Written Ministerial Statement on the National Curriculum Review

A written statement by Michael Gove published yesterday. A random quote:

  • The evidence identifies the higher expectations of pupils in mathematics, English and science in high performing jurisdictions.  For example:
    • In Singapore, pupils are expected to know all their times tables and related division facts by the end of Year 4; here our national expectation is at Year 6. […]
    • The Canadian province of Alberta and the US state of Massachusetts both have a separate section on grammar in their curricula with clear standards which must be met. […]
  • The panel also recommend that we should look again at the “key stage” structure of the curriculum which they argue can lead to a lack of pace and ambition at key points in pupil’s education.

It would, of course, be wrong to conclude that England should simply import systems used in other countries wholesale. But it is absolutely clear that these findings challenge fundamental tenets of our current system.


Two linked reports:

Review of the National Curriculum in England: What can we learn from the English, mathematics and science curricula of high-performing jurisdictions?

This report aims to explore and present initial findings on what can be learned from the analysis of curricula of high-performing jurisdictions, in order to inform the development of the new National Curriculum for English, mathematics and science.

Review of the National Curriculum in England: Report on subject breadth in international jurisdictions

This report describes the organisation and content of school curricula in several countries and jurisdictions. It includes information about their: curriculum structure and organisation; curriculum review processes; lower secondary qualifications; and compulsory and optional curriculum subjects at different educational phases.

Review of the National Curriculum in England

From BBC:

instead of introducing changes for English, maths, science and PE in 2013, the revised curriculums for all subjects will be introduced in 2014.

However, by the time the revised national curriculum is in place in 2014, it will almost certainly only be compulsory for a minority of secondary schools, as academies have the right to “disapply” the curriculum.

At present, more than 40% of secondary schools are academies or in the process of converting – and academies, with flexibility over the curriculum, are set to become the majority in 2012.

Review of the National Curriculum in England. Summary report of the call for evidence

is published. This is its fragment related to Mathematics:

Key stakeholders that responded on mathematics included the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education, London Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association, Association of Teachers of Mathematics, Mathematics in Education and Industry, Personal Finance Education Group, Royal Statistical Society and National Association of Mathematics Advisors.

The key findings from the evidence submitted included:

  • support for a key stage approach rather than year-on-year;
  • support for a slimmed down curriculum built upon around key components that enable pupils to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts;
  •  the importance of presenting content so that it captured key mathematical ideas and presented them in a way that showed connections that would aid understanding of the links between different aspects of mathematics;
  • the importance of including mathematical processes, such as reasoning and problem-solving, to support the use and application of mathematics;
  • the need for a greater focus on the importance of algebraic and arithmetic manipulation; and
  • support for reduced content in primary mathematics to create more time for the learning of key concepts to be consolidated before pupils entered secondary school.