Thursday, 12 July 2007

A balanced curriculum

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is today announcing its changes to the National Curriculum for 11-14 year-olds. The QCA has struck a good balance between prescription and flexibility. Flexibility in modern foreign languages fits with the times, given how many specialist language colleges have started teaching Mandarin in the last few years. It is great that cooking (rather than food technology) is back on the curriculum. And a greater emphasis on personal finance should help today's young people manage their household budgets more effectively. As Ken Boston, the QCA chief executive, said on Today this morning, it is also essential that teachers have the time to develop different approaches for able and struggling pupils. But at the heart of the National Curriculum - especially for 11-14 year-olds - there must continue to be a core entitlement in history and geography as well as English, Maths and Science. Alan Johnson ensured that he left that intact for Ed Balls, just as David Blunkett had done in 2000. Personalisation is nothing without purpose.

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