National curriculum (england, wales and northern ireland) – wikipedia j gastroenterol hepatol


The National Curriculum was introduced into England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a nationwide curriculum for primary and secondary state schools following the Education Reform Act (1988). Notwithstanding its name, it does not apply to independent schools. Academies and free schools may also set their own curricula, though many choose to follow the National Curriculum. Whilst only certain subjects were included at first, in subsequent years the curriculum grew to fill the entire teaching time of most state schools.

The National Curriculum was developed to standardise content taught across schools, as a response to the disparities in educational experience offered to the nation’s children. Prior to the National Curriculum, decision on content and pedagogy were made locally, at either local authority or school level. Whilst excellent education was possible under this system, there was a perception of and potential for poor education provision to remain unchecked. The National Curriculum was intended to form a floor, guaranteeing minimum standards to children who might otherwise suffer from poor education. Schools have additionally been challenged to go beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum, in search of higher standards. The arguments for its introduction are exemplified in the "Ruskin speech of then Prime Minister James Callaghan. It has been supported by successive governments.

• The school curriculum should contribute to the development of pupils’ sense of identity through knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain’s diverse society and of the local, national, European, Commonwealth and global dimensions of their lives.

• By providing rich and varied contexts for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills, the curriculum should enable pupils to think creatively and critically, to solve problems and to make a difference for the better.

• The school curriculum should promote pupils’ self-esteem and emotional wellbeing and help them to form and maintain worthwhile and satisfying relationships, based on respect for themselves and for others, at home, school, work and in the community.

• It should prepare pupils for the next steps in their education, training and employment and equip them to make informed choices at school and throughout their lives, enabling them to appreciate the relevance of their achievements to life and society outside school, including leisure, community engagement and employment.

It should be noted that even though the national curriculum sets compulsory scholastic and educational national standards; parents who decide for their children to follow home-schooling may opt for alternative curricula. [2] Statutory subjects [ edit ] Core and foundation subjects [ edit ]

In all maintained schools, provision is made for the requirement to offer a course in Religious Education under the Education Act. Parents have the right to withdraw pupils from this if they wish. [6] In addition, at all Key Stages, the Department for Children, Schools and Families suggests that pupils are offered provision in Personal, Social and Health Education, although this is not statutory. [3] Primary education [ edit ]

The Education Act requires that all pupils in secondary education are provided with a programme of Sex education, including education about AIDS, HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases. While a statutory provision, this does not form part of the National Curriculum, and parents have a right to remove their children from this provision. [6]

Schools are required, under the amendments to the Education Act, to provide at least one course for those pupils who wish to study it, in each of the entitlement areas at Key Stage 4. These are: the Arts; Design and Technology; the Humanities; and a Modern Foreign Language. [4] National Curriculum assessment [ edit ]

Assessments are carried out at two ages: seven (school year 2, at the end of Key Stage 1) and eleven (Year 6, the end of Key Stage 2). The requirement to test students at fourteen (Year 9, the end of Key Stage 3) was removed in 2010 [9]. Some aspects of subjects are teacher-assessed, whilst others involve sitting an examination paper. The results are considered when school and LEA performance league tables are being compiled, but they do not lead to any formal qualification for the candidates taking them. Criticism [ edit ] Academic restriction [ edit ]

The study of most subjects under the National Curriculum would usually culminate in the sitting of a GCSE at the end of Key Stage 4 (Year 11). Although the GCSE examinations replaced the earlier, separate GCE O-level and CSE examinations, the syllabuses were still initially devised entirely by the examination boards, whereas since the implementation of the National Curriculum the syllabus outline is determined by law. Thus much of the attention surrounding the claimed dumbing down of GCSEs [10] is, indirectly, a criticism of the National Curriculum.

Public schools are free to choose their own curriculum and examinations and many have opted for the more demanding [11] [12] IGCSEs [1], which are not tied to the National Curriculum. It is claimed that this is creating a two-tier system with state school pupils losing out. From time to time ministers have suggested that state schools may be given funding to enter pupils for IGCSE examinations [13] but a study was undertaken by QCA, [14] which concluded that IGCSEs do not follow the programmes of study required by the Key Stage Four of the National Curriculum and therefore could not be offered as a state-funded alternative. Failure and adverse effects of the ‘free market’ objective [ edit ]

Although the primary purpose for the National Curriculum was to enable league tables and inform parental choice, many parents or guardians still fail to get the school of their choice [15] and there is concern that the league tables have a detrimental effect on pupils:

But not only the drop of mathematics as a subject has been a major issue; according to the BBC, Scotland’s Education Secretary Angela Constance has also expressed her concern over "poor pupil literacy" within the education system and the National Curriculum of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. [17] See also [ edit ]