Tuesday, 23 February 2010
We need more curriculum clarity
Ed Balls has inevitably had to give ground on his sex and relationships education plans in the Children, Schools and Families Bill, despite his protestations to the contrary today. But there is a far bigger problem with the ludicrous attempt to impose a lengthy personal, social and health education curriculum on every school and academy up to age 16, at a time when languages, design technology, history and other subjects are at the discretion of schools at Key Stage 4. The decision to abandon Key Stage 3 tests has meant the abandonment of Shakespeare at Key Stage 3. Today's predictable climbdown in the face of church lobbying obscures the confusion at the heart of the Government's approach to the curriculum. Instead of a piecemeal approach to different subjects, we need a much clearer sense of the essential knowledge and skills that young people should acquire between the ages of 11 and 16, with schools and academies able to develop their own programmes to provide them and other subjects they choose to offer in ways that work with their students.