The proposed changes to the National Curriculum will bring renewed rigour and raise standards in the three core subjects, education secretary Michael Gove has revealed.
Mr Gove's plans to reform the education system took another step forward with the publication of draft Primary National Curriculum Programmes of Study for English, maths and science yesterday (June 11th).
The first versions of the new programmes are designed to update the curricula so that the syllabuses taught in the best primary schools are rolled out across the country.
Under the draft proposals, teachers will also be expected to demand more of their pupils, with more advanced topics and higher achievement targets.
In mathematics, pupils will be expected to know their tables up to 12x12 by the age of nine, for example, while English lessons are to take a greater focus on phonetics and pupils will be encouraged to read more for pleasure.
Science lessons, meanwhile, are to involve greater emphasis on knowledge with new, more advanced topics added to the syllabus and more focus on practical experiments.
It is hoped that by improving standards in literacy, numeracy and science at primary schools, pupils joining secondary schools will be more equipped to learn advanced topics.
As well as the core subjects, existing requirements to teach other subjects will be maintained, though schools will now be required to teach modern languages from age seven.
The government is already reforming education by extending academy freedoms, changing the inspection process and investing in training to attract the best graduates into teaching jobs, and Mr Gove sees the National Curriculum as the next stage.
In a letter to the Expert Panel charged with updating the curriculum, the Conservative MP said that he wanted the National Curriculum changes to reinforce other reforms to the education system while providing head teachers with a sense of the standards expected of their maths, science and English programmes.
"Our curriculum changes should also ensure that schools are held properly and rigorously accountable for helping all pupils to succeed in key subjects," he wrote.
"And our curriculum changes must provide the gifted teachers we have in our classrooms with both a sense of the higher standards that we know they are driven to reach and the freedom to develop more innovative and effective approaches to teaching."
The proposals will now go up for informal consultation before a final plan is put in place for implementation in 2014.
Posted by Alan Douglas