New curriculum in England ‘to match world’s best’

Lots of anticipation of the new national curriculum for England across the media today. This is an overview of what to expect from the BBC…

A revised national curriculum for schools in England is to be published later, with the aim of catching up with the world’s best education systems.

Prime Minister David Cameron says this “revolution in education” is vital for the country’s economic prosperity.

The changes will include fractions for five year olds and teaching evolution in primary schools.

Labour said the curriculum should be written by experts and not depend on ministers’ “personal prejudices”.

Teachers’ unions have warned that the timetable for implementing the changes in autumn 2014 is “completely unrealistic”.

Head teachers have also asked whether politicians should be so directly involved in deciding what is taught in the classroom.

The re-written national curriculum, to be published on Monday, will set out the framework for what children in England’s state schools should be taught between the ages of five and 14.

However, academies – which are now a majority of secondary schools – will not be required to follow the curriculum.

“This is a curriculum that is rigorous, engaging and tough,” said the prime minister.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said the new-look curriculum would provide the “foundation for learning the vital advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need – skills such as essay writing, problem-solving, mathematical modelling, and computer programming”.

He promised that an emphasis on “getting basic skills right” and more rigorous content would help England’s schools perform more strongly against international competitors.

In maths, there will be an expectation of a higher level of arithmetic at an earlier age. There will be a requirement for pupils to learn their 12 times table by the age of nine, rather than the current 10 times table by the age of 11.

The emphasis on international competitiveness will see design and technology being linked to innovation and digital industries. Pupils will learn about 3D printing and robotics.

Inventor Sir James Dyson commented: “The revised curriculum will give young people a practical understanding of science and mathematics, where they design, make and test their own product ideas – real problem solving.”

Computing will also be linked to the digital start-up and apps culture, with pupils being taught coding and how to create their own computer programs.

In science, there is a shift towards scientific knowledge and a more robust sense of content and away from what is described as “vague, abstract statements”.

There have been suggestions that when the final version is published on Monday it will have cut back on the amount of historical information expected of pupils, but there will still be an increased emphasis on English history and national identity.

But opponents say the proposed changes would create an outmoded, over-long list of facts, dates and famous figures.

Anthony Seldon, head master of Wellington College, welcomed the idea of a more demanding curriculum, saying that “young people shouldn’t be patronised by work that was too easy”.

“Factual knowledge is essential,” he said, providing the “building blocks” for more advanced ideas in subjects in the sciences, arts and humanities.

He says it is important for all youngsters to learn a common core of knowledge.

More at:  New curriculum in England ‘to match world’s best’

What do you see as likely to be good in the new curriculum and what are you most concerned about? Please share in the comments or on Twitter…

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Categories: Policy.


  1. JaneAusten_Coll

    SchoolsImprove we love the new National Curriculum’s focus on knowledge which will provide students a firm foundation for their future.

  2. Andrew Lamb

    For those of us who have spent years working with curriculum design and development alongside representatives of industry and academics…..we know this to be:
    ” A new curriculum to match the world’s worst!”

  3. V

    It is absolutely farcical that the primary history curriculum will stop at 1066, because children have a poor sense of chronology. Anyone with actual experience of young children knows that children do not have a sense of chronology but this is developmental rather than experiential. Children have only been alive a few years and have no concept of time properly until nearly 11 years old. This curriculum  has been badly cobbled together by people who no concept of child development.
    And as for going up to 12 x table! Well 42 years ago, here’s some news,  we went decimal! Has no one told the imbeciles that?  Why did we stop at 12x  and not go on until the 18 x,  for example. ANSWER ; because there were 12 pennies in a shilling.  Once we went decimal and working in tens for everything, this became redundant. Unfortunately many people think that because they went to school, they ‘know’ about education. They don’t !  Leave it to people who know something please.
     MPs are totally untrained the job that they do. TOTALLY. There is no MPs qualification or Govt minister qualification. Just leave it to people who know more than you do !

    Michael Gove is reported
    today as saying “This [new] curriculum is a foundation for learning the vital
    advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need – skills such
    as essay writing, problem-solving, mathematical modelling and computer programming”
    (Richard Adams report in the Guardian “New curriculum to introduce fractions to five-year-olds”
    8 July)
    Does Gove really expect that
    in twenty years time each generation of 800,000 school leavers will be employed
    in “essay writing, problem-solving, mathematical modelling and computer
    programming”?  Cameron says “This
    revolution in education is critical for Britain’s prosperity in the decades to
    Don’t they realise that the
    Earth will be warmer, the climate more disastrous, energy resources running out,
    and the world militant with starving people?  
    The “prosperity in the decades to come” of our children and
    grandchildren will depend upon the extent to which the UK has become
    self-sufficient in energy and food production and its people supportive and caring
    of each other.  That is what education
    should be preparing for.

  5. changepatriot

    SchoolsImprove Who are they kidding? Four successive Gov’ts have trashed our curriculum. Ours is pick n mix of the worst kind at best.

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