Yesterday, David Blunkett, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, asked David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions to intervene on the imminent proposals by the Government for a new National Curriculum and retain the teaching of citizenship and democracy in the school curriculum in England.
Mr Blunkett put it to the Prime Minister:
“In the early new year the Government intend to announce a wholesale revision of the national curriculum. May I put it to the Prime Minister that it would be perverse—in fact it would be absurd—to require those coming from abroad to settle in Britain to learn about our democracy and to take citizenship courses while withdrawing the teaching of citizenship and democracy to our own children in our schools?”
The Prime Minister responded:
“I listen very carefully to what the right hon. Gentleman says, because I agree with some of the proposals about citizenship that he put forward when he was Home Secretary. Many Members will have been to the citizenship ceremonies that he was responsible for, which have been a good addition to our country and our democracy. On behalf of the whole House, I pay tribute to him for that. We will look very carefully at what he says about the curriculum, but the key aim has to be to making sure that we teach the basics properly and well, and that we test on those basics, because if someone cannot read and write properly, no lessons in citizenship will mean anything at all”.
Mr Blunkett later added: “I hope the Prime Minister will be as good as his word and take another look at this, as the contradictions in policy are self-evident and the consequences (as we saw in August) of those alienated from and unconnected with their community and nation, can be devastating.”
The full transcript of Prime Minister’s Questions can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm111214/debtext/111214-0001.htm#11121472000010