Michael Gove accused of major gaps in draft new national curriculum for English

Leaked documents show that the new curriculum for English due for 2014 does not mention the importance of spelling and other important skills for 11- to 14-year-olds. Labour has described it as ‘narrow and out of date’. This is from the Guardian…

Education Secretary Michael Gove is to introduce a new national curriculum for English that contains no mention of the importance of spelling for 11- to 14-year-olds, and waters down stipulations for reading, writing and speaking skills, according to leaked drafts.

The proposals are due to be published in the next few months, after Gove announced last year that he intends to slim down the national curriculum and produce a less dirigiste document.

The new curriculum is due to come into force in September 2014, and its brevity shows the extent to which teachers are to be left to their own devices.

The Department for Education said it would not comment on a leaked draft, and added that the final document may change.

Gove has already published proposals for a revised, slimmed-down curriculum for primary schools, and has said that academies and free schools will be free to teach outside the national curriculum, with teachers being held to account through rigorous inspections.

Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, accused Gove of “preparing to introduce a narrow and out of date curriculum that will take us backwards. Incredibly there is no mention of the importance of spelling in the English curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds. The writing, speaking and listening skills have all been watered down. There is no mention of creativity and being able to think critically or understand opposing points of view in any of these courses.”

Twigg pointed out that the CBI had called for the curriculum to make the so-called soft skills of speaking and listening a high priority.

A government source said: “Labour’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. They got rid of marks for spelling in GCSEs. We have returned them. We’re introducing a spelling, punctuation and grammar test in primary school, a primary curriculum which is much more demanding and new, tougher exams at 16. At every stage these changes have been opposed by Labour and unions.”

The draft English curriculum suggests pupils must read a range of works including the British literary heritage from both the 20th century and earlier; at least one Shakespeare play; contemporary British literature including prose, poetry and drama; and seminal world literature written in English.

The previous curriculum set out a range of specific English novelists that pupils would have to study.

Labour claimed that the curriculum was so sparse it made no mention of distinguishing between fact and opinion, no summary or note taking skills, and no mention of creativity in the English language.

Labour also complained it made no mention of the importance of taking part in structured group discussion or listening skills to judge and interpret what a speaker has said.

More at:  Michael Gove accused of major gaps in draft national curriculum for English


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