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Schools: Curriculum

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what guidance his Department provides to schools on the proportion of teaching time which should be allocated to (a) English and (b) mathematics at Key Stage (i) 1, (ii) 2 and (iii) 3; and if he will make a statement; (200990)

(2) what funding he plans to allocate to schools for new curriculum requirements on (a) cookery and (b) culture; and if he will make a statement;

(3) pursuant to the answer of 5 February 2008, Official Report, column 1096W, on food: secondary education, for what reasons cookery lessons will be compulsory in all maintained schools other than academies; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what guidance his Department has issued to schools on the amount of weekday education in cultural subjects to be delivered; and if he will make a statement.

The statutory national curriculum programmes of study set out what is to be taught in each subject, not how it is to be taught, nor for how many hours each week. The Department does not prescribe the amount of time that should be allocated to the teaching of English, mathematics or culture. However, the Rose Review of the teaching of reading recommended that 15-20 minutes a day should be spent on the teaching of phonics in order to secure children's early reading, particular during key stage 1.

In February 2008 the Government announced a £25 million Find Your Talent programme of 10 pilots that will trial different ways of offering young people a range of cultural experiences for at least five hours a week, both in and out of school. The pilots will test a variety of approaches to a cultural offer over the next three years and will build on the considerable amount of cultural activity already taking place, and provided by a range of partners in addition to schools.

In compulsory food technology lessons pupils will be taught a broad range of practical skills and techniques and how to use them to develop, plan and cook a range of dishes. They will also learn about health and safety, the characteristics of a broad range of ingredients and a balanced diet. This will equip them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This new curriculum for food technology will be introduced from September 2008 and will become compulsory from September 2011. From September 2011 schools will share £2.5 million a year towards the cost of ingredients for pupils on free school meals.