Primary Education: Curriculum
Children, Schools and Families

Photo of David Laws

David Laws (Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Children, Schools and Families; Yeovil, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will list the curriculum changes in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools since 1 May 1997; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jim Knight

Jim Knight (Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families; South Dorset, Labour)

A revised curriculum was introduced in 2000. For primary schools the changes were:

the introduction of a statement setting out the rationale for the school curriculum, including its values and aims;

a new general statement on inclusion, setting out the different ways in which teachers should ensure that individuals or groups of pupils are provided with appropriate opportunities for learning across all national curriculum subjects;

the introduction of revised English programmes of study at key stages 1 and 2 which are aligned with the national literacy strategy 'Framework for Teaching';

the introduction of revised mathematics programmes of study at key stages 1 and 2 which are aligned with the 'Framework for Teaching Mathematics';

the introduction of a non-statutory framework for the teaching of personal, social and health education.

For secondary schools the changes were:

the introduction of a statement setting out the rationale for the school curriculum, including its values and aims;

a new general statement on inclusion, setting out the different ways in which teachers should ensure that individuals or groups of pupils are provided with appropriate opportunities for learning across all national curriculum subjects;

the introduction of citizenship as a subject at key stages 3 and 4;

allowing more flexibility at key stage 4 to enable pupils making significantly less progress than their peers to focus on fewer subjects and allow talented pupils to build on their strengths.

In September 2004, the key stage 4 curriculum was amended to reduce the number of compulsory national curriculum subjects to six: English, mathematics, science, ICT, citizenship and physical education. We also introduced entitlement areas in languages, design and technology, the arts, and humanities.

A review of the secondary curriculum was recently completed and will be rolled out to secondary schools from September 2008. The new secondary curriculum will:

further reduce prescription;

create flexibility for teachers to support pupils who are struggling to master the basic skills of English and mathematics;

free up time and space for greater personalisation of the curriculum, allowing pupils to study some areas in more depth;

increase the emphasis placed on developing personal, learning and thinking skills.

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