Clothing: Curriculum

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2022.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to include details of the global fashion industry and supply chains in the National Curriculum.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The department will not be making any changes to the national curriculum for the remainder of this Parliament to provide stability for schools, and enable them to remain focused on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and teaching the broad and rich curriculum.

Over the past decade, the department has reformed the national curriculum to set world-class standards across all subjects. Programmes of study are flexible enough for teachers to be able to add their own content – including taking account of new developments, societal changes, or topical issues, such as global fashion and supply chains – without there being a need for the department to review the national curriculum.

An example of this could be the teaching of textiles in design and technology (D&T). D&T is compulsory in state-maintained schools from key stage 1 to 3 and pupils in maintained schools also have an entitlement to study D&T in key stage 4. The national curriculum is a framework, designed to give teachers the freedom and flexibility to go into greater depth and cover additional topics, such as details of the global fashion industry and supply chains, as they wish, according to the needs of their pupils. The use of textiles is encouraged in the D&T programme of study, though this is non-statutory guidance.

The department believes it vital that young people are taught about global issues such as sustainability and climate change. Topics related to these are covered in the national curriculum, which are mandatory in all state-maintained school, such as the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. For example, secondary geography includes the study of the climate, how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. Citizenship education, which has been a compulsory subject in maintained schools since 2002, also covers contents on global issues, such as the environment. Furthermore, the department introduced a new environmental science A level in 2017. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of the global issues, such as climate change.

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