February 2011
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National Curriculum history review-expert panel’s terms of reference

Last week the expert panel’s terms of reference were detailed. They are to advise on :

the essential knowledge (e.g. 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 (see below):

  • 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
    • citizenship
    • design and technology
    • geography
    • history
    • information and communication technology (ICT)
    • modern foreign languages (MFL)
    • music.
  • 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;
  • the extent to which the content of the National Curriculum should be set out on a year by year basis in order to ensure that essential knowledge is built systematically and consistently;
  • what, if anything, should replace existing attainment targets and level descriptors to define better the standards of attainment children should reach, and be assessed against, at various points through their education;
  • what is needed to provide expectations for progression to support the least able and stretch the most able;
  • how the National Curriculum can support the provision of more helpful advice and information to parents on their child’s progress; and
  • how the content of the curriculum can support the embedding of equality and inclusion

I welcome the breadth of thre remit which will clear away much of the dead wood before we start deciding which plants to grow. Meanwhile the history content will continue to  be debated, no doubt. In a sense that battle can wait. We need to look at the issues above first, namely those to do with seting out the curriculum year by year (interesting for 2 yr KS3 schools),concepts, assessment , progression, G&T, inclusion and access. We live in interesting times and we should never tire of asking fundamntal questions as to why we do what we do every working day.

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