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Secondary Education

House of Lords written question – answered on 3rd November 2014.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase the teaching of philosophical and critical thinking in secondary schools at a (1) pre-GCSE, and (2) post-GCSE level.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The new national curriculum, which was introduced in September 2014, focuses on the essential knowledge that must be taught, allowing teachers to take greater control over the wider curriculum in schools and how it is taught. Whilst philosophical and critical thinking skills are important, it is not necessary to specify these in the national curriculum. Instead, it should be left to teachers’ professional judgement to decide how best to ensure that their pupils develop these skills, as part of a broad and balanced school curriculum which encompasses, but is not limited by, the national curriculum.

A number of Religious Studies GCSE specifications allow pupils to study philosophy. At post GCSE-level, level 3 qualifications are available in critical thinking and philosophy.

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