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Secondary Education: Curriculum

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what evidence the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority had that the new secondary curriculum will be effective; and if he will place in the Library copies of that evidence. (150386)

The revised curriculum will be effective in providing flexibility for catch-up classes in English and mathematics; effective in providing flexibility to allow pupils to extend and deepen their understanding in areas where they have particular aptitudes and interests; and effective in providing pupils with the personal attributes and practical life skills they will need for success at work and in their daily lives.

The approach taken by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in developing the new curriculum builds on evidence from work carried out with schools and colleges going back a number of years. For example, the ‘futures in action’ programme, which has been running since 2005, has continued to demonstrate a high degree of consensus about many of the characteristics of how the curriculum should be shaped, QCA’s work is also supported by the results of its international comparisons and its annual curriculum monitoring programme, which includes interviews and questionnaires with head teachers, deputy heads, teachers and pupils.

It is not practical to collect all of this research evidence, from the UK and abroad, and to place copies of all relevant documents in the Libraries of the House. However, much of this information can be accessed via the QCA’s website at:

www.qca.org.uk/curriculum

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will ask the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to publish the agenda and minutes of the external committee for the secondary curriculum. (150387)

The Department has no plans to ask the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to publish the agendas and minutes of its secondary curriculum review external committee.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on what basis it was decided to separate concepts, processes and knowledge in the revised programmes of study for the national curriculum. (150388)

The aim of the secondary curriculum review was to clarify the fundamental aspects of subjects which underpin their study and draw on content to promote deeper understanding.

We do not expect teachers to teach concepts, processes and discretely, but to integrate them in the classroom.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will conduct a comparative analysis of the proposed secondary curriculum and the curricula of those education systems that perform best in international comparisons. (150391)

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has been compiling comparative information on curriculum and assessment frameworks since 1996. The work is managed and updated by the international information unit at the National Foundation for Educational Research. It provides descriptions of government policy on education for 20 countries.

The countries concerned are: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA and Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what revisions were made to the revised national curriculum programmes of study following the statutory consultation process. (150392)

Changes were made to the mathematics programmes of study to develop the key concepts to make them more in line with those in other subjects and to show what underpins the study of mathematics. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority met with the advisory committee on mathematics education to discuss the changes.

Revisions were made to the key concepts, key processes and range and content of citizenship programmes of study to provide greater clarity of what should be offered in the light of Sir Keith Ajegbo’s review on diversity and citizenship.

The modern foreign languages programme of study was amended to provide an illustrative list of the European and major world languages which can be taught.

Changes were made to retain ‘systems and control’ and ‘resistant materials’ as elements of compulsory study within the key stage 3 design and technology curriculum.

Changes were made to align better the personal wellbeing programmes of study with the social and emotional aspects of learning programme.

The economic wellbeing programmes of study were renamed economic wellbeing and financial capability.

In other subjects drafting changes were made to provide greater clarity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many responses to the secondary curriculum statutory consultation relating to a programme of study at key stages 3 and 4 were received from parents, broken down by subject; (150393)

(2) whether the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority actively sought the involvement of parents during the statutory consultation period for the new secondary curriculum;

(3) how many parents were involved with activities undertaken by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority on the statutory consultation period for the new secondary curriculum;

(4) how many events for parents were held by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as part of the consultation process for the secondary curriculum review.

There were no specific consultations with parents covering the programmes of study for particular subjects.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, working with St. Martin's college, held two consultation events for parents in Sandwell on 16 March 2007 and in Bristol on 22 March 2007. The QCA also exhibited at the education show, which was widely attended by parents and teachers, though numbers were not collected.

The widespread media coverage generated by the consultation launch and subsequent features and newspaper supplements were designed to ensure that all parents could engage with the review if they so wished.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 310W, on Secondary Education: Curriculum, how many responses the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority received in relation to the secondary curriculum review consultation on the (a) programme of study and (b) supporting materials from (i) parents and (ii) pupils. (150418)

A total of 10,613 people had direct contact with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority regarding the new curriculum through conferences, young people's forums and workshop events.

There were 1,891 responses to the online consultation questionnaire. 39 of these came from parents and 15 from pupils. Data are not broken down by programme of study or supporting materials.

The following table outlines the profile of respondents to the online consultation in detail. Of the 1,891 responses to the survey, 1,596 were from individuals and 295 were from groups.

Respondent type

Number of respondents

School

1,219

Classroom or subject teacher/lecturer

623

Subject manager

356

Curriculum co-ordinator/manager

244

Course leader

192

Member of senior management team/leadership team

145

Head Teacher

38

School governor

35

Special educational needs teacher

32

Programme manager

22

Head of year

28

English as an additional language teacher

5

Other (within school)

70

Local authority

119

Subject association/subject advisor/subject lecturer/subject inspector

105

Teacher/professional association

98

Higher education institution

41

Parent

39

Pupil

15

An organisation representing aspects of diversity

10

National youth organisation

10

Employer

7

An organisation representing aspects of inclusion

6

Governing body/national associations for school governors

6

National parents association

1

Other

212

Source:

Ipsos MORI