new National Curriculum is based in evidence and informed by international best practice.
6. The principal objectives for the review are to:
7. The review will also take into account the emerging conclusions of the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to ensure a smooth transition from the EYFS to Key Stage 1.
Page 1 of 10