«July 2013 Contents Introduction 3 Overview of respondents 4 Summary of consultation responses 5 Aims of the national curriculum 5 Programmes of study ...»
Music Responses to the draft music curriculum were broadly positive. Some respondents welcomed the brevity of the new curriculum, which was seen to give greater flexibility to teachers to be innovative in their classrooms. Others welcomed the new emphasis placed on music-making and the importance of pupils’ musicianship. Some respondents believed that there should be more references to creativity and to the place of music technology in the curriculum.
Physical education (PE) Respondents were broadly supportive of the slimmed-down draft programmes of study for PE, which were seen to provide schools with greater freedom. They welcomed the focus on physical literacy at key stage 1, progressing to further skills development in a range of sports and activities at subsequent key stages. The inclusion of dance at key stages 1 - 3 was also welcomed. A number of respondents argued for the inclusion of leadership, coaching and officiating at secondary level and others for the inclusion of cycling in the curriculum. Some respondents commented that there was too great an emphasis on sports at the expense of teaching about healthy lifestyles. There was an almost even split, across all respondents who commented, on the question of whether the emphasis on competition was positive or negative.
Science There was support for significant aspects of the draft science programmes of study such as the stronger focus on the mathematical aspects of science, and the focus on subject knowledge and working scientifically. Some respondents were concerned about the volume of content and suggested it could lead to superficial teaching, limiting the amount of practical work undertaken by pupils rather than increasing rigour. A number of respondents also expressed a desire for the content of Earth science to be strengthened across the curriculum.
Some stakeholders also commented on the coverage of sex education to suggest that the coverage within the programmes of study was insufficient, whilst others felt that it was too vague. Others suggested that evolution should not be included in the primary curriculum, on religious grounds.
Question 4: Does the content set out in the draft programmes of study represent a sufficiently ambitious level of challenge for pupils at each key stage?
There were 3,308 responses to this question.
Sufficiently ambitious 738 (22%) Not sufficiently ambitious 1,276 (39%) Not sure 1,294 (39%) Respondents who agreed that the programmes of study were sufficiently ambitious were happy with the content set out in the draft. Respondents largely believed that the content was both achievable and sufficiently ambitious, but that teachers would need to be properly trained to be able to deliver it effectively. Some suggested that although the draft curriculum was sufficiently challenging, the challenge was based on the level of knowledge expected, and felt that there should be greater recognition of the value of understanding and skills.
Respondents who considered the programmes of study not to be sufficiently ambitious felt that the proposed curriculum would not prepare pupils for the challenges of the 21st Century.
Some of these respondents stated that the level of challenge could not be determined in foundation subjects due to insufficient detail in the programmes of study.
Of those responding in relation to one subject only (1,560), those responding in relation to design and technology (358) and history (420) made up 50% of these responses.
Respondents on computing, English, languages and mathematics were more likely to state that the content was sufficiently ambitious than not. Responses to subjects where this was least likely were art and design, citizenship, design and technology and music.
A number of those who answered ‘not sure’ felt that the programmes of study were likely to be too ambitious. Those respondents believed that the volume of curriculum content might result in superficial learning as teachers attempted to progress through the curriculum rather than enabling pupils to develop a deep understanding of the subject content. Others felt that the level of challenge was likely to be too great to enable all pupils to access the new curriculum and respond to pupils’ varying rates of progression.
Question 5: Do you have any comments on the proposed wording of the attainment targets?
There were 1,432 responses to this question.
739 (52%) respondents viewed the wording of the attainment targets as unclear and confusing. Many respondents also commented on the brevity of the attainment targets and felt that clarification would be needed to help schools to identify the standard and to ensure consistency in measuring pupil performance across schools.
A number of respondents highlighted the interplay between curriculum and assessment and wanted to review the government’s plans for primary assessment and accountability and for recognising the achievements of low attaining pupils and those pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, in order to provide a considered response.
Question 6: Do you agree that the draft programmes of study provide for effective progression between the key stages?
There were 3,314 responses to this question.
Some respondents felt that it was the responsibility of schools to deliver the curriculum effectively and to provide for progression between key stages for all pupils. Others raised issues in relation to the knowledge-based approach taken in the draft programmes of study and felt it was difficult to determine progression between the key stages without further clarity on the content and approach to assessment.
Some respondents commented on the level of prescription and the importance of ensuring that pupils could progress effectively through the curriculum at their own pace - for example, ensuring that more able pupils were not held back and less able pupils received the support they needed to progress and achieve.
Of those responding in relation to one subject only (1,556), respondents to design and technology (340) and history (455) made up 51% of the responses, with respondents in these subjects being the most likely to disagree that there was effective progression between key stages.
Replacing the ICT curriculum with a new computing curriculum Question 7: Do you agree that we should change the subject information and communication technology (ICT) to computing, to reflect the content of the new programmes of study4?
There were 2,687 responses to this question.
Yes 1,019 (38%) No 958 (36%) Not sure 710 (26%)
Respondents who agreed with this proposal believed that the change of subject name was necessary in order to move away from the ‘bad reputation’ of ICT, to rebrand and improve the status of the subject, and to signal a change in content and ambition for schools, parents and pupils.
Respondents who disagreed with the proposal argued that the term ‘computing’ implied too narrow a focus. Some respondents suggested alternative subject names such as ‘computing and information technology (IT)’ or simply ‘IT’ to bring the subject label in line with industry terminology. Others expressed a preference to retain ‘ICT’ as the subject name and did not see the need for change, suggesting that it may be confusing for schools and parents.
Respondents who answered ‘not sure’ expressed similar reasons to those who disagreed with the proposal and questioned whether the proposed subject name of ‘computing’ was fully inclusive of all elements of the subject. Some respondents agreed that change was necessary but their reticence was in relation to the proposed content of the draft programmes of study rather than the term ‘computing’ in itself. A small number of respondents stated that the subject name was irrelevant and that the focus should be on the curriculum content.
Following further cleansing of the data, the percentage of respondents answering ‘yes’ to Question 7 has decreased by 1% and those answering ‘no’ has increased by 1% compared to the figures published on 3 May 2013.
Impact of the new national curriculum – equalities Question 8: Does the new national curriculum embody an expectation of higher standards for all children?
There were 3,367 responses to this question.
Yes 581 (17%) No 2,106 (63%) Not sure 680 (20%)
Respondents who answered ‘yes’ believed that the new national curriculum would embody higher standards for all pupils but did not provide further commentary. Many respondents who answered ‘not sure’, or felt that the new national curriculum did not embody higher standards, stated that they could not find evidence of higher standards as the documents were too broad and that it was not possible to compare the current and proposed curricula.
Some respondents were concerned about whether some pupils such as those with SEN and disabilities would be able to reach the expected standards.
Of those responding in relation to one subject only (1,537), those responding in relation to design and technology (345) and history (426) made up 50% of these responses, with respondents in these subjects – along with art and design – being the most likely to answer ‘no’ rather than ‘yes’.
Question 9: What impact - either positive or negative - will our proposals have on the ‘protected characteristic’ groups?5 There were 1,571 responses to this question.
Responses were varied. Some respondents stated that it was too early to determine whether there would be a negative or positive impact on protected characteristic groups. Many respondents highlighted the good work already being done in schools to ensure that all pupils were able to succeed.
562 (36%) respondents felt that the proposals may impact negatively on pupils with English as an additional language. Reasons included the ‘British’ nature of the curriculum, particularly in history, and the emphasis on grammar and spelling in the English programmes of study.
The prescribed list of languages at key stage 2 was also raised as a potential issue. Those who commented felt that it was likely to exclude and undervalue those communities whose languages were not on the list.
444 (28%) respondents felt that the proposals may impact negatively on protected groups.
Respondents raised the importance of curriculum flexibility to ensure that teachers had the space to tailor the curriculum to suit the individual needs of pupils. Some respondents felt that the content proposed was, in some cases, beyond the ability of pupils with SEN and disabilities, and cited the emphasis on computer programming and on speech and language in the draft programmes of study for English as examples.
The government invited views on the likely impact of the new national curriculum on equalities and on the ‘protected characteristic’ groups which cover disability, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Views from parents Question 10: To what extent will the new national curriculum make clear to parents what their children should be learning at each stage of their education?
There were 1,963 responses to this question.
824 (42%) respondents felt that the new national curriculum would enable parents to understand the curriculum content. Many of these respondents did however suggest that the curriculum would not provide a clear understanding of what levels of attainment or progress were expected, and stated that schools would need to play a key role in developing parents’ understanding.
543 (28%) respondents believed that the new national curriculum did not make the content any clearer than the current curriculum and some felt that the removal of levels and level descriptions may further hinder parents’ understanding.
Implementation of the new national curriculum Question 11: What key factors will affect schools’ ability to implement the new national curriculum successfully from September 2014?
There were 2,780 responses to this question.
1,782 (64%) respondents raised the need for funding for materials and resources to support the teaching of the new national curriculum. There was a concern that existing resources would become obsolete and replacing them would incur significant costs.
1,643 (59%) respondents felt that there was a need for staff training and continuing professional development to increase teachers’ confidence and capability in designing and delivering the new curriculum and to respond to the need for specific specialist skills (e.g.
computing, language teaching).
1,651 (59%) respondents highlighted the need for schools to have sufficient time to plan for the new curriculum. Some stated that schools would need the final new national curriculum at the start of the coming academic year to enable them to prepare for teaching the new curriculum from September 2014.
Question 12: Who is best placed to support schools and/or develop resources that schools will need to teach the new national curriculum?
There were 2,485 responses to this question 1,049 (42%) respondents felt that schools and teachers were best placed to lead the development of resources as they will be the primary users of the materials. Many teachers thought that it was vital that their experience was used to lead the implementation of these reforms. 21% of respondents advocated greater school to school collaboration to share best practice. Suggestions included encouraging secondary school specialist teachers to help train primary non-specialists, and greater partnership and engagement with further and higher education institutions and employers.
899 (36%) respondents felt that professional teaching associations and subject associations were best placed to support the delivery of the new national curriculum, particularly in view of their previous curriculum implementation experience and their role in supporting subject leadership at school level.
771 (31%) respondents felt that local authorities were a good source of support and were able to work directly with schools to support curriculum design and leadership. 325 (13%) respondents felt that the government was best placed to support these proposals through funding for resources from publishers or for teacher training. Publishers were also advocated as a good source of materials by some respondents.