England’s National Curriculum – does it miss the point?

England’s National Curriculum – does it miss the point?

Since its introduction in 1988, there have been successive revisions to the form and content of the National Curriculum – and Cambridge Assessment is concerned about the current direction of this policy.

Tim Oates, Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, explained: “It is imperative that students have the fundamentals to progress into higher education, into society and into the labour market. Yet some of the contemporary criticism of schooling and of qualifications is that young people can succeed relatively well in education by picking up discrete parts of knowledge, without gaining a real framework of knowledge.

“We believe a curriculum should provide a clear statement of concepts that children need to grasp, a clear framework for teaching, and be well-grounded in what we know constitutes good education. It should not be about squeezing in contemporary concepts. However, in the recent revisions to the curriculum, there appears to have been a strong emphasis on keeping interest groups happy rather than developing well-theorised content.

"The National Curriculum is, and should be, highly prescriptive in terms of fundamental concepts. However, it’s the professional role of the teacher to be able to turn this list of concepts into motivating activities and into a motivating curriculum in the classroom.”

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