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Primary School Curriculum

Volume 486: debated on Monday 19 January 2009

2. What discussions his Department has had with the Department for Children, Schools and Families on the review of the primary school curriculum. (248262)

Sir Jim Rose is leading an independent review of the primary curriculum. The curriculum informs early learning and participation in activities of interest to my Department, such as sport and creativity, and therefore my Department has been kept informed of progress. The Government look forward to receiving Sir Jim’s final report and recommendations in the spring.

The preliminary proposals from Jim Rose’s review are that physical education be taken out of the curriculum and subsumed into

“Understanding physical health and well-being”.

Understanding physical health and well-being could be delivered without children moving a muscle. Does the Minister share my concerns about that prospect?

Indeed I do. We have made robust consultation proposals to Sir Jim and his review. It is important that we make sure that we invest in primary school sport, as we have done. We are proud that 90 per cent. of schools are offering two hours of sport and PE, and we have an aspiration for that to increase. I share the hon. Gentleman’s concerns, and I will ensure that we make the strongest representations.

The Minister will know that some young children arrive in primary school with very under-developed social and oral skills and that the creative arts are a good way of developing those. Will he therefore take the opportunity to speak to his Cabinet colleague in the Department for Children, Schools and Families to encourage the inclusion of dance and drama alongside maths and English in the primary curriculum?

I agree with the hon. Lady. It is important that we ensure that youngsters are offered opportunities in those subjects. Our Department is heavily involved in the consultation and review to ensure that those points are well made.