National Curriculum review summary: terms of reference and timeframe
The UK Government is reviewing the National Curriculum with the intention of ‘slimming it down’ and concentrating its content on ‘essential knowledge’. Citizenship was one of the subjects in danger of losing its place on the curriculum. However, we are delighted that the government has announced it will be retaining citizenship as a statutory National Curriculum foundation subject.
So what is the review actually trying to achieve?
The Secretary of State for Education appointed an Expert Panel, and an Advisory Committee to support the Panel, to conduct the review of the National Curriculum.
The Expert Panel, led by Tim Oates, was responsible for ‘providing detailed advice on the construction and content of the new National Curriculum’. This involved recommending to the Government:
- the essential knowledge (eg facts, concepts, principles and fundamental operations) that children need to be taught in order to progress and develop their understanding in English, mathematics, science, physical education and any other subjects which it is decided should be part of the National Curriculum, or alternatively have non-statutory programmes of study, in future.
- for the subjects listed below, whether or not they should be part of the National Curriculum, with statutory Programmes of Study, at each key stage:
- art and design
- design and technology
- information and communication technology (ICT)
- modern foreign languages (MFL)
It also considered ‘for any subjects which are not recommended to be part of the National Curriculum in future, whether there should be non-statutory programmes of study available for guidance at particular key stages and/or whether those subjects, or any aspects of them, should nevertheless be compulsory’.
What happened next
Democratic Life submitted evidence to the Expert Panel on the positive and unique contribution that citizenship education makes, including essential knowledge (about democracy, politics, the law and the economy) that must be taught and retained within the National Curriculum.
We called on our partner organisations and supporters to submit evidence to the review. We produced guidance on how to do this. We are delighted that the government has now responded to the Expert Panel’s advice and decided to retain citizenship as a statutory subject in the National Curriculum.
The review in detail
The Government is reviewing the National Curriculum with the intention of ‘slimming it down’ and concentrating on the ‘essential knowledge’ every student should learn, rather than ‘teaching method’ (which is what Michael Gove claims the current curriculum focuses on).
The remit document published on the Department of Education’s website, set out the principal objectives for the National Curriculum review are to:
- give teachers greater professional freedom over how they organise and teach the curriculum;
- develop a National Curriculum that acts as a benchmark for all schools and provides young people with the knowledge they need to move confidently and successfully through their education, taking into account the needs of different groups including the most able and pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND);
- ensure that the content of our National Curriculum compares favourably with the most successful international curricula in the highest performing jurisdictions, reflecting the best collective wisdom we have about how children learn and what they should know;
- set rigorous requirements for pupil attainment, which measure up to those in the highest performing jurisdictions in the world;
- enable parents to understand what their children should be learning throughout their school career and therefore to support their education.
The Expert Panel, chaired by Tim Oates was made up of academics, to ‘support the Department in the conduct of the review by providing detailed advice on the construction and content of the new National Curriculum.’ Evidence from the public will be considered by the Expert Panel. The Expert Panel completed its work and published its advice in December 2011.
The Advisory Committee, is made up of head teachers, academics and representatives from Ofsted and the think tank Institute of Directors, to support the DfE and the Expert Panel by drawing on their own ‘expertise and experience’ and by ‘providing advice on strategic and cross-cutting issues that may arise from the review’.
Influencing the review
The review began with a call for evidence that allowed Democratic Life and many others to submit evidence between January and April 2011.
The DfE also said: ‘We will also be taking forward work with subject communities and other experts over the course of the review to build an evidence base on which recommendations and proposals will be built, and we will be working to engage with teachers and their representatives to secure their input. Once we have published our proposals there will be further wide-scale public consultation before final decisions are made.’
Democratic Life had regular meetings with the DFE to discuss the future of citizenship. We were supported by David Blunkett MP who helped us obtain meetings with Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Education. Our efforts with your support led to the government decision to retain citizenship as a statutory National Curriculum subject in secondary schools.
As published by the Department for Education.
|January 2011||Review launched|
|January 2011||Call for Evidence (phase one) begins|
|April 2011||Call for Evidence (phase one) ends|
|Early 2012||Public consultation on phase one recommendations (including new Programmes of Study for English, mathematics, science and physical education)|
|Early 2012||Call for Evidence (phase two) begins|
|Spring 2012||Ministers announce decisions on (1) the Programmes of Study for English, mathematics, science and physical education and (2) the other subjects to be included in the new National Curriculum|
|Spring 2012||Call for Evidence (phase two) ends|
|September 2012||New Programmes of Study for English, mathematics, science and physical education made available to schools|
|Early 2013||Public consultation on new Programmes of Study for all other subjects to be included in the National Curriculum|
|Spring 2013||Ministers announce decisions about the Programmes of Study for all other subjects to be included in the National Curriculum|
|September 2013||Teaching of the new Programmes of Study for English, mathematics, science and physical education becomes statutory|
|September 2013||New Programmes of Study for all other subjects included in the new National Curriculum are made available to schools|
|September 2014||Teaching of the new Programmes of Study for all other subjects to be included in the National Curriculum becomes statutory|
http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/nationalcurriculum/a0061710/faqs-about-the-new-national-curriculum/#faq11 (this question and answer have been removed from the DfE’s website).