What's happening and when?
When the Coalition government came to power in May 2010, a review of the primary school curriculum was a key item on its educational agenda.
Proposed changes, planned under the previous Labour government, were swiftly halted and schools were told to continue to deliver the existing National Curriculum until a major review had taken place.
It quickly became apparent that this review would consider major changes to the organisation and content of what is taught in primary schools.
Education secretary Michael Gove indicated that the National Curriculum would be slimmed down, but at the same time would also place more direct emphasis on the essential knowledge that all children should be taught at each stage of their schooling. Achieving these two aims would not be an easy task.
For the past year, the National Curriculum Review has gathered evidence, which led to the publication of an interim report at the end of 2011 that gives an early indication of recommended changes to the curriculum.
The report also announced that the new curriculum will be introduced for all subjects in 2014 (not phased in from 2013, as originally planned). This will allow more time for the recommendations to be considered and the new curriculum to be developed.
It may also mean that the government will be able to adopt a 'big bang' approach, making major changes all in one go, rather than making many smaller and more frequent changes (as has been the case for much recent curriculum reform).
While all this is taking place, schools are required to teach the existing National Curriculum, until such time as the new curriculum comes into force.
Many people have welcomed the extra time that Michael Gove granted the National Curriculum Review. A similar review in Hong Kong had been spread over nearly ten years and while it is not likely to take that sort of time, it has become increasingly clear that this is a process requiring careful reflection.
Underlying the review is an emphasis on raising standards and of learning from the perceived best education systems in the world.
Last updated: over 1 year ago