1. The Government has set out, in the Coalition Agreement, its intention 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 for 5- to 16-year-olds in England.  

2. 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 and to narrow achievement gaps. The National Curriculum should embody rigour and high standards and create coherence in what is taught in schools, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to acquire a core of knowledge in the key subject disciplines. 

3. The remit for this review sets out that the work of the review will be managed by the Department for Education, and also that the Secretary of State has appointed an Advisory Committee to guide the review and help to frame recommendations. The Secretary of State has also decided that the work of the review will be supported through the creation of 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 upon international best practice.

4. This paper sets out the terms of reference for the Advisory Committee referred to in paragraph 3.

Membership of the committee

5. The Secretary of State has decided that the committee should consist of the Director-General for Education Standards, the chair of the Expert Panel, a number of successful current or former headteachers from across the primary, secondary and special school sectors (including representatives from academies and independent as well as maintained schools), a representative from higher education, a representative from an employers’ organisation and an observer from Ofsted.

6. The full membership of the committee and pen pictures of members are available to download from this page.

7. The committee will be chaired by Jon Coles, the Department for Education’s Director-General for Education Standards.

Responsibilities of the committee

8. The Advisory Committee will support the Department in the conduct of the review by drawing on the individual and collective expertise and experience of its members to offer a wider perspective on the proposals from the Expert Panel and providing advice on strategic and cross-cutting issues that may arise from the review.

9. This support will have four key aspects:

  • to help the Department for Education to ensure that the review delivers the objectives described in its remit
  • to provide a wider perspective and feedback on proposals and recommendations generated by the Expert Panel
  • to consider and make recommendations on strategic and cross-cutting issues arising from the review as and when it is invited to do so by the Secretary of State
  • to advise the Director-General for Education Standards in drawing up the final recommendations regarding the future form and design of the National Curriculum.

Responsibilities of the chair

10. In order to help the committee fulfil these functions, the chair will ensure that the committee

  • has access to information about the progress of the review
  • is updated regularly by the chair of the Expert Panel as to the progress of its work
  • is consulted on all of the recommendations and proposals arising from the review
  • has access to appropriate secretariat support
  • meets no less frequently than every eight weeks
  • has access to appropriate facilities and accommodation.

11. The chair will ensure that the minutes of committee meetings are circulated to members.

12. The chair will also take responsibility for preparing and presenting the final recommendations from the review to the Secretary of State.